An abundance of wildlife calls Destin-Fort Walton Beach its home. While you’re visiting our beautiful beaches and natural areas you’ll spot an array of wildlife including sea turtles, birds, and dolphins. Strolling on our beaches, trails or enjoying one of a natural park areas you will spot plenty of wildlife living within its natural habitat.

The beaches in Destin-Fort Walton Beach are home to the remarkable sea turtle. Sea turtle season occurs between April and November and during this time the female sea turtle comes ashore at night to lay her eggs in the sand and head back out to sea. Typical nests have 80-120 eggs, with only 1 out 1,000 babies surviving to adulthood. Due to human exploitation and habitat destruction, sea turtles are threatened with extinction. Never disturb a turtle that is crawling to or from the water or crowd around a nesting turtle. Any disturbances can cause a sea turtle adult or hatchling to become disoriented, get hurt, and possibly injured. Read more about protecting sea turtle populations in Destin-Fort Walton Beach.

Please help us protect the endangered sea turtle by following these simple guidelines:

  • Keep the beach dark at night: use red lights or no lights
  • Do not shine lights in a turtle’s eyes or take flash photos
  • Shut off balcony lights and close blinds at night
  • Fill in holes and take beach gear off the beach each evening
  • Never disturb a sea turtle as they make their journey

All sea turtles are protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act and Florida state law. Following these simple guidelines will help protect these endangered creatures who call the Destin-Fort Walton Beach home!

Destin-Fort Walton Beach offers many birding opportunities along our beautiful coastline. Bird-watchers will get a chance to spy terns, gulls, black skimmers, brown pelicans, several species of shorebirds, great blue and little blue herons, snowy egrets, reddish egrets (in the fall) and occasionally black-necked stilts. Watchers will also view loons, northern gannets and various sea ducks paddling offshore and all visible with a good spotting scope. From May through August, rare least terns and snowy plovers nest in the sand.

A favorite marine animal to see is the dolphin. One of the joys of vacationing in Destin-Fort Walton Beach is watching the bottlenose dolphins at play. Enjoy a dolphin-watching cruise or visit the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park for private dolphin encounters. In the Gulfarium’s unforgettable experience, alongside a trainer, you will see a bottlenose dolphin an up-close and personal. Snorkeling or diving is another great way to experience fish and other sea creatures first hand. Destin-Fort Walton Beach is a nature-based destination where you can experience and enjoy the abundance of wildlife in Destin-Fort Walton Beach.


Little Adventures

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A girl plays in the sand in Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida


Go beyond green spaces: The benefits of “Blue Spaces” on Kids

Go beyond green spaces: The benefits of “Blue Spaces” on Kids This post was written by Sara McCarty, founder of Run Wild My Child, in partnership with Destin-Fort Walton Beach. Perhaps you’ve heard about the benefits of “green spaces” and their positive effect on children’s physical and mental health. You’ve…

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Trip Ideas

While beachgoers can lay out on the sand, shoppers can stroll down the HarborWalk Village and savor plates of Gulf-to-Table seafood. What will you do in Destin-Fort Walton Beach?

Three kids search for marine life with nets on the shores of Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Adapting water activities for kids of multiple ages

Adapting water activities for kids of multiple ages This post was written by Sara McCarty, founder of Run Wild My Child, in partnership with Destin-Fort Walton Beach. If you have more than one kid, you know that it’s often hard to find activities that keep multiple kids of…

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Stingray in the ocean

How to tell Manta Rays and Stingrays apart

Out of all the wildlife you may spot in Destin-Fort Walton Beach, one of the most distinctive is a ray gliding through the water like a flat alien spaceship.

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sailboat during sunset

Sailing in Destin-Fort Walton Beach

Have you gone sailing yet?  You can’t beat the beautiful water on the Gulf of Mexico.  Here are a few options for a sailing experience you won’t forget.

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March 25, 2023

19th Annual Triple B Festival

Join us for the 19th Annual Triple B Festival. Come out and enjoy a day…



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