Fishing is the foundation of Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Founded in 1845 by Captain Leonard Destin, the fleet and its harbor are the heart of our coastal community, as well as the heartbeat of daily life. Each morning, our charter captain’s fuel up and head out on their morning journey - together.
What started as a group of fishermen fishing close to the shore with nets from small boats in the mid 19th century has evolved into what is now the country’s largest charter fishing fleet. Today, the fleet is operated by men and women, most of whom are second or even third generation Destin fishermen who trace their lineage in the area back more than 150 years. In the beginning, cooperation and unity were essential to the fleet’s survival, and to this day that sense of community continues both in the harbor and throughout the entire area.
To see the bond shared among the members of our fleet, just watch them leave the harbor in the morning. The fleet heads for the Gulf together and stops to gather bait for the day together before heading off to their own "lucky spot." It’s a ritual that reminds us what this community stands for – where we came from, where we’re going – and how we’re stronger together.
The harbor is more than just where our area began, it also provides for our community. Fishing, be it for leisure or for business, doesn’t get any better than in Destin and Fort Walton Beach. While the species might change with the seasons, there’s always fish to be caught in and nearby our local waters. The bounty of the Gulf of Mexico is yours to enjoy with fresh, never-frozen Gulf-to-Table seafood available throughout the area. The fleet works hard to guarantee that our local waters and ecosystems are respected and preserved while still ensuring there’s plenty of fresh seafood available in area restaurants, local fish markets, and on your line.
Destin Harbor is the epicenter of our community. It’s the hub for almost all the commercial and recreational fishing businesses operating in the area. For many locals, the harbor provides a means to support their families. The harbor is popular among visitors looking for things to do both on and off the water. It’s what our community was built on and it’s what helps us thrive today, and we can’t wait for you to explore everything it has to offer.