Destin Things to Do: Top 7 Activities to Try on Vacation

One of Florida’s oldest fishing villages, Destin, Florida, has grown into one of the panhandle’s top destinations. Known for white-sand beaches, emerald-green waters and fishing, there are several fun things to do in Destin. From festivals to water parks, the city welcomes travelers to explore its beach-loving vibes. Curious? Check out the top Destin things to do.

Top 7 Musts: Destin Things to Do on Vacation

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Attraction: Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park

A top spot for family fun in Destin, this water park features 40 different play areas. Head to Big Kahuna’s for a day of slides, dump buckets, wave pools and lazy rivers. Kids of all ages have rides and slides. In addition, parents can splash or take their chance on one of the fast slides. The Kowabunga Racer provides families a way to race on a four-lane drag strip. Don’t forget to try a round of mini-golf, also on site.

Attraction: Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Located in nearby Fort Walton, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is among the oldest marine parks in the U.S. It works to connect the local community to marine life with respect and wildlife preservation. At the park, guests see dolphins, gators, penguins and more. Families also have options for up-close encounters, including snorkeling and animal feedings.

Event: Destin Seafood Festival

Seafood, fun, music: It doesn’t get much better than the Destin Seafood Festival. Usually held in early October, this seafood fest has offered fresh seafood from local vendors for more than 35 years. This free three-day festival is one of the biggest events in Destin. Guests also enjoy four stages with live music. And kids have three separate fun zones just for them.

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Photo: aungg’s photos

Event: Destin Fishing Rodeo

There are no bulls here. This rodeo offers the ultimate fishing tournament for saltwater anglers and has been around since 1948. The rodeo takes place in October, with daily weigh-ins, and is free to those who fish aboard boats registered to the rodeo. More than 30,000 anglers compete throughout the month, and the competition awards more than $100,000 in cash and prizes.

Event: Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival

Ahoy, matey! For more than 60 years, Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival has delighted all ages. The festival – held annually in late May and early June – features pirates, parades, entertainment and local vendors. Kids can climb the obstacle course, see pirate skits and hear stories. Adults should plan to party with pirates at an annual pub crawl. Dress the kids up, so they can win the costume contest open for ages 3 to 12.

Fun Things to Do in Destin

Outdoor Recreation: Helicopter Beach Tours

See the Gulf of Mexico in a new way on a Destin Beach Helicopter tour. With packages ranging from 7 to 30 minutes, this experience serves kids and as a romantic night with a special someone. Short trips include the Jettys for dolphin viewing. The longest tour includes Seaside and WaterColor. Learn more about helicopter rides in Destin.

Outdoor Recreation: Horseback Trail Rides

First-timers and equine experts enjoy horseback trail rides in Destin. Rated among the top Destin things to do, Arnett’s Gulfside Trail Rides offers rides along 30A’s beaches. The 20-acre horse ranch has horses or bring your own. Due to its location – only a half mile from the beach and area amenities – Arnett’s welcomes families to spend a day in the area.

Explore Destin and find out why it’s one of Florida’s best destinations. Need a place to eat? Check out the top Destin waterfront restaurants.