Things To Do In Destin Florida With Family

Are you planning a family vacation to Destin, Florida? Look no further! With its stunning beaches, vibrant attractions, and endless outdoor activities, Destin is the perfect destination for families. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a mix of both, this charming coastal town has something for everyone. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top things to do in Destin, ensuring an unforgettable family experience.

Explore the Emerald Coast Science Center

Engage your kids in hands-on learning at the Emerald Coast Science Center. This interactive museum offers a range of exhibits and activities that will captivate young minds. From exploring the solar system to playing with robots, there’s something to pique the interest of every budding scientist. The center also hosts educational programs and workshops, providing an opportunity for your children to learn in a fun and engaging environment.

Exhibits for Curious Minds

The Emerald Coast Science Center boasts a variety of exhibits that cater to curious minds of all ages. Step into the “Curiosity Gallery” and embark on a journey through the wonders of science. Learn about physics, chemistry, and biology through interactive displays and hands-on experiments. The “Space Gallery” takes visitors on an intergalactic adventure, exploring the mysteries of the universe and our place within it. Don’t miss the “Robo Zone,” where you can interact with robots and learn about the fascinating world of robotics.

Engaging Workshops and Programs

The center offers a range of workshops and programs designed to spark curiosity and foster a love for science. Join a chemistry workshop and witness exciting experiments that will leave your children amazed. Participate in a robotics program and learn how to build and program your own robot. From coding classes to animal encounters, the Emerald Coast Science Center provides endless opportunities for hands-on learning and exploration.

Discover the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Dive into a world of marine wonders at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. This interactive park offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with marine life, creating lifelong memories for you and your family. Watch captivating dolphin shows, marvel at the acrobatics of sea lions, and even swim with stingrays. The park’s mission is to promote conservation and education, making it an ideal destination for families interested in marine life and environmental stewardship.

Dolphin and Sea Lion Shows

Be prepared to be amazed by the incredible dolphin and sea lion shows at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. Watch in awe as these intelligent creatures showcase their agility and intelligence through a series of captivating performances. Learn about their behaviors, natural habitats, and the importance of conservation efforts in preserving their species. These shows are not only entertaining but also educational, providing valuable insights into the world of marine life.

Swim with Stingrays

For an unforgettable experience, take a dip in the Stingray Bay at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. Join a guided encounter and have the opportunity to interact with these gentle creatures in a safe and controlled environment. Learn about their unique features, feeding habits, and conservation status from knowledgeable staff members. This hands-on encounter allows you and your family to develop a deeper appreciation for these fascinating marine animals.

Enjoy a Day at Henderson Beach State Park

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Destin at Henderson Beach State Park. This pristine park offers a tranquil escape from the bustling tourist areas and provides a perfect setting for a family day out. With its white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and shaded picnic areas, Henderson Beach State Park offers a range of activities for the entire family to enjoy.

Pristine Beaches and Swimming

Unwind and relax on the stunning white-sand beaches of Henderson Beach State Park. Let the kids build sandcastles, take a leisurely stroll along the shore, or simply soak up the sun. The park’s emerald waters are perfect for swimming, providing a refreshing respite from the Florida heat. Lifeguards are present, ensuring the safety of visitors as they enjoy the waves.

Nature Trails and Wildlife Spotting

Explore the nature trails that wind through the park’s coastal dune ecosystem and discover the diverse flora and fauna that call this area home. Keep an eye out for native wildlife, such as turtles, birds, and even the occasional deer. The park provides a peaceful setting for a family hike, allowing you to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of the surrounding environment.

Go Fishing

Destin is known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” so why not try your luck with a family fishing trip? Whether you’re a novice or an experienced angler, Destin’s waters offer a variety of fishing options. From deep-sea fishing to beach fishing, you’re bound to reel in unforgettable memories and perhaps even a delicious catch!

Deep-Sea Fishing Adventures

Embark on a deep-sea fishing adventure and set sail into the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Join a chartered fishing boat and let experienced captains guide you to the best fishing spots. Reel in a variety of fish, such as snapper, grouper, and even the occasional marlin. These excursions provide an opportunity to bond with your family while enjoying the thrill of the catch.

Beach Fishing Fun

If you prefer a more relaxed fishing experience, head to one of Destin’s beautiful beaches and cast your line from the shore. The calm waters and abundant fish make beach fishing a popular activity for families. Set up your fishing gear, sit back, and enjoy the serenity of the beach while waiting for a bite. It’s a great way to introduce your children to the joys of fishing in a laid-back setting.

Visit the Destin History and Fishing Museum

Dive into the rich history and heritage of Destin at the Destin History and Fishing Museum. Located in the heart of the city, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the town’s past and its deep connection to the fishing industry. Explore exhibits showcasing historical artifacts, learn about the local ecosystem, and even step aboard an authentic fishing boat.

History of Destin

Discover the captivating history of Destin through the museum’s exhibits and displays. Learn about the early settlers, the growth of the fishing industry, and the transformation of the town into a popular tourist destination. Marvel at the stories of resilience and perseverance that shaped this coastal community into what it is today.

Fishing Industry Exhibits

The museum showcases the pivotal role that fishing has played in shaping the identity of Destin. Explore exhibits that highlight the techniques, tools, and traditions of the local fishing industry. Get a close-up look at fishing boats, nets, and other equipment used by generations of fishermen. Gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by those who depend on the sea for their livelihood.

Experience Thrills at Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park

Beat the heat and get your adrenaline pumping at Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park. This family-friendly park offers a wide range of water slides, lazy rivers, and thrilling amusement rides, providing endless fun for kids and adults alike. With its tropical theme and exciting attractions, Big Kahuna’s is a must-visit destination for families seeking adventure and excitement.

Water Slides and Splash Zones

Cool off and make a splash at the numerous water slides and splash zones found throughout the park. From thrilling high-speed slides to gentle tube rides, there’s something for everyone. Let the kids conquer the twisting slides of the Kowabunga Racer or float lazily along the Lazy River. The park also features designated areas for younger children, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the water safely.

Amusement Rides and Mini Golf

In addition to its water attractions, Big Kahuna’s offers a variety of amusement rides and other entertainment options. Take a spin on the Cyclone, a classic roller coaster that provides thrills for all ages. Challenge your family to a round of mini golf at the Adventure Golf course, featuring lush tropical landscaping and challenging holes. With bumper boats, go-karts, and a selection of arcade games, the park guarantees a day filled with laughter and excitement.

Embark on a Dolphin Cruise

Hop aboard a dolphin cruise for an unforgettable family adventure. Sail along the emerald waters of Destin, spot playful dolphins in their natural habitat, and enjoy the breathtaking coastal views. This experience is not only entertaining but also educational as you learn about these magnificent creatures and the efforts to protect their environment.

Dolphin Sightings and Educational Commentary

As you cruise through the sparkling waters, keep a lookout for the graceful dolphins that call this area home. These intelligent creatures often swim alongside the boats, providing a thrilling spectacle for passengers. Knowledgeable guides will share interesting facts and insights about the dolphins’ behavior, habitat, and conservation efforts. It’s an opportunity for your family to develop a deeper appreciation for these incredible marine mammals.

Scenic Coastal Views

While on the dolphin cruise, take a moment to soak in the stunning coastal views that Destin has to offer. The emerald-green waters, powdery white-sand beaches, and picturesque shoreline create a postcard-perfect backdrop. Capturethe beauty of the scenery through photographs or simply enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings. The dolphin cruise not only provides an up-close encounter with these majestic creatures but also allows you to experience the natural splendor of Destin’s coastline.

Stroll Along the Harbor Boardwalk

Take a leisurely stroll along the Harbor Boardwalk, a vibrant promenade that offers a plethora of activities and attractions for the whole family. Lined with charming boutiques, restaurants, and entertainment options, the boardwalk is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Destin while enjoying stunning waterfront views.

Shopping and Souvenirs

Browse through the unique boutiques and specialty shops that dot the Harbor Boardwalk, offering a wide range of items to suit every taste. From beachwear and local artwork to handmade jewelry and souvenirs, you’re sure to find the perfect memento to commemorate your family vacation. Take your time to explore the shops, chat with friendly store owners, and discover hidden gems along the way.

Delicious Dining Options

Indulge in the culinary delights offered by the numerous restaurants and eateries lining the Harbor Boardwalk. From fresh seafood to international cuisine, there’s a dining option to satisfy every palate. Enjoy a casual meal with a waterfront view, savor local delicacies, or treat your family to an ice cream cone as you watch the boats sail by. The boardwalk’s dining scene is a gastronomic adventure waiting to be explored.

Live Entertainment and Events

The Harbor Boardwalk is known for its lively entertainment scene, with live music, street performers, and special events happening throughout the year. Catch a live band playing your favorite tunes, witness a mesmerizing street performance, or join in the festivities of a local festival or concert. The boardwalk’s vibrant atmosphere ensures that there’s always something exciting happening for the whole family to enjoy.

Explore the Gulf Islands National Seashore

Just a short drive from Destin lies the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a protected area that offers a serene retreat for nature lovers. Spanning miles of pristine coastline, this national seashore provides countless opportunities for outdoor exploration, wildlife spotting, and family bonding amidst breathtaking natural beauty.

Beach Bliss and Picnicking

Discover secluded beaches and enjoy the tranquility of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Spread out your beach towels, build sandcastles with your children, or simply relax under the shade of an umbrella as you listen to the soothing sound of waves crashing on the shore. Pack a picnic and savor a family meal surrounded by the stunning scenery. The national seashore offers a peaceful oasis where you can unwind and connect with nature.

Hiking Trails and Nature Walks

Embark on a family hike along the scenic trails that wind through the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Explore the diverse ecosystems, ranging from coastal dunes to lush forests, and keep an eye out for native wildlife along the way. Spot migratory birds, observe nesting sea turtles, or encounter the occasional deer as you traverse the well-maintained trails. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in nature and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Water Sports and Activities

The Gulf Islands National Seashore offers a variety of water sports and activities for the adventurous family. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and navigate the calm waters, discovering hidden coves and observing marine life up close. Go snorkeling and explore the vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful fish and coral reefs. From boating to fishing, the national seashore provides endless options for water-based fun and adventure.

Unwind at the Village of Baytowne Wharf

Round off your family vacation with a visit to the Village of Baytowne Wharf, a charming waterfront village that offers a host of family-friendly activities and entertainment options. Located within the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, this pedestrian-friendly village provides a lively atmosphere and a range of attractions for visitors of all ages.

Adventure Zone and Outdoor Activities

The Adventure Zone at the Village of Baytowne Wharf is a paradise for thrill-seekers of all ages. Test your skills on the zip line, conquer the rock climbing wall, or challenge your family to a round of mini-golf. The village also features a carousel, a playground, and a bungee trampoline, ensuring that there’s never a dull moment. Let your inner child run wild as you engage in these exciting outdoor activities.

Live Music and Entertainment

Experience the vibrant music scene at the Village of Baytowne Wharf, where live bands and performers take the stage to entertain visitors. Dance to the rhythm of live music, watch captivating street performances, or join in the fun of a themed event or festival. The village’s lively entertainment options create a festive atmosphere that will leave your family with lasting memories.

Dining and Shopping Delights

The Village of Baytowne Wharf offers a wide array of dining options, ranging from casual eateries to upscale restaurants. Sample delicious seafood, savor international flavors, or indulge in sweet treats from ice cream parlors and candy stores. The village also boasts an eclectic mix of shops, where you can find everything from fashionable clothing to unique gifts and souvenirs. Take a leisurely stroll through the village, enjoy the waterfront views, and explore the diverse dining and shopping experiences it has to offer.

In conclusion, Destin, Florida, is a treasure trove of family-friendly activities and attractions. Whether you’re exploring the wonders of science, immersing yourself in marine life, enjoying the beauty of nature, embarking on thrilling adventures, or experiencing the charm of the local culture, Destin has it all. This coastal town provides a well-rounded vacation experience that caters to the interests of every family member. So pack your bags, create lasting memories, and embark on an unforgettable family adventure in beautiful Destin, Florida.

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