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Best Things To Do In Destin

Destin Florida Crab Island

Cradled by the sparkling emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Destin, Florida, emerges as a tranquil oasis for seekers of pristine shores, sumptuous dwellings, and an array of things to do in Destin, Florida that exemplify cultured experiences. Celebrated as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin has flourished into a beacon of sophistication, offering an array of luxurious living and elegant leisure activities. It’s no wonder people are flocking to book their family vacation at Papaya Paradise located in Crystal Beach, Destin.

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Things to Do in Destin: Majestic Beaches

Pristine Beaches

The heart of Destin’s allure lies in its stretch of powdery white beaches, from the secluded serenity of Henderson Beach State Park to the family-friendly shores of Crystal Beach. Each beach is a world unto itself, promising a unique experience with every grain of sand.

Crystal Beach

Families and those who prefer the quieter side of luxury will find a haven at Crystal Beach. Papaya Paradise is located within the gates of the beautiful Destiny East subdivision in the heart of Crystal Beach.

James Lee Park

Relax on the soft sands of James Lee Park, where crystal-clear waters and gentle breezes create the perfect beach getaway. Papaya Paradise is a leisurely and beautiful short walk to James Lee Park.


Henderson Beach State Park

Indulge in the serenity of Henderson Beach State Park, where the white sands rival the world’s finest. It’s a harmonious blend of luxury and nature — the perfect setting for sunbathing or a sunset stroll.

Miramar Beach

Miramar Beach offers adventure and exclusivity, from water sports to a vibrant atmosphere. Steps away from premier dining and entertainment, it’s where excitement meets luxury.

Norriego Point

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Norriego Point, a picturesque stretch of beach with panoramic views of the Gulf and Destin Harbor.

Explore Crab Island

Spend a day exploring the vibrant atmosphere of Crab Island, a unique underwater sandbar known for its shallow, crystal-clear waters. Swim, snorkel, or rent a paddleboard to discover the marine life and enjoy the lively atmosphere with floating restaurants, water slides, and live music.

Things to Do in Destin: Family Attractions

  • Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park: Dive into excitement at Big Kahuna’s, featuring water slides, lazy rivers, and thrilling rides for the whole family.
  • Destin History & Fishing Museum: Explore Destin’s rich maritime history at the Destin History & Fishing Museum, showcasing artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays.
  • Destin Harbor: Embark on a scenic cruise or dolphin-watching tour from Destin Harbor, where adventure awaits on the open seas.
  • Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park: Discover marine life up close at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, featuring dolphin shows, sea lion encounters, and educational exhibits.

Things to Do in Destin: Shopping

  • Destin Commons: A premier shopping and entertainment center featuring a wide range of upscale stores, boutiques, and dining options. From fashion brands to home decor, you’ll find everything you need at Destin Commons.
  • Destin Commons is located only 5 minutes from your vacation rental when you Book Papaya Paradise.
  • HarborWalk Village: Peruse unique shops and boutiques nestled along the scenic Destin Harbor at HarborWalk Village. Find coastal-inspired clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, and more while enjoying stunning views of the waterfront.
  • Grand Boulevard at Sandestin: Experience luxury shopping at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, an upscale lifestyle center offering a curated selection of high-end retailers, specialty shops, and fine dining options. From fashion and beauty to home furnishings and gourmet foods, you’ll find the best of the best at Grand Boulevard.
  • Village of Baytowne Wharf: Explore the charming streets of the Village of Baytowne Wharf, where quaint shops and boutiques line the cobblestone pathways. Discover unique gifts, artisanal goods, and beachwear while soaking in the laid-back atmosphere of this coastal village.
Baytowne Wharf
  • Silver Sands Premium Outlets: Shopaholics rejoice at Silver Sands Premium Outlets, home to over 100 designer and brand-name outlet stores offering discounts of up to 65% off retail prices. From clothing and accessories to housewares and electronics, you’ll discover great deals on top brands.
  • The Market Shops at Sandestin: Browse specialty shops and upscale boutiques at The Market Shops at Sandestin, located in the heart of the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. From fashion and accessories to gourmet foods and wine, you’ll find something for everyone at this boutique shopping destination.
  • Destin Harbor Boardwalk: Stroll along the Destin Harbor Boardwalk and explore a variety of shops and galleries offering locally-made crafts, artwork, and souvenirs. From nautical-themed decor to handmade jewelry, you’ll discover treasures to commemorate your visit to Destin.
  • Downtown Destin: Take a leisurely walk through downtown Destin and discover a mix of eclectic shops, antique stores, and specialty boutiques. From vintage finds to coastal-inspired decor, downtown Destin offers a unique shopping experience with a touch of local charm.

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Things to Do in Destin: A Haven for Adventure Seekers

Premier Fishing

Destin’s reputation for premium fishing is unmatched, offering an array of deep-sea excursions. From the thrill of battling a marlin to the joy of a family fishing trip, the waters here are teeming with life and adventure.

  • Destin Harbor: Set sail from Destin Harbor on a deep-sea fishing charter, where anglers can reel in trophy fish such as marlin, tuna, and snapper.
  • East Pass: Explore the waters of East Pass, known for its abundant fish populations and thrilling fishing opportunities.
  • Choctawhatchee Bay: Cast your line into Choctawhatchee Bay for a chance to catch redfish, trout, and flounder in these scenic waters.

Water Sports

Embark on water-bound adventures like paddle boarding, kayaking, or jet skiing. The clear waters of the Emerald Coast provide the perfect backdrop for every splash.

Championship Golf

Destin is home to some of the finest golf courses in the Southeast, offering lush fairways and challenging greens with scenic vistas.

Best Places to Eat in Destin, Florida

Destin is a food lover’s paradise, featuring everything from waterfront restaurants serving the day’s freshest catch to international eateries offering a taste of global sophistication.

  • The Back Porch: Savor fresh seafood and Gulf views at The Back Porch, a Destin institution known for its beachfront dining and laid-back atmosphere.
  • Harbor Docks: Indulge in delicious seafood and waterfront dining at Harbor Docks, a local favorite for its casual vibe and diverse menu.
  • Fish On Seafood House– This is one of my absolute favorite, off the beaten path seafood restaurants. Here’s a recent review I did of our experience there.
Enjoyed amazing lunch Fish On Seafood House. Soooo good. Can’t wait to go again. Fish On Seafood House
  • Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House: Enjoy Southern hospitality and coastal cuisine at Boshamps, featuring locally sourced seafood and scenic views of Destin Harbor.
  • Cantina Laredo: Experience modern Mexican cuisine at Cantina Laredo, where flavorful dishes and handcrafted margaritas take center stage.
  • Royal Thai: Transport your taste buds to Thailand at Royal Thai, offering authentic Thai dishes in a cozy setting.
  • Jin Jin 88: Satisfy your cravings for Chinese cuisine at Jin Jin 88, known for its extensive menu and generous portions.
  • LongHorn Steakhouse: Sink your teeth into juicy steaks and savory BBQ ribs at LongHorn Steakhouse, a beloved spot for hearty American fare.
  • Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q: Indulge in mouthwatering BBQ classics at Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, where slow-smoked meats and homemade sides steal the show.
  • McGuire’s Irish Pub: Experience traditional Irish pub fare with a Southern twist at McGuire’s, where hearty meals and lively atmosphere are always on the menu.
  • Pazzo Italiano: Delight in authentic Italian cuisine at Pazzo Italiano, featuring handmade pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and classic dishes from Italy’s diverse regions.
  • Fudpucker’s Beachside Bar & Grill: Dive into coastal comfort food at Fudpucker’s, offering seafood specialties, burgers, and frosty drinks in a fun, beachfront setting

Things to Do in Destin: Coastal Events and Festivals

  • Destin Seafood Festival: Indulge in the flavors of the Gulf at the annual Destin Seafood Festival, a weekend-long celebration showcasing fresh catches from local fishermen prepared by talented chefs. Enjoy live music, arts and crafts vendors, and family-friendly activities. Held in the fall, it’s a must-visit event for food lovers.
  • Baytowne Wharf Beer Festival: Sip on craft brews at the Baytowne Wharf Beer Festival, featuring a diverse selection of beers from breweries across the country. With live music, delicious food, and interactive beer seminars, it’s the perfect way to kick off spring.
  • Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic: Experience the thrill of sportfishing at the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, one of the largest tournaments in the Gulf of Mexico. Anglers compete for big catches and prizes, making it an exciting event for spectators too. Held in the summer, it’s a chance to witness the Gulf’s beauty and excitement.
  • Destin Fishing Rodeo: Cast your line at the Destin Fishing Rodeo, a month-long fishing tournament held in October. With daily weigh-ins, cash prizes, and events for all ages, it’s a favorite among anglers and families alike.
  • Sandestin Wine Festival: Raise a glass at the Sandestin Wine Festival, featuring wines from around the world paired with delicious cuisine from local restaurants. Enjoy live music and stunning views of the Gulf. Held in the spring, it’s a toast to fine wine and good times.
  • HarborWalk Village’s Red, White, and Blue Celebration: Celebrate Independence Day at HarborWalk Village’s Red, White, and Blue Celebration, featuring live music, fireworks, and family-friendly activities. It’s a patriotic party by the sea that’s not to be missed.
  • Destin Festival of the Arts: Immerse yourself in creativity at the Destin Festival of the Arts, showcasing works by talented artists from across the country. Browse paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and more while enjoying live music and food vendors. Held in the spring, it’s a feast for the senses.
  • Baytowne Beer Festival: Cheers to good times at the Baytowne Beer Festival, a weekend-long event featuring craft beers, live music, and delicious food. Sample a variety of brews and discover new favorites while enjoying the festive atmosphere. Held in the fall, it’s a toast to beer lovers everywhere.
  • Destin Cobia Tournament: Reel in the big one at the Destin Cobia Tournament, a month-long fishing competition held in March and April. Anglers compete for cash prizes and bragging rights while enjoying the thrill of the chase. It’s an angler’s paradise in the heart of Destin’s fishing village.
  • Holiday on the Harbor Destin Boat Parade: Get into the holiday spirit at the Holiday on the Harbor Destin Boat Parade, featuring festively decorated boats cruising through the harbor. Enjoy live music, fireworks, and holiday cheer for the whole family. It’s a magical way to celebrate the season by the sea.

Destin Weather: Embracing Sunshine and Sea Breezes

  • Destin, Florida: Experience mild temperatures and sunny skies year-round in Destin, making it the perfect destination for outdoor activities and beach relaxation.
  • Gulf of Mexico: Enjoy gentle sea breezes and warm Gulf waters, creating an idyllic climate for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

With its captivating beauty, vibrant culture, and endless attractions, Destin, Florida, invites you to embark on the ultimate coastal adventure. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, excitement, or a little bit of both, Destin has everything you need for an unforgettable vacation experience.

Explore Destin

Cultural Richness

Art enthusiasts can wander through the numerous galleries in the Arts and Entertainment District or catch a live performance at the local theater.

Spa & Wellness

Destin’s luxury spas provide a sanctuary for rejuvenation. Choose from a selection of treatments and massages that blend local traditions with modern techniques.


For the nature-inclined, explore the untouched beauty of the Emerald Coast through guided eco-tours, which highlight Destin’s diverse ecosystems and wildlife.

Transportation to Destin

Air Travel

Access Destin with ease via Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, serving as your direct link to paradise. Additional connections through Pensacola and Panama City broaden your travel options.

Transportation in Destin

Getting Around

Navigate the charm of Destin by land or sea. Rent a plush SUV, a classic convertible, or even a pontoon boat to experience Destin from a new perspective. Golf cart rentals offer a charming way to traverse local communities.

Your Unforgettable Destin Experience

Awaiting your arrival is Papaya Paradise, a testament to Destin’s promise of unparalleled luxury. Here, your family will not just vacation but will be enveloped in an experience designed to exceed every expectation.