Make the most of your vacation with these family-friendly things to do in Destin this Fall!
And just like that, Summer is over and Fall is here. Beach crowds have cleared up, the sun sets earlier and a slight, welcome breeze fills the air. While the majority of travelers have come and gone, the fall season brings along a whole new slew of people that enjoy the beach during this breathtaking time of year.
While the water may still be warm enough to take a dip, most travelers opt for fun Fall activities to help make the most out of their trip! Here are some of our favorite things to do in Destin this Fall so that you can plan ahead and get right to making those memories!
A favorite fall activity no matter where you are – bonfires hold a special place in our hearts. From gooey, delicious s’mores to feeling the warmth of the fire on your face, this family-favorite is made better with Gulf views and the sound of waves crashing against the shore. Bring along your favorite food and beverages, best friends, and don’t forget the s’mores! There’s no better way to spend quality time and make some of the best memories. Make sure to book your session in advance to secure a slot with a beach bonfire company.
Click here to view some local beach bonfire experts.
Family photos on the beach
Fall is the perfect time to capture the most beautiful moments on camera with the ones you love most and what better backdrop than emerald waters and cotton candy skies? With less crowds and earlier sunsets, visitors can take advantage of a beautiful background to a photo that will last forever!
Click here to book a local family photographer.
Although the weather is getting cooler, it’s still warm enough to enjoy some watersports! Whether you like to jet ski and parasail or set sail on a dolphin cruise or fishing excursion, the water is still warm enough to enjoy all of the fun summer activities without the crowds. Looking for an inland activity? The Gulfarium is perfect for the whole family with daily dolphin and seal shows and the most beautiful and diverse marine life to learn about.
Click here to view local water adventures.
Whether you’re taking the family to the beach and building your own, or you book an experience to build the best sandcastle in town, sandcastle building is a beach staple we know all too well. To build a masterpiece, book a professional sandcastle building session with an artist and take back photos to show off to all of your friends.
Click here to book your experience!
Arcades and more!
Whether it’s a rainy day or you are looking for a cooler setting, there are plenty of indoor options when it comes to family-friendly activities. Pick one of the many arcades from Fort Walton Beach to Panama City including Fat Daddy’s Arcade, Dave and Buster’s, The Track, and more! Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone on Okaloosa Island features an outdoor obstacle course, mini golf, and a pizza place! Enjoy go-karts, fair rides for the kids, and a full arcade at The Track or head to the Gulfarium on The Island for the full marine-life experience.
There are plenty of options for outdoor and indoor activities, we’re sure it will be hard to choose just a few. Use our attractions page to plan ahead for your trip. You won’t be disappointed!
If you’re looking for some fun summer activities to do while on vacation, check out these top 10 summer activities in Destin!
1. Crab Island
Crab Island is an underwater island just North of the Destin Bridge.
Now featuring floating restaurants, bars, and even a floating playground, visitors won’t run out of fun new things to experience, and all in waste-deep water. Visitors can spend the whole day anchored at crab island and enjoying the water, sun, and all of the activities that Crab Island has to offer. The only way to get there is by boat, so make sure to book yours well in advance to secure a spot on one of the most sought-after destinations on the coast! Check out some of these local pontoon boat rental companies to book your boat in advance!
2. Jet Skiing
The Gulf may be too choppy for jet skis, but Choctawhatchee Bay and the Destin Harbor are perfect places to rip and ride on some jet ski’s! Ride around with dolphins in the Destin Harbor and enjoy views from the best spot in town- on the water! Jet ski’s can be rented at the Harbor or at any of the following rental companies, but it’s first-come first-serve, so be sure to book your rental in advance.
3. Kayaking and Paddle Boarding
Destin and 30A are full of places perfect for kayaking and paddle boarding. Whether you’re looking for a calm day in the Gulf, or take to the many dune lakes located on 30A, the scenery is sure to be exceptional! Take a calm, serene trip on the water and enjoy the view. Kayak with friends or go solo. The possibilities are endless! Check out some of these rental companies to book your kayak or paddle board in advance and lock in your adventure.
4. Big Kahuna’s Water Park
Big Kahuna’s Water Park is a local staple! Located right in the center of Destin, this newly renovated water park features a lazy river, kids play area, and waterslides galore! Looking for a dry adventure? Check out the adventure park with tropical mini golf and a slingshot ride to take to up high and view the city from above. Guests can purchase tickets at the park or purchase them ahead of time online here. The whole family can have the time of their lives at Big Kahuna’s.
5. Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
Take the whole family on a marine adventure at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park! Study tropical fish, experience amazing dolphin and seal shows, and let the kids get their hands on some sanddollars and starfish in the interactive pools. Other marine life include sea lions, penguins, and stingrays! Guests can host birthday parties or pay for animal encounters including swimming with dolphins. Not only can visitors experience all of the fun and interaction that the Gulfarium has to offer, but since this hotspot is Gulf front, you can head out for a beach day right after! Local eateries are also within walking distance, making this the perfect event for any day out. Buy tickets online ahead of time as they go fast!
6. The Track
Race or game your way to the number one spot at The Track in Destin! This family-friendly go-kart track and arcade combo has something for everyone including a small children area with rides galore, a full arcade, and multiple adventure activities like go-karting, swinging, and bumper cars! Set aside an entire day and get your game on with the whole family by seeing who comes out on top!
7. Sandcastle Lessons
You read that right! Did you know that you can book actual sandcastle building lessons? Our area has local businesses that are experts in the architecture of magnificent works of art created right here on the beach. Guests can build their own masterpiece for photographic memories to look at later in life and you get to see the look on your family’s face as they create beautiful artistry with their hands while spending quality time with the family. Pack a picnic to enjoy on the beach and you can make an entire day out of this activity! See below for some companies to book with in advance as spots go fast!
Want to see Destin from above! There are a few ways you can do that! Parasailing is one of them and this activity is not for the faint of heart. If you enjoy heights and gorgeous views, than this one is for you! Take a trip high in the sky with a parachute strapped to you while a boat pulls you around the Gulf of Mexico! Here, you can view the city, beaches, and marine life below! While the sound of being up so high might sound frightening, the views and the experience are truly breathtaking (in a good way). Here are some local spots to book for a parasailing trip if you’re feeling brave!
9. Helicopter Rides
Another high-flying adventure that is sure to get your adrenaline pumping is a helicopter ride above Destin! Take a few brave friends with you and enjoy the views from above while getting the experience of a lifetime. You can go during the day, or choose a sunset tour and watch as the sun sets over the beautiful emerald waters of Destin. If you can stomach the ride, this activity is a MUST!
10. Beach Days Galore
We can’t forget the most obvious activity for the whole family and that’s just a trip to the beach! Our beaches here are among the most beautiful beaches in the world. With white sand and crystal-clear waters, the view alone is enough to instantly relax the mind and body. Bring your chairs and umbrella (or rent some on-site) and spend the whole day taking in the fresh salty air and dipping in the emerald waters to cool off. Along our beach roads are plenty of beach stores with toys, souvinirs and anything else you may need for a successful beach day. Take a quick stroll to any of the Gulf front restaurants for a quick bite to eat or grab some fro-yo or ice cream on those extra hot days. You can never go wrong with a beach trip! After all, isn’t that what vacation is all about?
If you’re looking for a short getaway during the summer, check out some of our inventory with lower nightly minimums during peak season! You can view all of our rental homes here!
We all know that searching for the perfect vacation rental for you and your family can be a bit overwhelming. From the many different booking sites out there, to finding the rental to fit exactly what you and your party needs, the possibilities are endless and sometimes confusing. Making the wrong decision could make hundreds of dollars of a difference.
Did you know that third party sites such as Airbnb and VRBO charge YOU a booking fee for using their site? This fee can range anywhere from 6-20% of the total cost of the rental. With a percentage this high, this could cost you hundreds of dollars that you could save by simply calling and booking directly with the property manager. When looking for a home, the best thing you can do for your pocketbook is to go directly to the source!
Knowledge Is Key
By booking directly with a rental company, you’d not only save hundreds of dollars, but you get the quality and care of a customer service representative that knows the area and can listen to your needs and help find the perfect home for you. The majority of property management companies are located in the area. They live and work here and know the area and their homes to help you find the perfect place for you and your family.
Third-party sites like VRBO and Airbnb require you to use their customer service representatives for questions regarding your booking. In most situations, these representatives act as a middle-man between you and the rental company. When you book direct, you speak to the property managers directly! All of your information is in one system so that we can help you from the start of your booking process, to the very end of your stay!
Opportunities For Future Discounts
Repeat guests are a big deal for the vacation rental agencies. We truly appreciate your business and offer future incentives and discounts that you might not get through third-party OTA’s, saving you even more money on your next vacation!
A Long-Lasting Relationship
Once you find a home fit for you and your family’s vacation, it’s very likely that you’ll rebook in the future for family trips to come. Building a relationship with a management company directly can keep you coming back to the same home year after year. Guests can opt to receive update emails on availability, deals, and new homes that may be perfect for them in the future making the search for next year’s rental as easy as that!
There are so many reasons to book direct that directly affect you, the traveler. Need more statistics? Check out some of the data behind how booking directly can save you money on your next vacation!
The Origin of Destin
Starting out as a very small fishing village with little to no development, Destin has been an epicenter for anglers since the beginning of time. Captain Leonard Destin, where the Destin name originated from, settled here in 1852 to extend the fishing season. Over the next 40 years, the Destin name would be stamped on the fishing village after William Marler, a worked for Captain Leonard Destin, submitted a post office request with the single name “Destin”.
Since then, settlers have flocked to the beautiful area known for its abundance in fish and beautiful scenery. Over the next 2 centuries, Destin would become one of the United State’s most treasured vacation spots! As businesses develop and more people flock to the area to live, the city has grown with the hustle and bustle of life. While still being a great vacation spot, Destin has stayed true to “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” name by hosting angler events and providing fresh local seafood to restaurants along the coast and neighboring states.
White Sand and Emerald Waters
We all know Destin for its beautiful white sand and emerald waters, but what is the cause of the most beautiful beaches on the Gulf Coast? If you’ve ever wondered, you’ve come to the right place. The unique white sand on the beaches of Destin, Miramar Beach, and 30A come from small quartz particles from the Appalachian Mountains over 20,000 years ago. The Apalachicola River carried water and these quartz particles to the Gulf of Mexico and still continues to do so today.
So, that gorgeous white sand that doesn’t burn your feet, and the crystal clear water that keeps you mesmerized is a beautiful gift from nature herself!
How To Make The Most Of Your Trip
Whether you’re here for the fishing, golf, or just to spend some time on our gorgeous beaches, here are a few tips to make the most out of your trip to the beach:
- Book a luxury vacation home with Diamond Gulf Rentals – There’s nothing like making some amazing memories in the comfort of a home just for you and your family. Whether you’re looking for a home with a private pool, large enough for a special event, or want something Gulf Front to enjoy those beautiful views of the Gulf, we have exactly what you’re looking for!
- Head to the beach! – We know this seems like an obvious one, but did you know there are many ways to enjoy the beaches of Destin other than just taking a quick trip to the beach! Destin is riddled with fun family-friendly activities like jet skis, kayaking, charter fishing, and there’s even a pirate boat at AJ’s that the kids are sure to love! Switch it up every day with any of these fun activities to get the most out of your beach days!
- Enjoy fresh, local food – Help support local restaurants and eat locally owned and locally sourced locations. Harbor Docks, Jackacuda’s Seafood and Sushi, Louisiana Lagniappe, and Brotula’s are some great local places, just to name a few! Supporting local will not only help provide for our beautiful area, but you’re sure to get great, fresh food and the full Destin experience!