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A Destin, Florida Vacation Overview

Updated on August 9, 2010

Destin vacations and Destin rentals

You've probably heard of Destin, Florida. Destin is located in northwest Florida, on the state’s panhandle. This region fronts the Gulf of Mexico and is often referred to as the “Emerald Coast” because of its clear jewel-green water. Actually, the water isn't always green - sometimes it's more of a turquoise or an aquamarine. In either case, it's always beautiful!

If you’ve never experienced a Destin, Florida vacation, you’d probably be surprised to find such beautiful beaches in the northern part of the state. Most people familiar with the gorgeous beaches of Southwest Florida will find that with a Destin vacation, they can experience the same natural beauty without having to drive so far. There’s lots to do and see on Destin vacations, and you’ll find plenty of Destin vacation rentals, too.

Things To Do In Destin, Florida


The beaches of Destin, Florida

If you love the beach, Destin vacations will not disappoint! The sand is sugar-white – literally. And it’s also soft and warm. The waters of the gulf at Destin are clear and relatively calm, especially when compared to Atlantic beaches. Destin vacations allow potential “beach bums” to swim, surf fish, search for seashells, snorkel, or just relax in a lounge chair. The sand is also great for creating intricate sand castles.

On your Destin vacation, you’ll find several public beach access points. There are also state parks nearby that boast beautiful beaches. Several vendors offer beach rentals and water activities, so you can jet ski, power boat, water ski, parasail, or scuba dive. If it can be done in the water, you’ll find it on a Destin vacation.



The Inn on Destin Harbor.
The Inn on Destin Harbor.

Hit the Harbor!


A Destin, Florida vacation wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the DestinHarbor. Coastal Living magazine voted it as one of the Top Ten Harbors in the entire United States. Since the water here is largely protected by land, it’s very calm and crystal clear.

At first glance, the harbor seems almost like a “blast from the past.” In other words, you get a feel for what Destin was like before it became a top vacation destination, back when it was just a typical Florida fishing community. And even though DestinHarbor is still the center for boating and fishing, it’s now also a must-see for Destin vacations.

Harbor Walk has lots of stores and boutiques that sell everything from beach apparel to nautical-themed items to gifts. It’s a great place to find unique souvenirs, too. Spend a couple of hours browsing the stores and window shopping.

On the harbor, you’ll also find some great restaurants. Some serve seafood that came straight from the fishing and shrimping boats. You can’t get any fresher than that! If you’ve spent the day fishing and were successful, you can even take your fresh catch to A.J.’s Restaurant, and they’ll cook it for you. Several of the local restaurants include live entertainment, and most provide great views of the harbor.

Be sure to stick around for the glorious sunsets and watch the sun as it’s swallowed by the gulf and paints the sky with amazing colors and hues. Once it’s dark, enjoy the harbor lights and find a seat at one of the local restaurants or bars. Listen to some great music, sip a frozen beverage, and soak up the sights and sounds!

Meet a dolphin on a Destin vacation day cruise.
Meet a dolphin on a Destin vacation day cruise.

Boating and Cruising in Destin, Florida


Destin is a water-based community, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find many related activities on Destin vacations. Boats are everywhere!

One of the favorite Destin vacation activities is fishing. Hire a charter with a few friends or family members for some great inshore or near shore fishing. Expect to catch redfish, seatrout, flounder, sheepshead, and sharks.

For a wonderful deep-sea fishing adventure at a reasonable price, join a party fishing boat, like the Swoops I or the Swoops II. A fishing trip on such a boat is great for the whole family, and no experience is needed. The large boats have restrooms, air conditioned cabins, and knowledgeable crews and captains. They’ll do all the work, including baiting your hook, taking your fish off the hook, and cleaning your catch. All you have to do is enjoy the thrill of landing grouper, snapper, sharks, and triggerfish.

If angling isn’t your “thing,” enjoy a cruise on your Destin vacation. You’ll find several different types of cruises. One of the most popular is the dolphin cruise, where you’ll get to see playful dolphins up close. Another popular cruise for those on Destin vacations is the sunset cruise. This is a great way to unwind after a busy day. If you want to learn more about the area around Destin, Florida, take one of the sightseeing cruises. Dining cruises that provide dancing, along with frosty tropical drinks and a great meal, are also available.

One of the beachfront Destin resorts.
One of the beachfront Destin resorts.

Destin, Florida Vacation Rentals

Okay, you’re now convinced that you just have to take a Destin vacation. But where to stay? Don’t worry – you’ll find a plethora of Destin, Florida vacation rentals! Destin rentals include Destin condos, Destin resorts, and Destin vacation homes. You’re sure to find one to fit your budget and your tastes.

Destin condos range from simple to luxurious. Many of the Destin condos feature pools, tennis courts, hot tubs, and other amenities. Some of the Destin condos are right on the beach and provide fantastic views of the gulf. Remember, the higher the level on which you’re staying, the better view you’ll have!

There are also several Destin resorts. If you want to be pampered, the Destin resorts might be your best bet. They often include all kinds of amenities and activities, including tennis,skating, salons, indoor pools, outdoor pools, spas, and golf. Some of the Destin resorts even have private beaches. If you have kids along, you might want to consider one of the Destin resorts that provide special programs for children.

If you want more privacy, check out Destin vacation homes and Destin private home rentals. Destin vacation homes range from simple beach cottages to sprawling beachfront properties. You should have no problem finding beach house rentals in Destin just the right size for your group. Destin home rentals might be right on the water or across the street from the gulf. Most of the Destin vacation homes across the street from the water still provide great gulf views. Destin home rentals right on the beach are usually more expensive, but the beach house rentals in Destin put you right on the sand. This is especially nice when your Destin vacation includes small children – you won’t have to worry about crossing a busy street.

If you’re looking for less expensive Destin home rentals, look for smaller homes within walking or quick driving distance of the beach. You won’t have the same gulf views that you would with beach house rentals in Destin, but you’ll save a lot of money.


You'll love the beaches of Destin!
You'll love the beaches of Destin!

Find Great Deals on Destin Rentals


Search online for Destin rentals. You’ll find amazing savings and package deals for Destin resorts and for other Destin vacation rentals.


For Destin condos and Destin vacation homes, search Vacation Rental By Owner, or VRBO. You’ll find a wide range of Destin home rentals, including beach house rentals in Destin and near Destin. Other websites will also provide you with numerous choices for Destin vacation rentals.




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