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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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    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      I've been to Ocala, but not for vacation. I love seeing all the beautiful horse farms in that area!

    • profile image

      ocala vacations 

      7 years ago

      Florida is such a beautiful and unique place with such a variety of travel options. There is a great difference between places like Destin, Miami, Orlando and even Ocala with each offering their own unique flavor. Have you been to Ocala for a vacation?

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      It is gorgeous!

    • profile image

      jannyjan69 

      7 years ago

      I have been to Destin MANY TIMES and I am never disappointed the beaches are spectacular and the water is emerald green.... ohhhh wish I was there right now... you will never be disappointed ever!! Great for families too!!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Destin is gorgeous, Nancy!

    • nancy_30 profile image

      nancy_30 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      This sounds like a really beautiful place to visit. I loved the pictures.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      I agree - the Destin beaches are gorgeous!

    • profile image

      TheDisneyVacation 

      7 years ago

      I think its time for me to check the beaches of Destin.

      Nice hub!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Yep, Elf. Some of the Destin rentals are pretty cheap now!

    • elf_cash profile image

      elf_cash 

      7 years ago

      Destin rentals has some great deals now.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Oh, Anne, I know you LOVED San Destin!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Quildon, you're in FL?? Lucky you! You need to check out Destin!

    • msannec profile image

      msannec 

      7 years ago from Mississippi (The Delta)

      Thanks for sharing the great hub, Habee! I love the area. My husband and I went to the San Destin resort a few years ago, and it was so beautiful.

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 

      7 years ago from Florida

      I am in Florida right now, but I've never been to Destin. You make me want to start packing. Great job!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Eth, a walk on the beach is almost always a good thing!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Yeah, Audrey - I wonder...is there a such thing as an ugly beach??

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Anglnwu, next time you're in FL, visit Destin!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      sheila, the Destin area is really gorgeous!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Martie, watch out for sharks!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 

      7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Could do to be walking on that beach right now :)

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      I kept thinking there was 'ation' after it but now I get it - Destin, Florida. I never heard of it but it looks beautiful......of course everything with a beach looks beautiful about now!

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 

      7 years ago

      My brother-in-law lives in Florida. Now, this makes me want to take a vacation there, just do I can visit Dustin. Lovely, as usual.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      7 years ago

      Destin, Florida, looks like a super place to vacation. The harbor sounds especially fun to visit.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Now I know I am desperately in need of a holiday. But will have to pick one of our own beautiful beaches. Tantalising hub, voted up!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      HH, thanks for reading!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Don, I'm surprised you haven't heard of Destin, Florida! Destin vacations are super popular.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Ladybird! We cancelled our panhandle vacation due to the oil spill, too. But the ouil never reached the place we were going. There's always next summer!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Mick, you could always ride your bike to Destin! Stop and say hi on the way! lol

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Pam, I'd like to take the kids on a Destin vacation!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Bpop, Destin is beautiful!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Rob, I go to FL whenever I can! I'm about 60 miles from the FL line!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Many thanks, Hostage!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      This looks wonderful and thank you for showing and sharing.

    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 

      7 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      I've not heard of Destin, Florida. Nicely written Hub. I'm getting ready to put up some of my own travel Hubs. I was just in Hartford, CT for a few days at a conference and I was surprised how small the city is.

    • Ladybird33 profile image

      Ladybird33 

      7 years ago from Fabulous USA

      Habee, this is one of my favorite vacation spots (missed it this year due to the oil spill) but you have truly capture all the goodness of Destin. Thank you for sharing, you did great!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      Looks like a blast Habee!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from United States

      Habee, Your pictures are excellent as usual because Destin is a beautiful place.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      7 years ago

      I've never been to Destin but I have to say it sounds and looks fabulous. Thanks for the info.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 

      7 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      I haven't been to Florida in many years. This is making me want to go back.

    • ahostagesituation profile image

      SJ 

      7 years ago

      My family vacationed in Florida every couple of years growing up, and I've never been to Destin. You really sold it! Great job. Really, really well put together.

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