The Ultimate Destin Summer and Fall Guide

Deciding to make the most of time away from the stress of the daily grind begins with booking a trip that takes you towards a vacation destination well-versed in pairing scenic beauty with fun in abundance! If you’re the sort of adventurer who can’t get enough of the sunshine, has a passion for time on the water, and would like to mix the best of stunning landscapes with options to shop and dine your way through a good time, there’s something endlessly appealing about picking Destin, Florida as your place to rest, relax, and rejuvenate in southern style!

Destin is snuggled into Florida’s northwest panhandle and is loved by travelers from near and far for its plethora of sugar-white beaches and warm waves that roll in from the Gulf of Mexico. Whether you head this way to explore the best of nature trails and beach parks or can’t wait to get up close to incredible wildlife and a collection of towering pines and oaks, Destin is a place that promises to provide exactly what you’re searching for. For solo travelers, it’s a great place to get away from it all and enjoy an adventure at your very own pace. For couples looking to escape on a romantic journey, it’s a destination with options to customize every moment with the intimacy and beauty you deserve! For groups of families and friends, Destin has no shortage of options in the way of adventure and exploration that make a trip this way just as engaging as it is educational for visitors of all ages!

While Destin is a year-round destination, those looking to be a part of the most vibrant time of year will want to make plans for a Destin summer or fall getaway for sure! When you’re ready to put the finishing touches on your getaway itinerary, the following are a few stops you just won’t want to leave off the list while you’re here.

Summer and Fall Things to Do in Florida: From Harbor Walks to Waterparks

Whether it’s day one in Destin and you’re looking to get the lay of the land, or you’ve been in town for a while and are excited to immerse yourself in the heart of the city’s most vibrant area—a trip to the Destin Harbor Boardwalk promises to please. This exciting and bustling area of town really revolves around Harbor Boulevard and offers up visitors access to a collection of fun shops and restaurants that are all well worth checking out! The Destin Harbor Boardwalk is an ideal destination for those interested in settling in at a waterfront café and spending some time people-watching but is just as well suited for those excited to take a stroll and check out every boutique storefront that exists. As wander along, this is the place to watch the boats sail by between ducking into souvenir shops and picking up those fun and whimsical gifts that friends back home are sure to love! When you’re walking along the Destin Harbor Boardwalk, there’s a good chance you’ll stumble upon a variety of local companies offering customized water tours and adventures. Signing up is easy if you’re in the mood for some adrenaline-pumping fun or could stand to spend a sunny afternoon on the waves keeping your eyes peeled for jumping dolphins on the horizon!

When you’ve had your fill of wandering through the Destin Harbor Boardwalk, and you’re looking to cool down on a hot Florida day, time spent at Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park promises to be an amazing stop. Located at 1007 US 98 East, Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park is a family-fun locale where guests can make the most of their time on water slides and lazy rivers to wave pools and age-specific splash pads for those in the area enjoying time with little ones in tow. Enjoy racing your friends on the side-by-side slides or put your balance to the test on the Honolulu Half-Pipe. From the Cobra Twist to the Tiki River Run, there’s no shortage of water fun options to be enjoyed at Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park which is open to the public daily between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm.

On-The-Water-Fun for Everyone

If you’re the type of traveler that prefers to pair your waterpark adventures with time out on the open water, Destin is just the place to indulge your interests. Here, it’s seemingly possible to find a water activity, adventure, or tour at every turn! For those who crave adrenaline-pumping excitant on the waves, partnering up with Wet-n-Wild Watersports is a good start. Headquartered at 119 Calhoun Avenue, Wet-n-Wild Watersports is a premier provider of outdoor recreation staffed by an experienced and knowledgeable team that makes time on the water safe and exciting for all! Open from 8:00 am until 7:00 pm daily, Wet-n-Wild Watersports offers guests the opportunity to take things to new levels of excitement by booking rental jet skis to hit the waves at an increased rate of speed. Pontoon boats are also readily available for rent through Wet-n-Wild Watersports but it just may be the parasailing tours that keep guests coming back for more. Enjoy a sky-high perspective on Destin’s delightful terrain by booking this exciting excursion that has you soaring above the waves in no time. Boats that provide parasailing tours can accommodate up to 12 guests at a time and most tours provide enough space for two people to fly in tandem. When you’ve experienced the thrill of parasailing and are looking to bring things back down to the water, Wet-n-Wild Watersports is also happy to help guests book dolphin spotting tours that educate on these amazing marine creatures and provide guests a chance to see them thriving in their natural habitats.

From above the waves fun to below the waves adventures, Destin is a destination that truly has something for everyone. If you’re more about encountering creatures, plants, and wonders that find their stride below surface level, booking a tour with Destin Snorkel is the way to go. Headquartered within the greater HarborWalk Village, Destin Snorkel has long been loved by those looking to make the most of spectacular underwater views in style during their time in Destin. Open from 8:00 am until 7:00 pm daily, Destin Snorkel is proud to offer two-stop snorkeling experiences with an advanced booking that can also be paired with shelling fun or dolphin cruises upon request.

Just off Destin, those looking to get a little island time will love the opportunity to book an excursion with  Adventures. This outdoor recreation provider offers up an opportunity for guests to book time in a clear-bottom kayak or hop on a group vessel and make their way to this scenic and inspiring destination of fun! Amazing views, floating bars, floating trampolines, and dolphin spotting are yours for the enjoying when you add this adventure to your summer or fall getaway lineup.


Family-Focused Entertainment

For all of the scenic beauty and adrenaline-pumping fun Destin offers up, it’s also a destination that’s well-suited to family travel and offers up plenty of stops that are as educational as they are engaging. One of these destinations to definitely check out while you’re here is the Destin History and Fishing Museum. When summer temperatures in Destin soar, the Destin History, and Fishing Museum offers up a welcome reprieve from the heat where guests can get an inside look at the industry that’s driven the area’s economic success forward for centuries! Located at 108 Stahlman Avenue, the Destin History and Fishing Museum is a one-of-a-kind stop that features a collection of inviting exhibits and displays showcasing the area’s regional history as well as a closer look at how fishing, in particular, has played a vital role in the region’s development. Open from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday, this museum is a great place to check out local fish species, view antique fishing rigs, and get a closer eye on a variety of natural artifacts as well.

When you’ve satiated your desired to learn more about history, it may be time to engage in a bit of friendly family competition which is where a stop at The Track comes into play. Located at 1125 US-98, The Track is the place to put your go-kart skills to the test alongside those you love most when you gear up and get ready for the race of a lifetime! This fun-for-all-ages destination also hosts rides, mini-golf, an arcade, and more to enjoy when you’re ready to let loose and make memories that last a lifetime.

The Best of Beaches

For all of the entertainment that’s so easily found in Destin, a trip this way wouldn’t really seem complete without some serious beach-time built into the itinerary. Destin is known and loved for its chalk-white shorelines and making the most of time on the sand and under the sun is practically a right of passage when you make your way this direction in the summer or fall. A great place to start if you’re looking to pair beach time with time on the trails exploring nature at its finest is Henderson Beach State Park, a great summer or fall thing to do in Florida. This iconic destination is found at 17000 Emerald Coast Parkway and is open to the public between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm daily. Here, visitors can enjoy time next to warm Gulf waters that lap the pristine shorelines and can also enjoy encounters with towering sand dunes that promise to impress. It’s $6 per vehicle to enter the park and if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, particularly in the Destin summer, be sure to arrive as early as possible to settle into your desired spot on the sand. Whether you sunbathe, bicycle, hike or swim your way through a day here, it’s a stop that’s worth your while. Bird watchers will want to be sure to have their binoculars on hand as this area enjoys a variety of seabird species that are both local and migratory to observe.

Those looking to enjoy a beach picnic while they’re in Destin will find James Lee Beach to be a beautiful and accommodating spot to do exactly that. Situated at 3510 Scenic Highway 98, James Lee Beach hosts a variety of picnic pavilions near its sandy shorelines as well as a designated swimming area, walk-over dunes, kids’ playgrounds, and on-site showers as an added convenience!

No matter what sandy destination you land on while you’re in Destin, there’s no reason not to make your beach time a bit more creative when you have the chance. The local team at Sandcastle Rockstars is more than happy to meet up with visitors and provide on-site lessons on how to turn those sandy surroundings into spectacular works of art! Customize your Destin beach experience in an entirely new way by reserving your place in one of these sand sculpting classes that promise to be the highlight of your Destin adventure.

Restaurants to Enjoy

Participating in all of the Destin-based fun is a sure way to work up an appetite. Fortunately for summer and fall travelers, there’s truly no shortage of savory stops to choose from while you’re here! Seafood is by far a fan-favorite food option in Destin and with so many opportunities to indulge in fresh-caught fare—it’s not hard to see why. Swing over to The Back Porch for a casual and welcoming ambiance to enjoy beachfront dining at its best. This stop has been in town for over 40 years and still serves up everything from oysters and lobster to crab or calamari with a one-of-a-kind style.

Places to Stay in Destin

A trip to Destin is always a delight but knowing you have a vacation rental in place that incorporates the comfort, luxury, and convenience you deserve only makes it that much better. The team at Five Star Properties hosts a variety of rental options for guests that value the ability to customize their stay from start to finish. Whether you’re looking for a cozy beach abode or a sprawling multi-level residence with multiple balconies and impressive views to match, we have what you’re looking for. Reach out today to learn more and book your stay with ease!

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