Destin Florida Vacation
A Destin Florida vacation is wonderful! The sand and sea beckon, the outdoors calls and great places to stay are all around. Destin, located on the Florida Panhandle, is a great vacation destination, and it's especially nice if you take a little time to check out your options before you go.
There are a lot of things to see and do in this city by the sea. From enjoying the white sand beaches, to fishing charters, to shopping, to outdoor activities and even an attraction or two. Destin certainly has a little something for everyone - singles, couples, family and groups will all find something to enjoy.
On this page I'll tell you a bit about each of the following:
Destin Information Overview
Destin has been around for quite some time, as its heritage extends way back, to when it was a native american fishing village. And the tradition still lives on, as Destin is known as "The World's Luckiest Fishing Village".
But just because fishing is a famous pasting in Destin, don't let that fool you. There are plenty of other things to see and do, even if you don't want to wet a line. After all, Destin is also famous for its glorious white sand beaches and beautiful waters and fantabulous golfing.
Destin is located in the Florida Panhandle, on the Gulf Coast. It sits in Okaloosa County, and its nearby neighbors include Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach. Destin is part of what is known as Florida's Emerald Coast, which stretches from Pensacola in the west to around Panama City in the east.
Things To Do on Your Vacation
When you're on vacation in Destin, the outdoors is the main draw. Sure, there are some attractions and a bit of shopping, but really, you come here for the outdoor activities. Not to stay inside.
The two biggest draws are the beach and fishing, not necessarily in that order. But golfing isn't far behind -- there are some awesome courses in and around Destin.
OK, first in and around the water. You can swim, snorkel, dive, rent a waverunner, rent a boat or do some parasailing, among other options. There are lots of places that will rent you anything you can think of that's watery fun. Something that caught my eye was renting a private yacht for a customized cruise -- awesome!
Oh, and the beaches lend themselves to warm naps in the sun, swimming, building castles in the sand, and collecting beautiful sea shells. After all, it is the beautiful sandy beaches and warm green waters, which gave the area it’s name - The Emerald Coast.
Next is fishing. Saltwater fishing is really the big deal around here, and charter fishing takes the lead. So what kind of fish are waiting to come to dinner with you? Out in tyhe Gulf, grouper, snapper, blackfin tuna and wahoo are the main "eating fish". If you don't care if it's not edible, add amberjack, bonita, king mackerel and triggerfish (all great fighters). If you're not into ocean fishing, think about wetting a line in some of the bays and lakes in the area; you might just catch a redfish!
The Gulf of Mexico is pretty shallow, so you will want to consider a day-long trip for ocean fishing, to get out to deep water.
What about golfing during your Destin, Florida vacation? There are lots of courses in and around Destin. Most are 18-hole courses but there are one or two 9-holes around too (when you are pressed for time, but just gotta golf). Prices are generally pretty affordable (yay!) and some of the courses are quite challenging. Many golfers consider this place a true golfing "Destin-ation" (sorry, couldn't resist!).
There are some Florida State Parks in the general vicinity, so you might want to take advantage of them; they include Grayton Beach State Park and Henderson Beach State Park. Plenty of hiking, biking, swimming, boating and camping to be had. And if you really get adventurous, check out Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna. Yes, it's a bit of a drive, but the caves are cool (literally and figuratively).
As for attractions, well, Destin isn't exactly high on the list of places to visit them...but they are around if you look. Your best bet is probably the Gulfarium, which hosts animal shows (dolphin, sea lion and mult-species). For one price, you can stay and see all the shows as many times as you like. The park reports that the average visit is for about 2.5 hours. You can see my Florida Panhandle attractions page for more information on other nearby options.
(Just a piece of advice- if you're wanting to visit Disney World on your vacation, plan to spend a day driving to it and a day driving back -- distances can be deceiving.)
Getting to Your Destin, Florida Vacation
For those who may want to fly in from out of state, there are three different airports in the general area that you can fly into. The largest airport is the Pensacola airport, and most well-known airlines fly in to this airport. Pensacola is only 60 miles away, so reaching Destin should only take you about 90 minutes, depending on traffic.
The Fort Walton Beach Airport and Destin/Fort Walton Beach Airport are smaller airports that are a bit closer to your destination, but are not served by as many flights.
But in actuality, Pensacola is not a bad choice -- although it's farther away, if you drive on US 98, you'll get a scenic tour of the coast.
Weather in Destin, Florida
Destin is blessed with lovely weather most of the year. The average daytime temperature is around 77 degrees Fahrenheit, but don't expect that, except perhaps in March, April and May. During the summers, the highs can soar to near 100 degrees, and the winter nights can fall into the teens.
So what to expect for weather in Destin, Florida? In the summer you can pretty much count on temperatures in the upper 80's to mid 90's, with high humidity The weather is mostly sunny, but summer storms can come and go quickly.
While the vacation season is typically Memorial Day through Labor Day, please consider Spring and/or Fall for your Destin, Florida vacation. Not only are the vacation rental rates lower, but the temperatures and humidity are more moderate. Think about days in the mid 70's to low 80's, and nights in the 50's and 60's. Beautiful weather for anything outdoors!
Now, about Destin and hurricanes. The years 2004 and 2005 were tough on this Florida Panhandle community. First and foremost was Ivan in 2004, which came ashore just a bit to the west of Destin and devastated the city. Roads were washed out, beach sand strewn inland and beach residences took heavy damage. Then, just as Destin was digging itself out, along came 2005 with Arlene and Dennis. Dennis was the worst of the two, bringing huge tidal surges.
Fortunately since then we've had years, as hurricanes go, and Destin was able to get back on its feet. However (and you knew there was one), Summer is not the best time of year to visit this beautiful spot of paradise on Florida's Emerald Coast. Just because there is a chance of a hurricane showing up. Not a really big chance, but of you like to play it safe, up through May is an excellent time to visit.
Vacation Rental in Destin
So, where should you stay on your Destin, Florida vacation? You have lots of choices, actually. Your options include vacation home rentals, condo rentals, timeshares, motels, resorts and more! In fact, I went ahead and did a page just on Destin, Florida rentals.
You also can stay at one of the hotels and resorts, or even in a little beach cottage, if that's where your heart lies. One thing about your Destin, Florida vacation -- you have all kinds of choices!
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