Top 10 Things To Do in Destin
Destin has been my go-to vacation spot since birth. By now, I’ve probably spent 10,000 or so hours there so I’m just going to humbly call myself a subject matter expert on all things Emerald Coast. So here it is.. drum roll please..
THE TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN DESTIN.
Of course, no one would blame you for beach bummin’ it every day of your vacation. After all, the Emerald Coast is known for it’s soft, sandy white beaches and beautiful green crystal clear waters. I mean, just look at it…
BUT.. try one or all of my below suggestions to elevate your experience, create more memories and Instagrammable photos ops, of course. (because is it really a vacation if you don’t post 12,000 photos?).
1. Cups and Cones
Priorities, yall. You simply cannot have a good vacation without gelato. You just can't. And Cups and Cones is where it’s at. Endless flavors of locally made melt-in-your-mouth gelato. Aka Heaven. The coconut is DREAMY. They also serve fresh frozen yogurt. And (get ready, Disney lovers)… DOLE WHIP. In fact, it’s the only place to get Dole Whip outside of Disney World which basically makes Cups and Cones the second happiest place on earth.
2. Paddle Tribe Company
Once you’ve come out of your gelato coma, it’s time to get your beach bum up and moving and head to Paddle Tribe Company at LuLu’s to try stand up paddleboarding! Talk about FAMILY FUN! Our party of 12 included four children (nine and under) and everyone loved this experience. The owner of Paddle Tribe Co, Julia, is an absolute delight. She brought down all of our boards and paddles to the water and taught us how to safely and properly paddleboard. The kids loved riding on the front of the boards. The bay is shallow enough to feel safe but big enough to paddle down the coast for some sightseeing. A+ experience and we will be back every time.
3. Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club
Marriage is more fun when you have ‘together’ hobbies and golfing is one of our favorites! Couples who play together stay together, right? My husband and I got the chance to play a round at Regatta Bay and it completely exceeded our wildest dreams. Literally the most pristine and scenic course I’ve ever played and hole #16 should be a national treasure. As you can see below, it was a close call – whew! The downside to this course: You’ll spend more time taking photos than focusing on your game. Guilty.
4. Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone
Okay, WOW. Can’t believe I never knew this place existed until now. Forget The Track in Destin. A short drive to Wild Willy’s on Okaloosa Island is well worth it (just BARELY outside of Destin). Clean, not crowded and super fun. Arcade games galore, a 4-D movie theater, and the BEST PUTT-PUTT GOLF COURSE on the Emerald Coast. My nephew also rocked the ropes course which he described as, “the coolest thing ever!!!” Spoiler: The adults might have more fun than the kids. PLEASE enjoy the photos below of the adults in the arcade.
5. Worship on the Beach
Best surprise of our trip. By chance, we saw a sign near our house that said “Beach Worship – Sundays 7:30am” so we showed up. What an incredible, touching experience. Toes in the sand, surrounded by His beautiful creation singing praises to the Creator. A sacred moment indeed. A beautiful message was then followed by a touching baptism right there in the ocean. A huge thank you to the kind folks at Destin United Methodist Church for hosting this service every week. They hold multiple worship gatherings each week including one at sunset. Check out this website for all of the locations and times.
6. Sunset Bay Café
I’m a marriage novice by all means but “they” say to never stop dating your spouse. My husband and I don’t have children but I can only imagine this concept gets harder as your family and schedules grow. With that said, I try not to take for granted the flexibility we have to spend time together alone. One morning of our vacation, we brunched at Sunset Bay Café in Sandestin and OH MY. Hashtag breakfast with a view! I’m a morning person anyway but the temperature was just right with a cool breeze coming off the water and a hot vanilla latte in my hand. Perfection. And deliciousness. Omelets and waffles topped with powdered sugar. Yes and AMEN!
7. Escape Zone 60
Okay, this is the perfect way to spend any night or rainy day in Destin. Escape Zone 60. You’re locked in a room with your family (or friends) where you must think outside the box and solve puzzles to escape before your time is up, in 60 minutes. We did the Pirate Ship Escape Room in Miramar Beach and it was just too cute. We were told the owners make all the props and puzzles by hand and I couldn't get over the creativity and cleverness. Not to mention challenging. We all had a blast, laughed our faces off, ALMOST escaped, and to top it off, no one needed counseling afterwards. Oh, and you can’t leave without indulging in some pirate photo shoot shenanigans.
8. Pizza by the Sea
If you’re like me, you have your go-to pizza places that put all other pizzas in the universe to shame (I’m looking at you, DeSano, Jet’s and Marco’s). In Destin, Pizza by the Sea at Miramar Beach is KING. We indulged in a family pizza night with ALL THE THINGS: Pepperoni Rolls, Twisted Breadsticks, Queen Margherita Pizza, Kickin’ Chicken Pizza, and the classics, Pepperoni and Supreme. Man, what a FEAST. Another reason to love Pizza by the Sea? The hearts behind the company. These guys give back in SO many ways – just check out their website. Easy to see why they’re voted Best Pizza on 30A. And, hey, a family pizza night also means more time at the beach.
Can you tell we're REALLLLLLY excited about this pizza? Do you know how hard it is to take a photo BEFORE you get to eat!?
9. The Gulf at Okaloosa Island
What is this place? The cutest restaurant on the water ever? It’s casual, delicious and beautiful so it checks all the boxes for my kind of place. Really good burgers and vibes can be found here. Oh, and their WATER. Yes, their water! My Mom still talks about it. Real fruit-infused water that’s so tasty and refreshing, my Mom has recreated this concept at home with a new glass pitcher on her counter where there’s always fresh fruit water ready for the drinkin’. Technically, The Gulf is barely outside of Destin, on Okaloosa Island, but worth the short drive over. We just happened to stop here after our fun morning at Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone and boy are we glad we found it! Amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico while chowing down on delicious food that’s fresh and farm-to-table? Yes please!. Burgers are epic and I even learned a new way to eat them thanks to my niece.
10. Destin Beaches
Ahhhhh. The Emerald Coast. Sugary soft, white sand. Clear turquoise waters. Breathtaking sunsets. Sounds of quietness. Sounds of laughter. This is the place where I feel and see God the most. This is the place where sweet family memories are made and written on my heart. The place of togetherness. And this is the place we’ll keep returning to year after year, thankful for another chance to visit Destin.
Until next time..