This Destination Hit List is a very personal one. I grew up in Alabama but spent almost every weekend in the summer in Destin until we moved there when I was in high school. Destin is one of the most beautiful beaches in North America, and not because I’m biased. It might be the only beach in the USA that boasts soft, sugar-like, white sand beaches and crystal clear, emerald green waters.
Right under the bridge you’ll see hundreds of boats anchored out with people walking and floating around, sipping on something cold, and having the best day ever. On a nice day, which is often, you can see the sandy bottom through the Caribbean-like water, and feel the nibble of tiny fish on your feet. There are floating restaurants, bars, and water playgrounds. You can't miss it.
Get the stuffed shrimp basket and eat it sitting on their dock overlooking Crab Island. My favorite summertime lunch spot.
THE DESTIN COMMONS
Everyone’s favorite shopping and movie center recently underwent a huge expansion adding over 20 new stores, restaurants, cafes, and a Bass Pro bowling alley. Check it out.
THE EMERALD GRANDE
For the best views in town, including Crab Island, you’ll want to stay here. On the ground level is the Harborwalk, which has many restaurants, bars, shopping, watersports rentals, and other entertainment for families. It’s the best spot stay for action by the harbor.
It's home to the Destin Fishing Fleet, the largest charter fishing fleet in the country.
You can’t say you’ve had the real Destin experience until you’ve tried the Donut Hole. They’ve been open since 1978, and their donuts will not let you down.
SWIM TREND ALERT:
The swimsuit of this season is a one piece that's updated in a non classic way.
This new luxury resort is further from downtown Destin and the harbor, but it’s right in the middle of everything else Destin has to offer. It’s positioned perfectly on Henderson Beach State Park, so it feels like a secluded resort. It also has the best spa in town.
Skip the touristy dolphin cruise, and opt for a more personal experience: jet ski rentals. Ride out right past the jetties and you’ll be sure to see and possibly play with a school of dolphins. Just make sure you respect the no wake zones.