Photo Credit: Rene Rivers

Destin, Florida has come quite a long ways from its earliest days as a sleepy fishing village, but there’s no question that its ties to the sea are stronger than ever. Without its prime location on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Destin would undoubtedly have faded away into obscurity. However, its ultra-white beaches – whose sands are so clean they actually squeak – and its emerald waters have made Destin one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Florida panhandle. Mother Nature broke the mold when she designed this part of the United States, and visitors to Destin tend to return again and again thanks to the region’s laid back charms and bountiful scenery. Whatever brings you there, you’re bound to be utterly charmed by “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.”

Sightseeing and Attractions: Breckenridge’s Best Kept Secrets

The Florida panhandle presents a wide array of attractions and things for visitors to enjoy – and Destin is in the center of it all. If you’re lucky enough to be able to spend some time in or near Destin, be sure to include at least a few of the following sights during your explorations:

Jolee Island Nature Park

There are many nature reserves and similar spots in and around the Destin area. One of the more scenic ones is the Jolee Island Nature Park. A large network of nature trails allows you to explore the area at your own leisure; by doing so, you can get a better feel for the natural flora and fauna of the region. Many great amenities can be found here, too, including a playground.

Henderson Beach State Park

While Destin is certainly not lacking in the area of beaches, finding a quiet and more secluded one can be a bit of an issue. To cut right to the chase and visit a less busy beach, hightail to Henderson Beach State Park. This park offers some of the very best beach access in the area, and entrance fees are low.

Destin History & Fishing Museum

Fishing is what originally put the town of Destin on the map, and you can learn more about how it shaped the history and culture of the area by stopping in at the Destin History & Fishing Museum. A pleasant assortment of artifacts are on display here, and the exhibits help tell the story of Destin in an entertaining and captivating way.

Indian Temple Mound And Museum

Another critical component of the history of Destin revolves around the original inhabitants of the area. Native Americans once called this part of the Florida panhandle home, and you can learn more about those early inhabitants by visiting the Indian Temple Mound and Museum. Several key artifacts are available for your perusal, and it’s only a hop, skip and a jump away in Fort Walton Beach.

Best Kept Secrets For Families & Couples

Without a doubt, Destin is geared toward families. That being said, there are still plenty of prime attractions for couples to take advantage of, as well. If you’re traveling as a family – or as a couple – consider one of these places:

The Village Of Baytowne Wharf

With its compact nature and charming downtown feel, the village of Baytowne is a great place to while away a few hours during an afternoon or evening in the Destin area. Its town square is picturesque and pleasant, and its wharf and pier are wonderful for simply strolling along, looking at the passersby. With ice cream shops and restaurants in abundance, it’s easy to see why so many families flock here.

Regatta Bay Golf & Country Club

Couples who like hitting the links should plan on visiting the Regatta Bay Golf & Country Club. Located in and around a wetlands, it has plenty of challenging aspects – and plenty of simpler courses, too.

Air Armament Museum

The U.S. military has long had a prominent presence in the Florida panhandle. When in Destin, swing over to nearby Eglin Air Force Base and its Air Armament Museum. The kids will get a kick out of the many planes and other things that are on display; this is an exceptionally good place to visit on a rare rainy day.

Eating - Sample the Local Cuisine

The most ubiquitous kind of food in the Florida panhandle is seafood. Considering Destin’s proud fishing history, it only makes sense. When visiting this small town, you should make a point of noshing on the fresh seafood that is so easy to find all over the place. Once you’ve tucked into fresh oysters or clams, you’ll see why Destin’s fishing industry took off so quickly. Beyond seafood, Destin offers the usual array of dining establishments that one can expect to find in a resort town.

When To Go & How to Get There

If you have to arrive by plane, the nearest cities to Destin to do so are Mobile or Tallahassee – neither of which is particularly close to this seaside resort. In either case, you’re going to have drive in for a while. Interstate 10 is the standard route for getting into Destin by car, so plan on traveling along it at some point.

Unlike more southern portions of Florida, Destin can get downright chilly in the winter. Therefore, if you want to spend as much time outside as possible you should try to visit in late May, early June or early September. July and August can be very humid and muggy, so you may be less comfortable visiting then.