Since our time was limited and we weren’t familiar with the terrain in snow, we decided to take a tour with Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris (JHWS) to increase our chances to see wildlife.
We’ve done a fair share of wildlife viewing over the years, which can always be hit or miss. On this trip, we saw moose, bison, bighorn sheep, bald eagles, and elk on our half-day safari. Either we were really lucky, or our tour guides know their wildlife (probably both).
JHWS is the only tour company that completely focuses on wildlife, although there are other companies that offer similar wildlife and other scenic tours in Jackson Hole. And because they have a network of guides and are spending time in the park every day, they are able to share info with each other and know the pattern of how the animals move. It’s amazing how they can spot animals from such long distances when they look like ambiguous dots to us.
In between looking for wildlife, our guide taught us a lot about the history of the area and its relationship to the animals. He knew the area intimately since he was a naturalist in Yellowstone National Park for many years too.
On top of that, the groups are small, they pick you up from your hotel, and provide snacks, binoculars, and spotting scopes.
Growing up in Atlanta, Destin was a favorite spot to visit with my girlfriends. In college, we would visit to relax on the beautiful beaches during the day then bar hop at night.
Although most people visit for the white sandy beaches, there are plenty of places to check out and activities to try if you don’t want to spend your vacation laying out in the sun.
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Last Updated: November 2, 2020
17 Unforgettable Things to Do in Destin Florida This Year
Water park lovers should head to Big Kahuna’s to check out its 40+ attractions. It’s a great spot for families, whether you prefer lounging in the lazy river or get your thrill on in the massive slides.
The park is typically open from mid-May to August, but check their site for updates.
Pro Tip: Bring some water shoes to help protect your feet, especially on hot days. These are our favorite.
4. Boat Tours
A great way to explore the area is through boat tours. There are many different options, like a speed boat tour, catamaran, or glass-bottom boats. You can even get out on the water in a jet ski or rent your own pontoon boat.
Two of the most popular tours are Sunset Cruises to enjoy the brilliant colors as the sun goes down, and the dolphin cruises where you get to see them playfully dance through the water.
If you had a time machine and could visit Destin in the past, the waters would be filled with pirates. But since that can’t be done yet, you can still get a taste of what a pirate’s life is like on the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise. There are interactive activities for kids, like mock sword fights, water cannon battles, singing, and dancing.
Pro Tip: Book early. This is a popular attraction and you can reserve your spot up to two weeks before your trip,
Crab Island is one of the most popular experiences in Destin. It’s not an actual island, but an underwater sandbar where boaters gather. You can take the Crab Island shuttle boat or rent your own boat to get there. Enjoy food and drinks from floating restaurants and food boats, and sometimes there’s even an inflatable obstacle course and live music.
Pro Tip: If you rent a boat, get a roomy one to give yourself plenty of space to spread out in the sun when you don’t want to be in the water.
Uncle Buck’s transports you under the sea to a uniquely fun themed bowling experience. With everything from sharks hanging from the ceiling and ball return machines that look like gators and sharks spitting the balls out of their mouths.
Henderson Beach is one of the best public beaches in the area. The sparkling water and white sands run for more than a mile. In addition to that, there’s a nature trail and playground. You’ll also be away from the crowded beaches that are right next to the hotels and resorts.
Pro Tip: There are some restaurants close by, but it’s a great spot to pack food and have a picnic on the beach.
This is a beautiful beach just outside of town perfect for swimming, fishing, and picnicking. It’s free to park and use and there’s a playground for the little ones. If the sun gets to be too much, there are covered picnic areas you can use.
Pro Tip: In case you don’t have your own beach gear, you can rent chairs and large umbrellas at a reasonable cost.
Destin has a rich history of fishing, and this museum gives you more insight into the history of commercial and recreational fishing. Check out fishing equipment, photos, and stories from the past. We’re typically not museum people, so we opted out of this, but if you’re into fishing, I’m sure this will be fascinating for you.
Pro Tip: Be sure to catch some of the gear that once belonged to Ernest Hemingway.
Destin is home to some beautiful golf courses. Just within Destin, you’ll find four scenic championship golf courses and another four in the region.
If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful courses, check out Kelly Plantation Golf Club. It’s right along the water and filled with endless views. Other courses worth checking out are Garden of Destin and Golf Garden.
9300 Baytowne Wharf Blvd, Miramar Beach, FL 32550, map
The Village of Baytowne Wharf is a great place to check out boutique shops and cute restaurants. It’s also a great area to take photos with all the cute buildings right on the lagoon.
Pro Tip: There are regular festivals and special events in the area, so be sure to check their calendar.
17. Water Sports
Jacob isn’t much of a beach lounger, but if there are water sports to try, he’s much happier. Destin has a wide range of options like many beach destinations, including parasailing, jet skis, sailing, flyboarding, paddleboarding, kayaking, banana boat rides, snorkeling, and more.
MAP OF BEST THINGS TO DO IN DESTIN FLORIDA
MORE THINGS TO DO IN DESTIN FL
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ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR VISITING DESTIN
Best Time to Visit Destin: April and May when the water is warm but you won’t have the summer crowds and peak travel prices.
Getting to Destin: You can fly into Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS), Pensacola International Airport, or extend your trip and drive from Atlanta, New Orleans, or Houston. It’s an especially popular driving destination from Texas and Georgia, and we used to drive do the drive often from Atlanta for the weekend.
Traffic can be a nightmare during the summer. Since the roads are small and so many people come, it can take a long time to get anywhere.
Getting Around: The best way to get around is by car, but renting a bike is a great option too if you just want to get around to local spots without having to worry about traffic.
If you want to avoid traffic but need groceries, consider doing grocery delivery.
A lot of beaches have chair and umbrella services where you can rent gear rather than bringing them with you.
My Town 2 Go is the local version of Uber Eats/Eat24.
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Can you think of any other amazing things to do in Destin? What are your go-to things to do at beach destinations?
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Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.