15 Fun Family-Friendly Things to Do in Destin, Florida with Kids
Destin, Florida is an undiscovered gem on Florida’s Emerald Coast, with its sugar-white sand beaches, crystal-clear Gulf of Mexico waters, and abundance of fun activities for the whole family.
Here’s a list of exciting things to do in Destin, Florida, with kids, from the tried-and-true (fishing and sandcastle-building) to the outlandish (go-karting, water parks, flyboarding).
- Henderson Beach
While all of Destin’s beaches are spectacular, the 1.5-mile-long Henderson Beach is particularly noteworthy due to its stunning white sand, 30-foot dunes, silky waters, and opportunities to see dolphins, sea turtles, and other wildlife.
Walking along Henderson Beach is an excellent way to get acquainted with the local wildlife and flora.
Avoid the tourist traps and make your home in the large campground, a protected natural area.
It’s convenient for families to walk a short distance from the campground to the beach, thanks to the boardwalk that runs between the two.
- Destin Harbor Boardwalk
Destin Harbor Boardwalk is a popular place for visitors to the area, and it should be on your list of things to do in Destin, Florida, with the kids.
Youngsters will delight in the boardwalk’s vibrant atmosphere, which features numerous eateries, ice cream shops, and charter boats bringing in the day’s catch.
This is a fantastic place to meet new people or simply people-watch because people from all walks of life frequent this establishment.
If that’s not enough excitement, you can also go parasailing, jet skiing, on a day cruise, or even kayaking if you want to get out on the water.
- Big Kahuna’s
Once your children tire of the beach (and let’s be honest, it’s a feat in itself if any location can keep their interest for more than a day! , then a day at Big Kahuna’s Water Park is just what the doctor ordered.
There are more than 40 attractions available, including twisting waterslides, raft rides, surf simulators, a lazy river, and pipeline slides, in addition to a very entertaining mini-golf course.
The park has a dedicated area with a kiddie pool and slides for toddlers and preschoolers, so the whole family can have fun.
- Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier
Okaloosa Island, home to the world’s luckiest fishing community, is the best place to catch fish—or anything else.
Rentals of fishing poles, bait, and tackle are available at the fishing pier, and children under the age of five can fish for free, making this one of the few free family activities in Destin.
Destin offers a wide variety of fishing options, including beach fishing, kayaking, and charter boat fishing, but Okaloosa is the best because it has great fishing at a low price.
- Sea Blaster Dolphin
If you’re taking kids on vacation, Sea Blaster Dolphin is a great place to combine entertainment and education.
Visit the Gulf of Mexico dolphins on one of the Sea Blaster tours.
There is the option of a 2-hour dolphin cruise or a 3-hour cruise/90-minute snorkeling excursion.
The cruise ships are like floating amusement parks for kids; they provide free drinks (but beware of the sugar high!), and kids can even take the ship’s wheel.
- Gator Beach at Fudpucker’s
Gator Beach at Fudpucker’s is great fun for families who like to get their adrenaline rush together.
Visit Gator Beach at Fudpucker’s for some free alligator shows and delicious food if you’re a family looking for some excitement and a taste for the exotic.
You know you want to take a risk right now.
Try your hand at gator feeding (with a bait pole, of course) or, better yet, order the restaurant’s signature dish: gator!
Just order shrimp and hushpuppies if you’re not feeling particularly daring.
It is widely agreed that this establishment is one of the best in the city for families, and even the most discerning diners are sure to find something to their liking on the menu.
- Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
If you’re visiting Destin with kids, check out the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. It may be smaller than some other adventure parks in town, but that doesn’t mean the fun is any less substantial!
Sea lion, dolphin, and seal encounters are available to keep the little ones entertained; the seals and dolphins also have their shows.
After you’ve had your fill of the animal feedings and touch pools, head to nearby Fort Walton Beach to bask in the warm rays of the Destin sun.
- The Track Family Recreation Center
The beach is beautiful, but spending every day there can get boring unless you have a group of committed beach bums in your family.
If you’re visiting Destin, Florida, with kids and are looking for something to do besides the beach, the Track Family Recreation Center is where you should go.
The center caters to kids with various adventure preferences by providing options like mini-golf, bungee jumping, go-karting, an arcade, and bumper boats.
Little ones can enjoy a separate area with kid-friendly rides like a carousel, mini train, and other mild attractions.
- Power Up Watersports
Power Up Watersports offers an exciting experience for visitors of all ages; it would take many visits to the park to try all the rides.
Flyboarding is the newest craze to sweep the watersports industry, and Power Up Watersports is one of the few places to try it in a safe and comfortable environment. Flyboarding boots are equipped with jetpacks and will send you soaring through the air.
Is the idea of flyboarding too terrifying for you?
Don’t worry; all the classics are here, too; enjoy the water in a more sedate (yet still thrilling) manner by renting kayaks, paddleboards, or aqua trikes.
- Destin Snorkel
Destin Snorkel is one of the top places to go snorkeling in Destin, Florida, and offers a wide variety of snorkeling tours and lessons.
Destin Snorkel’s 3-hour tour that includes shelling, snorkeling, and a dolphin-viewing stop is a big draw.
The tour makes two stops: the first is a crab and shellfish hunt, and the second is a snorkeling and fishing stop.
You can go out on the water in a single or tandem kayak that the tour boat provides and look for dolphins.
- Destin History and Fishing Museum
Visit the Destin History and Fishing Museum with the kids (and yourself) to learn about the city’s colorful past, thriving fishing industry, and the secret to Destin’s famously white sand.
The museum offers scavenger hunts for families and private tours for larger groups to make learning about history more interactive and enjoyable.
Mounted fish species, photographs of Destin’s early days as a fishing village on the Gulf coast, and fishing equipment fill the museum’s indoor galleries. At the same time, a park complex with historic boats and the town’s original post office occupies the museum’s outdoor spaces.
- Lucy Anne Buffett
This popular Destin eatery takes its name from Jimmy Buffett’s sister Lucy Anne Buffett. Lucy Anne’s restaurant, the “Lucy Anne Buffett,” is a fun time for people of all ages because of Lucy Anne’s charming personality.
Seafood prepared in a classic southern style is served at this restaurant, which also boasts a picturesque waterfront and live music.
Additionally, we offer a special children’s menu.
Don’t leave without sampling the “Brownie in Paradise”; if there is such a thing as death by dessert, this is it.
- Banana Boat with Mobile Sports
Banana Boat rides in Destin, offered by Mobile Sports, are a must for families with children aged five and up. These bright yellow boats are sure to be a hit with both your kids and the other people who come to the area to swim and boat.
You’ll have a blast zipping around Destin Harbour in a speedboat 21 feet long before venturing into the open sea.
Take the speed boat for the rest of the tour once the ride is over.
Although the ride lasts an hour and is fun, it will cost you between $45 and $55 per person.
- Maximum Magic Show
Who doesn’t enjoy a good magic show when they are kids (or sometimes adults)?
Any child, no matter their age, can benefit from seeing a live magic show, and the Maximum Magic Show is perfect for the family.
This one-of-a-kind show features 90 minutes of nonstop action, including mind-bending illusions, audience participation (including mindreading), and special effects.
After a day of sightseeing, cap off the evening with a trip to the Maximum Magic Show and leave on a note of wonder!
Parasailing is a great time, but it’s even better in Destin because the water is so clear, and you can see marine life like the bottlenose dolphin pods that live there and the stingrays that glide through the deeper parts of the bay.
Many companies offer parasailing tours, most of which cost around $40.
Guests can soar to heights of up to 500 feet, enjoy the view, and descend back to earth.
You can’t go wrong with Captain Jack’s Parasail, as he was one of the first parasail operators in Destin, having opened shop in 1996.