Destin, Florida, fondly known as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway. Located in the heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast, Destin boasts miles of sugar-white sand beaches, serene emerald-green waters, and a wealth of activities and attractions to satisfy even the most discerning traveler. Read on for a comprehensive weekend itinerary that will help you make the most of your visit to Destin, Florida.
Upon your arrival in the charming city of Destin, it will be time to settle into your chosen accommodation provided by RealJoy. Prepare to be enraptured by the sun-kissed landscapes and vibrant atmosphere that are distinct to this Florida gem.
At RealJoy, we understand that a great vacation starts with great accommodations. We take pride in providing a variety of high-quality vacation rentals catering to a range of preferences and budgets. Whether you long for luxury or seek a cozy, comfortable retreat, we’ve got you covered.
For those of you seeking a home-away-from-home atmosphere, we offer a range of cozy vacation rentals. Ranging from intimate beachfront cottages to grand seaside houses, we provide guests with the comfort of a home, paired with the convenience and facilities of a high-end hotel. This ensures a relaxing, tailor-made stay that offers the freedom to set your vacation rhythm.
No visit to the charming coastal city of Destin would do justice without immersing yourself in the inviting beach culture that is central to this Floridian gem’s allure. As you take a moment to unwind and settle into your weekend retreat mode, make sandy shores your first destination.
Destin is renowned for its world-class beaches, each glistening with pristine, sugar-white sand and complemented by the calming, emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Every beach visit in Destin turns into a unique experience, and it’s the ideal backdrop for a memorable weekend getaway.
A not-to-be-missed location is Henderson Beach State Park. This sprawling nature preserve offers more just than a beautiful coastline. With over a mile of sandy white beachfront, dune ecosystems hosting diverse local flora and fauna, nature trails, and picnic pavilions, your beach time transcends traditional sunbathing. It’s also a great place for a quick run or a relaxed bike ride if you’d like to infuse some outdoor workout into your vacation time.
Crystal Sands Beach, another one of Destin’s crowning attractions, invites guests to soak in its vibrant coastal ambiance. A patchwork of vibrant beach umbrellas, laughter-filled beach volleyball games, and visitors leisurely ambling along the shoreline paint a lively picture of beach life. Crystal Sands Beach’s quaint charm is perfect for those seeking an animated yet serene beach experience.
Further down, Miramar Beach offers a delightful fusion of old-time beach comfort and modern amenities. The palm-lined beach boulevards leading to upscale resorts and Scenic Gulf Drive’s breathtaking waterfronts create a picture-perfect setting. As you relax on the beach, don’t be surprised if you spot a pod of dolphins gracefully breaching the surf—Miramar is known for such enchanting sights!
After a rejuvenating day spent at the beach, enjoy a thrilling culinary journey at Dewey Destin’s Seafood Restaurant, a beloved local institution renowned for its delightful fresh seafood offerings and enchanting beachside ambiance.
Consider starting with their Gumbo — a heart-warming, traditional soup or the hot Crab Dip, a splendid mix of tender crab meat incorporated into a velvety dip. If you’re in the mood for something with a hint of spice, try their Buffalo Fried Shrimp.
For the main course, you have a plethora of choices. If you fancy fried seafood, their fried baskets come served with French fries and hush puppies. Get swept away by their Gulf Shrimp Dinner or their signature Mates Platter — a satisfying trio of shrimp, mahi, and scallops.
If grilled seafood is more to your liking, their Grilled Mahi or Grilled Gulf Shrimp served with corn-on-the-cob and new potatoes would be perfect. For guests with a palatial seafood desire, their offerings from the steamer offer particularly tempting choices — the Royal Red Shrimp is a fan favorite.
Their menu also caters to beer and wine enthusiasts. You can choose from a great range of local and international beers or a glass of wine from their simple but charming selection — perfect for toasting your first dinner in Destin!
Dewey Destin’s Seafood Restaurant will ensure your dining experience ends on a sweet note with its homemade desserts. The Key Lime Pie is a zesty and refreshing finale, or consider the decadent Butterfinger Pie for classic indulgence.
Dining at Dewey Destin’s Seafood Restaurant is more than just a meal — it’s an experience, one perfectly capturing the spirit of Destin. The combination of fresh, flavorful seafood, fantastic ocean views, and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere make it an absolute must-visit during your stay.
Commence your day in Destin with a breakfast experience like no other at the Another Broken Egg Cafe. This breakfast hotspot is known for its southern-inspired culinary innovation and offers a wide array of delectable breakfast dishes to tantalize your taste buds.
Another Broken Egg Cafe is more than your usual breakfast venue. It is a destination for those seeking to enjoy a breakfast experience that pairs fresh, high-quality ingredients with expert preparation. Here, you’re not just consuming a meal, you’re immersing into a nourishing journey of craveable flavors and distinct textures.
The Cafe’s menu exhibits an enticing variety of breakfast options designed to cater to different tastes. Opt for traditional breakfast items like fluffy, golden-brown pancakes or French toast, or challenge your palate with their signature scramblers, boasting a medley of fresh vegetables, premium meats, and savory cheeses.
The Cafe’s “Seasonal Selections” add a unique twist to your breakfast experience, with innovative dishes and beverages inspired by the flavors of the season. The creative flair is noticeable in options like the ‘Smores Waffle’ or the warming ‘Smores Cold Brew’. These limited-time offerings encapsulate the warmth of the season, delivering a comforting yet explosive taste in every bite (or sip).
Also, make sure to check out the Cafe’s brunch cocktails including mimosas, creative mocktails, and a full bar selection that nicely complements your morning meal, taking your breakfast experience a few notches higher.
Another Broken Egg Cafe ensures even the youngest diners enjoy their breakfast with a dedicated Kids Menu, which includes delightful offerings designed to please the little ones’ palates.
Make your way towards the bustling harbor, where the Sea Blaster Dolphin Cruise anchors. Representing one of the top attractions on the Destin Harbor Boardwalk, Sea Blaster is known for its well-regulated and entertaining tours that provide not just the thrill of dolphin spotting but also offer notable insights about the area. Upon stepping on board, you’ll be greeted by the crew’s warm and friendly demeanors, evidence of their commitment to making your voyage an unforgettable experience.
From the moment the cruise begins to move away from the lively harbor, enjoy an enlightening, narrated tour of the area. Your guide’s lively commentary will enhance your understanding of the region’s unique geography, rich marine biodiversity, and historical significance. You’ll sail past the East Pass and into the emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, all while reveling in the picturesque views of Destin’s beautiful coastline.
Amongst the breathtaking views and soothing sea breezes, the highlight of your cruise remains the playful dolphins. As you cruise along the turquoise sea, keep a keen eye out for pods of dolphins elegantly emerging from the water in rhythmic movements. When they decide to grace us with their presence, it’s a sight to behold! Their whimsical leaps and swirls against the backdrop of the sunlit azure waters deliver a spectacle of nature’s artistry in action.
HarborWalk Village is the heart and soul of Destin’s energetic harbor life, resonating with a unique blend of fun and relaxation. Coming straight off the dolphin cruise, you’ll instantly feel infused with the Village’s vibrant energy. The surrounding sun-kissed buildings create an inviting aura, the sound of live music playing somewhere in the background sets your foot tapping, and the scent of delicious food wafting from nearby eateries beckons you to partake in a culinary adventure.
Given HarborWalk Village’s bountiful selection of waterfront eateries, finding a place to dig into a casual lunch is a breeze. The area is peppered with numerous harbor-side restaurants, each promising remarkable seafood and mesmerizing harbor views.
Consider taking a seat at Harry T’s Lighthouse, one of the Village’s distinguished establishments. This restaurant, which boasts a rich and intriguing history, is renowned for its spectacular views of the harbor and a menu brimming with fresh, flavorful seafood selections. Harry T’s outdoor dining experience allows you to soak up the warm Florida sun while enjoying succulent dishes. Whether you get the quintessential Grouper Sandwich or indulgent Crab Cakes, your taste buds are in for a delightful treat.
Alternatively, you might find AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar equally appealing. A Destin institution since the mid-1980s, AJ’s provides not just excellent seafood, but also an immersive locale boasting harbor views that just won’t quit. This lively hotspot, known for its fresh oysters and delectable Seafood Steamers, renders visitors speechless with its abundant marine tastes. As you eagerly dig into scrumptious seafood, you can watch the boats docking at the harbor and feel the energizing sea breeze weave through your hair.
If you’re the type who prefers to get the adrenaline flowing, why not embark on a thrilling aquatic ride by choosing to rent a jet ski in Destin? Several vendors offer this service, and once you are geared up, you’ll have a chance to zip across the emerald-green waters at your own pace. Feel the salt spray on your face and the wind in your hair as you navigate the expansive coastline on a high-speed watercraft. This exhilarating venture brings the beauty of the sun-soaked Destin waters right under your fingertips, making you feel right at the heart of the action.
Destin, with its clear waters and mesmerizing coastal views, is best experienced on a jet ski, allowing you to explore hidden beaches, navigate through Destin’s diverse waterways, spot playful dolphins, and even anchor for a quick snorkel in seclusion. It’s a personal, intimate journey that is both exhilarating and tranquil, fostering a sense of oneness with the water ecosystem and affording an unusual perspective on the stunning landscape.
For a bird’s eye view of the spectacular panorama of Destin, indulge in an unforgettable parasailing adventure with “Just Chute Me! Parasail“. Experience the excitement of gently lifting off the deck and gradually ascending into the sky, feeling the rush of wind and the thrill of defying gravity. As you’re towed behind a high-speed boat, take in the enchanting panoramic vistas of Destin and its surrounding areas, making you feel as if you’re literally on top of the world. Everything—from the Emerald Coast’s lush landscapes to the glittery cityscape—looks all the more splendid from such a vantage point.
If you prefer more land-based explorations and have an appreciation for marine life, the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is the place to be. More than just an exhibit, it’s an immersive marine adventure where you can watch captivating animal shows hosted by friendly and knowledgeable guides. From watching dolphins flip high into the air to sea lions clapping to their trainers’ commands, you’ll be delighted at every turn.
The Gulfarium goes a step further, offering unique interactive animal encounters that bring visitors up close and personal with aquatic creatures, including dolphins, sea lions, and stingrays. Whether you’re marveling at the intelligence of a dolphin, giggling at a sea lion’s antics, or tentatively feeding stingrays under the watchful eye of your guide, you’ll come away with an enriched understanding and appreciation of these diverse marine creatures.
As your day in Destin comes to a close, continue the excitement and fun by visiting Fudpuckers Beachside Bar & Grill, a popular family-friendly restaurant loaded with mouthwatering food, lively entertainment, and unique experiences that make it the perfect place to conclude an action-packed day.
At Fudpuckers, you won’t just be tasting delicious food, you’ll be fully immersed in a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience. With an enchanting atmosphere that includes a live alligator exhibit, a playground, colorful graffiti on the walls, and an interactive pirate-themed show, every moment spent at this establishment is filled with joy, laughter, and everlasting memories.
The Fudpuckers menu features a diverse array of dishes to satisfy any palette. Indulge in their famous “Fudpuckers Oral Delights” and try out their selection of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and seafood. Quench your thirst with one of their “World Famous Whistle Wetters”— inventive cocktails that expertly combine flavor and refreshment. Fudpuckers also offers an “Award Winning Kids Menu,” ensuring that every family member finds something to savor.
While dining, enjoy Fudpucker’s exciting entertainment options. The lively performances by the Fudpucker’s crew will mesmerize you with their energy and enthusiasm. If the interactive pirate-themed show is up your alley, partake in the treasure hunt that will have you navigating the restaurant grounds, solving riddles, and hunting for clues. This thrilling adventure isn’t just a fantastic way to unwind after dinner, but also an opportunity to further bond with your family and friends.
Additionally, Fudpuckers is home to the unique Gator Beach exhibit, where you can witness live alligators up close, learn fascinating facts about these creatures, and even feed and take photographs with them. This attraction provides both entertainment and education—making your visit to Fudpuckers even more memorable.
The Pancakery, a beloved local eatery that specializes in creating the perfect morning meal. With a warm, welcoming ambiance and a diverse menu that offers something for everyone, The Pancakery is a breakfast oasis that you can’t afford to miss.
The menu bursts with sumptuous breakfast dishes, each designed to add a touch of delicious delight to your morning. The Pancakery does not just serve food, it crafts a flavor-rich experience that leaves your taste buds wanting more.
Their gourmet pancakes are the talk of the town, made to order with a batter of your choice and sprinkled with powdered sugar to achieve a perfect sweet balance. The variety of pancakes is staggering, including the chocolate-filled ‘Chocolatier’, the fruit-packed ‘Destinite’, and the bacon-infused ‘Bacon Lover’ — each promising a unique taste sensation.
If you’re an omelette aficionado, then The Pancakery’s lavish selection will be your dream come true. Options range from the seafood extravaganza of the ‘Crab Island Omelette’ to the vegetarian delight of the ‘Veggie Omelette’. You can even build your own omelette, choosing from a myriad of fresh veggies, flavorful proteins, and a selection of cheese.
The Pancakery’s offerings are not limited to traditional breakfast plates; it also showcases an impressive variety of crepes, waffles, and french toast options. Whether you opt for the ‘Bananas Foster’—a warm treat adorned with grilled banana slices and pecans—or the ‘Healthy Delight’ pancakes filled with fresh berries, every pick is bound to be a culinary hit.
They also cater to kids, with a special menu featuring M&M Pancakes, Kids French Toast, and of course, the iconic Happy Face Pancake, complete with chocolate chip and fruit decorations. It’s a spectacle that brings a smile to every young diner’s face and ensures that the little ones are as much in love with breakfast as the adults.
Complete your breakfast with their variety of fresh drinks. From invigorating smoothies and juices to hot beverages, The Pancakery ensures you have the perfect refreshment to accompany your meal.
With over 90 stores sprawling through the lush setting, Destin Commons boasts a diverse mix of national, regional, and local retail brands. From the globally-recognized fast-fashion powerhouse H&M to the leading outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops, the unparalleled range of options guarantees that you can shop till you drop. For beauty enthusiasts, Sephora’s extensive collection of cosmetics, skincare, and fragrances will have you lost in a world of makeup and beauty for hours.
But it’s not just the stores that make Destin Commons so special — it’s the whole shopping experience. The center reflects the casual elegance of Destin itself: wide, tree-lined streets invite leisurely strolling, while uniquely designed buildings house the individual shops, urging you to discover the treasures inside. This open-air shopping center also provides comfortable seating areas, fountains, and aesthetically pleasing surroundings, which enhance your shopping experience.
Adding to the shopping experience, Destin Commons also houses a range of eateries, offering everything from quick bites to elegant dining. Whether you are in the mood for sushi, pizza, or fine French patisserie, you are sure to find an option to whet your appetite. So after scoring some shopping deals, you can replenish your energy with some mouthwatering meals, all within the same complex.
Destin Commons isn’t merely a shopping center; it’s an inclusive entertainment hub. AMC Destin, a state-of-the-art 14-screen movie theater, is ready to screen the latest blockbuster just for you. The shopping center has also invested in child-friendly attractions, including an interactive play fountain and a nautical-themed playground. For the younger family members, these facilities are a welcome break from shopping, and they allow parents the chance to unwind while the kids have a blast.
Wrap up your visit to Destin by immersing yourself in the ultimate beach experience. Dedicate these precious last hours to fully enjoying the spectacular coastline and the abundant activities that it offers. Destin’s beaches aren’t just about their scenic beauty – they provide the perfect setting for a myriad of water sports, creating a beachside playground for residents and tourists alike.
Start by finding a prime spot on the sugar-white sands. Whether it’s under the shade of a beach umbrella or directly under the sun, position yourself in the perfect location that maximizes your ocean views. Here, the simple act of lounging becomes an enjoyable activity. Watch the rhythmic waves crash onto the shore, feel the gentle sea breeze on your face, and revel in the warm Florida sun.
Consider walking along the water’s edge, letting the gentle waves lap over your bare feet. It’s an excellent opportunity to find seashells, unique souvenirs of your Destin trip, and photograph the stunning backdrop of emerald waters meeting the clear skies. You may even witness the thrilling sight of playful dolphins surfacing in the distance.
Turn your leisurely beach day into an exciting adventure by engaging in the various water sports Destin has to offer. Whether you’re a seasoned water sports enthusiast or a novice eager to try something new, there’s something for every skill level.
The calm, clear waters of the Emerald Coast are the perfect place to take up paddleboarding. Stand-up paddleboarding offers an exciting and relaxing way to explore the shoreline. Alternatively, opt for a kayak and paddle your way around, experiencing the ocean from a more intimate perspective. Discover hidden coves, remote beaches, and even interact with marine life. If you’re quiet and respectful, you may paddle with pods of dolphins or float over playful schools of fish!
For those eager to explore the marine life below the surface, snorkeling is a must on your Destin trip. With Destin being home to the world’s largest artificial reef, you will find colorful reefs teeming with vibrant fish, crabs, and various marine specimens. A snorkeling trip can quickly turn into an unforgettable underwater adventure.
Round off your beach time by merely swimming in the blue waters or body surfing on the gentle waves. Splashing in the water isn’t just refreshing — it’s an embodiment of the beach vacation spirit.
For your final dinner in Destin, treat yourself to an unforgettable fine dining experience at The Ocean Club, an upscale seafood and steakhouse that celebrates the very best in coastal cuisine. With its spectacular waterfront location, The Ocean Club provides the perfect setting to culminate your Destin adventure in style. The restaurant’s menu not only showcases the finest seafood and premium cuts of meat, but also reflects the culinary artistry that has made The Ocean Club a popular dining destination among locals and tourists alike.
Begin your dining experience with an array of delectable appetizers, such as the Fried Asparagus topped with jumbo lump blue crab and house sauces, or the Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels Provencale in white wine, garlic, tomatoes, herbs, and virgin olive oil. The Ocean Club offers an impressive selection that ensures your meal starts with a memorable taste.
As you move on to the main course, you’ll be spoiled for choice with innovative seafood entrees like Grouper Ocean Club, sauteed or grilled and topped with shrimp and crabmeat, served with house vegetables. If you prefer a meatier option, the Veal Picatta with medallions of veal sauteed in white wine, lemon butter capers, and pasta alfredo is an excellent pick. The restaurant’s Catch of the Day, sauteed in a light lemon butter sauce and served with house vegetables, highlights local, fresh flavors from the sea that are hard to resist.
For a unique twist on a classic dish, indulge in the Lobster and Shrimp Pomodoro Linguine, featuring Maine lobster and shrimp cooked in olive oil with garlic, basil, and fresh tomatoes. The Ocean Club also offers delectable fried dishes like their famous Fried Shrimp, served with french fries, or the tempting Seafood Platter with fish, shrimp, and scallops.
While The Ocean Club specializes in seafood, it also caters to steak lovers with selections like Filet Mignon, Ribeye, and Tournedos of Beef – slices of tenderloin served with sautéed shrimp and crabmeat, accompanied by house vegetables and potatoes.
Don’t forget to complement your meal with a bowl of their renowned New Orleans River Road Seafood Gumbo or a crisp Caesar Salad with hearts of Romaine, croutons, and shaved Reggiano.
Choosing to stay with RealJoy is not merely about booking accommodation; it’s about investing in an authentic, carefree, and enjoyable vacation experience. RealJoy understands that vacations are all about the ‘real joy’ moments — the laughter-filled family dinner, the comforting warmth of a well-furnished room after a long day at the beach, and the peace of a hassle-free accommodation experience.
RealJoy properties’ wide range of options enables you to find a place that truly feels like a home away from home. Whether you’re after a cozy beachfront property, a luxury resort-style accommodation, or a pet-friendly property that accommodates the entire family, you’ll find it with us. Simultaneously, the properties’ prime locations ensure that the excitement of Destin — its enticing beaches, delightful shopping areas, and top-rated dining options — is always within your reach.
In addition to providing superior accommodations, RealJoy goes above and beyond in its services, making your stay as comfortable, secure, and enjoyable as possible. 24/7 customer support, high standards of cleanliness, and a straightforward booking process are reflections of this commitment.
Essentially, RealJoy serves as the perfect companion for your weekend getaway in Destin, turning your vacation dreams into reality. It’s not just about where you stay; it’s about the unforgettable memories you create during your stay — the ‘real joy’ moments. And RealJoy is dedicated to making your vacation filled with many such moments.