Fun Things to Do in Destin, Florida, with Children! Destin, Florida, is often associated with partying during spring break, but it is also a fantastic destination for families with kids. The region is known as the “Emerald Coast” due to its 100-mile stretch of purified and crystal-clear beaches that attract families.
However, the area has more to offer beyond the sand. Families can explore interactive museums, amusement parks, and animal encounters and dine at excellent restaurants, making it an ideal Florida vacation spot for families.
There are plenty of activities to keep kids entertained in and around Destin, Florida. Here are the best things to do in Destin, Florida, along with recommendations for great Destin restaurants, resorts, hotels, and vacation rentals.
Go to the Beach:
If you travel along Highway 30-A in Florida, you will be treated to breathtaking coastline views that can easily rival the beauty of Highway 1 in California. However, it is important to note that not all beaches are open to the public.
Therefore, it is essential to choose your destination wisely, such as Miramar Beach in Destin and Ed Walline Beach in Santa Rosa Beach, for their stunning white sands. While both offer free parking, it is limited, so arriving early is best.
For those looking for a more structured experience, Henderson Beach State Park is an excellent choice, featuring a playground, nature trail, and Gulf water access. Though parking is plentiful, there is a fee of $6.
Snorkel in Destin’s Artificial Reefs:
The greater Destin area boasts over 100 manufactured reefs, making it a prime destination for snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts. Among these reefs, the Destin landscape, adjacent to the HarborWalk Village shopping center, stands out as the most renowned spot.
According to tourists, they occasionally encounter various marine creatures, such as sea turtles, crabs, and even manatees. It is worth noting that visibility is optimal during high tide.
Ride on a Pirate Ship:
Welcome! If you’re looking for a fun-filled experience for your children, the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise is perfect. This 100-foot vessel offers a variety of exciting entertainment options, including pirate stories, face painting, treasure hunts, and water-gun battles.
Each cruise lasts approximately one hour and 45 minutes. Destin offers a range of dolphin-watching excursions and glass-bottom boat tours for those who prefer sea life over pirates.
Big Kahuna’s Water Park:
Big Kahuna’s is a water park that features a Tiki theme. The park offers a variety of 40 different rides, slides, and pools, catering to individuals of all ages. One of the popular attractions among older children is the Kowabunga Racer, a four-lane drag strip that descends a five-story slope.
For younger children, the Buccaneer Cove is a large splash pad designed with a pirate theme. Additional attractions in the park include a lazy river, a wave pool, and a mini-golf course.
The Village of Baytowne Wharf:
Among children, the beloved activity among things to do in Destin, Florida, is visiting the Village at Baytowne Wharf. This open-air shopping center offers an array of entertainment options for both kids and adults. The Baytowne Adventure Zone features a challenging ropes course that spans three stories and culminates in a plank-walking and bell-ringing challenge at the pinnacle.
Kids are also thrilled by the Euro Bungy trampolines and the Baytowne zip line, which crosses a 300-foot-wide lagoon in the mall’s center. For those who love to shop, Dolls & Friends is a popular store specializing in clothing and accessories for dolls. It is advisable to check the Baytowne Wharf calendar before visiting, as the village regularly hosts various enjoyable events such as concerts, Mardi Gras parades, magic shows, and a seasonal ice skating rink.
The Track, an amusement park located in Destin, offers huge attractions suitable for children of all ages, allowing families to spend several hours there. Thrill-seeking teenagers and pre-teens can experience Hurricane 360, a spinning and swinging ride that towers 40 feet above ground level.
The younger ones can enjoy gentler rides, such as a carousel, flying airplanes, and a miniature Ferris wheel. Additionally, The Track offers bumper cars, blaster boats, an extensive arcade, and a mini-golf course to entertain everyone.
Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone:
Wild Willy’s is an amusement park with a dinosaur theme and offers various attractions such as a treetop ropes course, a massive arcade, laser tag, and three go-kart race tracks. However, the most noteworthy feature of the park is its 18-hole mini-golf course called “T-Rex Island.”
This course is designed with animatronic dinosaurs that can move and roar, providing a thrilling experience while playing mini-golf.
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park:
Fort Walton Beach has a half-outdoor aquarium that provides abundant opportunities for viewing wildlife, such as sea turtles, alligators, and otters. Children can closely interact with sea urchins and starfish in the Gulfarium touch tank.
The dolphin and sea lion shows, which are free of charge, are also a major attraction, although sitting in the front may result in getting wet. The marine park offers several animal encounters for an additional fee, including snorkeling with stingrays and feeding penguins.
Gator Beach at Fudpucker’s:
Florida’s fascination with alligators is well-known. Visitors can learn more about these fearsome reptiles at Gator Beach, an animal park devoted entirely to alligators adjacent to the Fudpucker’s Beachside Bar and Grill.
The park offers daily shows featuring alligators, the opportunity to feed them, and the chance to have your photo taken while holding a baby gator. Additionally, Fudpucker’s is a family-friendly restaurant that boasts an on-site playground and an arcade. Admission to Gator Beach is free, but you must pay for additional activities.