Florida is romantic, adventurous, and luxurious. Mostly though, it’s a heck of a fun time for families with young children. The #1 destination in Florida for families along the Emerald Coast is Destin. With no shortage of kid-friendly Destin activities, we’ve named some of our favorite below. Use our list and cut through the clutter on your next visit!
Along Route 98, between Destin and Fort Walton Beach, lies the Gulfarium Marine Adventure & Water Park. This place is amazing! Young or old, you can’t help but be wowed by the dolphin and sea lion shows. Take your time and stay a few hours, learning all about sea life in the Florida area, while getting up close and personal with some of your favorite ocean friends. The location is convenient and the pricing is fair, especially if you buy a ‘season pass’.
Destin is literally named the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”, so of course this activity makes the list! Take the kids out on a chartered tour, or fish off the boardwalk using rented poles.
Here’s what’s biting at any time of year (courtesy of destinvacationboatrentals.com)
Day at the beach
The Emerald Coast is home to pristine shoreline, and Destin is in the center of it all. Pack up the buckets, shovels, sunscreen, and towels and take the crew to Henderson Beach State Park and Crystal Sands Beach. Both of which offer ample space to lay out and have some fun in the sun. Body boarding, sand castles, and more await!
At Track Destin you’ll find mini golf, go karts, Fat Daddy’s family arcade, bumper cars, and much more bright lights and loud noises. Kids love it! The park is always upgrading and updating nd the whole family can spend hours trying all the activities here. Grab a snack at the snack bar and a cold drink to cool off.
Destin Harbor Boardwalk
The Boardwalk is the most active part of Destin – there’s always something to see and do for kids. Stroll along and watch the charter boat captains bring in their catches of the day, people watch, window shop, and sightsee. Try your mettle on the zip line or bungee jump. Get a feel for the area’s culture by spending your day strolling the boardwalk.
If the beach gets a little one note — head over to Big Kahuna’s water park to cool off in a different way. Enjoy the giant wave pool or relax in the easy-goin’ Lazy River. Scream down the 5-story Jumanji, or scream along the Maui Pipeline. Fly the Skycoaster and play miniature golf. The entire family will be tuckered out after this one.
Fudpucker’s has been serving families since 1982. Many children of customers in those early years have grown up and now bring THEIR kids to the restaurant. Kids love exploring the (safe) Gator Beach where over 100+ alligators live. Fudpucker’s has a special “Kids Korner” menu designed especially for children twelve and under. Of course, in addition to some great food, the kids menu has games and puzzles to entertain them while their food is being prepared. And when the meal is served, there’s a little FREE toy to take home as a souvenir.
This outdoor shopping mall is the most fun you’ll have going store-to-store in a long time. There’s a great playground for kids (with a splash pad!) and endless family-friendly eateries. There is a huge theatre at the Commons as well as a darling train for little children to ride on and a water feature for playing in! Stores include a big book store, clothing, candy, children’s clothes, and toys. Even a family bowling alley is included in this nice outdoor mall.
Take a dolphin cruise
With these friendly mammals jumping and diving off shore in Destin, dolphin cruises are a very popular family activity. You’ll see more dolphins on a cruise than you’ve seen in your entire life. There are a number of reputable cruise outlets in the Destin area that take off every day, usually with multiple tour times. All safety precautions are taken and don’t worry — you’ll always see a dolphin!