Fun, Family-Friendly Activities in Destin, Fort Walton, & Okaloosa Island
There is no shortage of things to do in Destin-Fort Walton Beach and the surrounding area. The Emerald Isle, as it’s more commonly known, is a fun destination for all things sport and adventure and there’s so much to see and do in this beautiful part of Florida. The soft white sand and pristine, jade-colored waters offer the perfect backdrop for a fun day out with family and friends! Visitors can set up camp on the beach for the day to rest, relax, and soak up the Florida sun and enjoy the panoramic views.
The day can be spent strolling down the wooden boardwalks dropping into one of the area’s many quirky shops, stalls, and malls. And when the gang needs to fuel up, there are numerous restaurants and cafes to choose from. Fresh gulf-to-table seafood caught from the fishing boats in front of the restaurant to Irish pubs and Italian cuisine, there’s something for everyone.
For those looking to head onto dry land, Destin also has a wide variety of activities in the town center from family-friendly theme parks, science centers, alligator parks, and recreation zones. But when the sun is shining and you are content with your beach day, there’s so much to do on both the sea and the sand.
As a famous beach pastime, volleyball is a perfect activity to enjoy on the beach’s sandy courts. Round up your squad and start a game at one of the courts that face Al’s Beach Club & Burger Bar.
For those volleyball fans out there, the Emerald Coast Volleyball hosts two premiere volleyball events: the Emerald Coast Volleyball Week and the Emerald Coast Fall Classic. These popular fan-filled events take place on the beautiful beaches of Okaloosa Island, Florida. During the week-long competitions challengers are invited to partake in doubles, co-ed doubles, king/queen of the beach, and the famous Fudpucker 4 Player beach volleyball tournament.
Stand-up paddleboarding or SUP is an ever-growing activity that so many enjoy. Calmly paddling your way out to take in the city skyline and discover the area’s beautiful reefs is a great way to explore the shores of Destin. Check out the Destin Paddle Company(opens in a new tab) for SUP rentals.
Made for those looking to learn to surf, the gentle Destin waves are the place to start your surfing adventure. Adults are encouraged to book lessons alongside their kids so they learn to stand up on the board, keep their balance, and ride some waves! Check out Ride on Surf School(opens in a new tab) for more information.
The age-old classic of throwing a frisbee on the beach shows how simple pleasures are taken to a new level at the coast. Just a stone’s throw from the sand lies Ferry Park Disc Golf Course(opens in a new tab) for those looking to really test their frisbee skills. Try it out, you’re on vacation!
As a game for younger kids, a treasure hunt is a great way of keeping them entertained while you relax. Make a list of common items you find on the beach: colored rocks, shells, a hermit crab, some seaweed, etc, and ask them to find the items on your list and collect them in a bucket. You could also bury a few things to add to the excitement.
Sandcastle building, we’ve all done it and it never fails to provide entertainment for the young and elderly. The day spent building a fort using shells as the windows and digging a moat and rivers to keep out intruders will stay in the kid’s memories for a lifetime. And after castle demolition, just dig an enormous hole, fill it with water, and play around in it — endless hours of fun (and a great way to tire them out).
But to take your sandcastles to the next level, Beach Sand Sculptures(opens in a new tab) offer professional sandcastle building lessons! Guests can build their own 3.5ft castles with the perfect sand building consistency and an expert builder providing expert tips.
Sunrise & Sunsets
Calling all early risers and sundown strollers, the famous sunrises and sets are not to be missed. Begin your day with a wander on the quiet sands watching the sunrise or grab a cocktail on the boardwalk and watch the day come to an orange-tinted end. For up-to-date sunrise and sunset times, click here(opens in a new tab) to make sure you don’t miss it!
Captain Your Own Boat
What better way to explore this beautiful area than renting your very own pontoon boat(opens in a new tab). Pack your day’s supplies, hop aboard, and sail on out to the picturesque Crab Island for a day of snorkeling and relaxation. Keep your eyes peeled for the local wildlife including a colorful array of reef fish, turtles, dolphins, and even manatees! A perfect day out with family and friends.
Who doesn’t love a picnic on the beach! There are few better places than Destin’s beaches to enjoy a picnic after a busy day of beach fun. Before you tuck into your treats, remember to take: a cooler to keep items chilled, plates/bowls, cutlery, a mat, cups, and napkins/wipes.
Now for the fun part—the food! Fill some sandwiches, wraps, or pita bread with your favorite fillings (bonus because they don’t need heating up), whip up a big bowl of salad to share (tomato and sweetcorn or avocado and black bean summer mix), pesto pasta, or even an all-American potato salad to fill up those extra hungry.
Dessert? Well, where to begin. Start simple with a box of refreshing fruits like strawberries or watermelon. But let’s not kid ourselves, where’s the sugar? Smores are always a winner, maybe some brownie, cookies— or why not treat yourself to delicious ice cream on the Destin Boardwalk?
A bonfire, a moment to come together and enjoy the evening on the beach. Flickering orange and yellow flames, a cold beer, tasty food to snack on, and, of course, smores! Unfortunately, Destin doesn’t allow everyone to have a bonfire on the beach but there are select companies in the area that do have the permits. Check out Shorefires(opens in a new tab) for all your bonfire needs!
If you’d like to learn more about Crab Island Watersports, rent a pontoon boat, or a jet ski, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team today! And whatever you choose, Destin will not disappoint. We hope you have a blast.