Last month, our family vacationed in Destin for this first time. Our kids are 7, 4 and 9 months. Part of our vacation was spent with friends who have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old (check out this post on vacationing with friends). Thanks to Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, we stayed in a vacation rental for our Destin vacation, which was perfect for when we weren't out having fun! If you are planning a trip to Destin with young kids, hopefully this list will help you plan some fun activities to enjoy.
10 Things to Do with Kids in Destin
Spend time on the beach in Destin
Without question, the number one thing to do in Destin is simply enjoy the beaches. I have never been on such smooth, soft sand. It is literally like powder.
We have vacationed on beaches on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf before and this was our favorite. One day we canceled our plans to go do an activity just so we could have more time on the beach.
The water is also crystal clear and the waves aren’t overwhelming. Perfect for young children.
Play at Destin's The Track
Our kids LOVED this small amusement park! Elias said it was one of his favorite things we did while in Destin. They have activities for children and adults.
We spent most of our time in “Kiddie Kountry” which had a bunch of fair-type rides for kids under 4’0”. This area wasn’t crowded, which also made it enjoyable.
In addition, The Track has bumper water boats, which are an absolute blast. Be prepared to get wet though. We did this ride twice because it was so much fun. I laughed and laughed and laughed.
The Track also has two mini golf courses, go karts, an arcade, bungee jumping and more. We went one evening and the mini golf was very crowded, so that is definitely something to consider. At first Elias was disappointed that we weren’t going to mini golf, but then he told us that the rides were “way more fun than mini golf would have been.” Agree! When you stay with Newman-Dailey, you receive a “rechargeable” card to use at The Track every day (details here).
Enjoy a Destin Dolphin Cruise
Destin is known for its dolphin cruises and the Sea Blaster Dolphin Cruise that we went on did not disappoint. (A perk of staying with Newman-Dailey is that vacationers receive coupons to go on this cruise.)
We saw dozens of dolphins. Some came right up and swamp along our boat and a few even jumped in our wake. It was incredible. Check out my periscope videos I did while on our tour here and here.
All the kids on the boat also got to “drive” it, which was a fun experience for them.
Walk Along the Destin Harbor
The Destin harbor is beautiful.
Attend a Local Festival
Destin always has events going on!
While we were there, it was the Destin Seafood Festival. The harbor was full of vendors, fresh food and kid activities. Elias loved jumping on the trampoline.
Visit Destin Commons
Destin Commons is a big outdoor mall in Destin with a darling play place and splash pad in its center. Enjoy a visit to the Pirates Play Cover & Splash Pad.
Unfortunately, we were there early Sunday morning at the beginning of our trip and it was a bit too cool. We also didn’t have swimsuits with us, so we told the kids we would come back later in the week. When we did, the splash pad was closed! After some investigating, I learned the splash pad closed October 4 and won’t open again until March. The kids loved the play area though.
Encounter 100+ Gators at Fudpuckers
Fudpuckers is a Destin classic, opening its doors more than 30 years ago. It has more than 100 alligators, including a rare albino alligator (only 50 are in the world!). The staff is extremely knowledgeable about gators and made the experience extra memorable. Honestly, I can’t believe it is free!
While there, be sure to get some food to feed the alligators. They jump in the air to get the food and my kids loved it! Fudpuckers also has a photo experience where you can hold an alligator and have your picture taken. So cool.
After you experience the alligators, definitely stay for a meal. The menu is huge and offers something for everyone (they had multiple Glueten-free/Whole30 options!). We absolutely loved our experience there.
Eat at Destin's The Donut Hole
Known for its incredible selection of donuts, this place has a line out the door by 7:30 am. We got there at 7:15 and were able to be seated almost immediately. On The Donut Hole’s donut menu, we had the choice of:
Old fashioned cake
Chocolate covered Devils food
Key lime filled
Apple spice crumb filled
Peanut butter filled
Cookies ‘n cream
Chocolate glazed cake
The Vanilla Angel and Peanut Butter Filled were our favorites. (Honestly, I am still thinking about that peanut butter donut!)
Explore The Gulfarium
We were not able to carve out time to visit the Gulfarium, but I have had friends share great things about it – particularly if you have young kids. My children always love visiting an aquarium and I think this is something we will try to do on our next visit.
Take an Art Class in Destin
Destin offers several kid friendly art classes. The glass classes look amazing and I definitely want to do one next time we go to Destin. They offer classes for children and adults.
You can find more kid-friendly ideas here.
Our Destin vacation was truly unforgettable. We are already talking about out next trip. I can't recommend it enough for a wonderful family beach vacation.