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3 Days in Destin for Families

Organisiert von Nick Dauka former Panhandle resident.

There are plenty of great vacation destinations in Florida, including the theme parks of the central part of the state and the natural spoils of South Florida. Even so, the Florida Panhandle is an especially wonderful place for a family vacation. Destin, in particular, offers a slower-paced way to spend quality vacation time together as a family.

Floating between the Gulf of Mexico and the Choctawhatchee Bay, Destin is a place where Florida’s quiet nature converges with contemporary activities. It’s a sunkissed space where you’ll find relaxation under blue skies and shady oak trees. Take the family to Destin for three days and you’ll fall in love with its beauty.

The warmth is welcoming, but the winter months can warrant a sweater.

If you only have time for one thing, make it Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park.

Day 1

Wake up and waste no time getting into Destin’s warm waters on day one. Start with a splash and opt for a private banana boat tour. Safe and fun to ride, this activity is great for little ones who’ve never been out on the water.

Spend the day building sand castles and skimboarding on shore or splash around at Big Kahuna's Water and Adventure Park. After a dinner of seafood at a family-friendly waterside restaurant such as The Back Porch, keep your kids’ thrill level high with a hydro-jet sunset tour. Ride the wave and spot dolphins playing in the sunset.

Day 2

Your destination for day two in Destin is once again the emerald waters of the Gulf. Get out and swim or fish—or do both with a private charter. Your captain sails the family out into the Gulf where you can enjoy time snorkeling, angling, or working on your tan.

If you’ve spent any time wandering the Destin Harbor Boardwalk, then you already know how congested this central hub can be. While it’s a great place to play, skip it for sunset and instead watch the fiery sky from aboard a floating tiki hut.

Day 3

For your final day in Destin, make it all about Florida’s stunning wildlife. The Panhandle is home to a variety of birds, reptiles, mammals, and marine life. See how many you and the kiddos can spot while paddling a clear kayak on an eco tour a short drive away in Mariana.

On your way back to Destin, take a coastal drive and stop in Panama City Beach. As one of the hotspots in the Panhandle, you’ll find plenty to do, including dolphin tours. Choose one led by a marine biologist so the little ones can learn more about these creatures.

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