10 Fall Break Activities for Family Fun in Destin, FL
It’s easy to think there can’t be much for families to do outside of spring and summer, but Destin has become an incredible vacation destination year-round, even during winter!
The Destin Harbor is one of Destin’s most popular places to see year-round
Forget trick or treating and turkey, with awesome activities like dolphin sightseeing and fishing rodeos your kids will want to make a Destin vacation the new family tradition! Here are 10 fall break activities that will give your family a reason to head to the coast this season.
Table of Contents
- Fishing Trips for the Whole Family
- Parasailing for 1, 2, and 3
- Dolphin Sightseeing Adventures
- Rent a Boat and Have Fun on the Water
- Dolphins, Sea Lions, and More at the Aquarium
- Visit the Park
- Annual Events Show Destin’s Traditions
- Ride, Learn, and Play at a Local Attraction
- A Beach Photography Session to Capture the Joy
- Beach Fun 24/7
- Even More Family Fun in Destin
1. Fishing Trips for the Whole Family
Father and son shows off a fresh-caught snapper aboard the Destin Vera Marie
Destin isn’t called the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” for nothing. This beach town has a serious reputation when it comes to fishing. Whether shoreline fishing, bay fishing, or out in the Gulf of Mexico, the whole family can enjoy casting a line.
What Kind of Fishing Trip is Right for My Family?
Lots of parents take their kids to Destin, FL, for some bonding time with a rod and reel. There are plenty of fishing spots in the area for a DIY fishing trip including the Destin beach, jetties, bridge, and Okaloosa Island Pier, one of the best places to fish on Okaloosa Island. If you aren’t going on a paid charter, be sure to learn the proper rules and regulations for fishing in Florida using the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.
Young angler looks happy with his haul of snapper on an Olin Marler charter
The most popular and affordable type of fishing for the whole family is known as Party Boat Fishing. Party Boat fishing charters run on large vessels and carry multiple groups at once on a deep sea fishing adventure. Captain and crew will provide rod, reel, bait, license, and expert help; all you gotta do is reel in the fish!
Party boats are meant for slightly older families as most have age minimums around 5-7 years old. If you’re looking for a fishing trip for younger children, there are special kid-friendly fishing trips offered by select charter companies.
Some fishing charters like Boggy Bayou Inshore Charters are kid-friendly, planning trips that focus on first-time anglers
Kid-friendly fishing trips create incredible memories of family fun in Destin, FL. They target inshore species that are easy enough to reel in, but awesome enough to show off including...
- Speckled trout
Redfish caught on a Destin Inshore Charter
If you are interested in learning more about fishing charters in Destin. Visit our Official Fishing Guide.
2. Parasailing for 1, 2, and 3
When thinking of fall break activities for family fun, parasailing in Destin, Florida, is a vacation right-of-passage. You haven’t seen the city until you’ve seen it from the sky! Fly at heights of up 300ft and get a birds-eye-view of the beaches, marine life, and emerald waters that made Destin famous.
Parasailing can take you up to heights of 300ft
Ride solo, or with one or two of your loved ones. That’s right, depending on the parasail company, 3 people can fly side-by-side at the same time. This makes parasailing a top choice for creating new memories with the fam.
In a recent parasailing Traveler Story, a family tells about how kids, parents, and grandparents all went parasailing! They even saw sharks and dolphins in the water.
Triple parasailing in Destin with Gilligan’s Watersports
You’d also be surprised to know that parasailing is actually quite affordable. The average trip starts at $40 in the Destin area, but can vary based on factors like the company, duration of the trip, time of year, and time of day. If you’re unsure about price, check out a recent TripShock blog covering the cost of parasailing in Destin.
3. Dolphin Sightseeing Adventures
The Hannah Marie is a popular dolphin cruise vessel in Destin
Dolphin Sightseeing Cruise
Lots of family-oriented cruises take place daily in Destin with one purpose... to find dolphins! Pods of wild bottlenose dolphin and porpoises roam the harbor, bay, and Gulf.
Dolphins sighted on the Screaming Eagle in Destin
You may not get face-to-face, but even the largest dolphin cruise vessels are able to get close enough for a clear view, or even a selfie! A Destin dolphin tour is one of the most affordable fall break activities for family fun in Destin, FL. Reserve your seats in advance for the lowest rates and best availability.
Dolphin Sightseeing Waverunner Tour
If you want to see wild dolphins up-close and personal, a Waverunner Dolphin Tour is right for you. An expert guide will take you on an adventure through the bay and Gulf in search of flippered friends.
Friendly dolphins swimming past a Waverunner in Destin
This is a one-of-a-kind experience that is great for families of almost all ages. Most waverunners can hold 2 or more people, allowing parents and grandparents to steer while the little ones enjoy the sights!
From the Shore
It may not be predictable, but it is possible to spot dolphins from the shore. Some of the best spots for catching a glimpse of wild dolphin pods are:
- Destin Harbor
- On the beach
- Destin Jetties
- Marler Bridge
It’s impossible to predict when and where the dolphins will be, but it’s said that dolphin families are more active in the morning.
4. Rent a Boat and Have Fun on the Water
Boat rentals are great fall break activities for family fun in Destin, FL, and a great way to experience the thrill of coastal living! Chart your own adventure aboard a rental vessel for fun activities including:
Pontoons are easy to maneuver, hold large groups of people (typically up to 12 passengers), and don’t require a special boating license to drive for anyone over 30.
Pontoons can hold a lot of people, are easy to operate, and can reach popular spots like Crab Island
A pontoon is good for just about any type of water adventure including fishing, tubing, and swimming at Crab Island, the sandbar destination. Reserve your pontoon for this fall online at TripShock for the best deals and lowest rates.
Explore the waters surrounding Destin on an extreme adventure aboard Jet Ski. These sporty, personal vessels zoom through the water at high speeds with a powerful roooarrrr.
Jet Skis can hold between 1 and 3 passengers, and are easy to steer, even with two other kids sharing a seat. Travelers rent jet skis to do things like...
- Visit secluded beaches across the bay
- Anchor down at Crab Island
- Cruise the open water at high speeds
- Explore Destin’s many inlets and bayous
Rentals of waverunners are available year-round, and almost always include life jackets, instruction, and a tank of fuel. Many waverunner companies restrict children under 5 and pregnant mothers from riding jet skis at all. That’s why this activity is recommended for families with elementary school-age children and older.
Also keep in mind that all potential jet ski drivers must be 16 years old or older. With smaller crowds in fall, Destin waverunner rental companies typically offer deals to fall travelers.
Other fun vehicles to try out while in Destin are kayaks and stand up paddleboards. The whole crew can exercise while experiencing the awesome views of the Destin Harbor, beaches, marine life, and the famous Destin sunsets!
5. Dolphins, Sea Lions, and More at the Aquarium
This awe-inspiring dolphin jump was taken from a TripShock Traveler Story about a visit to the Gulfarium
The Gulfarium is a long-running Marine Park on Okaloosa Island. Their conservation efforts are legendary, helping injured and abandoned marine life for decades now. The only thing more famous than Gulfarium’s contribution to mother nature, is the jaw-dropping live dolphin and sea lion shows that take place daily.
Along with incredible live shows, the Gulfarium also features marine exhibits, trainer chats, and one-on-one encounters with the animals that call the park “home.” This Fort Walton Beach aquarium and adventure park is perfect for all ages.
Because most of the park is covered, a visit to the Gulfarium is an easy choice be it hot, cold, rainy or sunny. Like most attractions, it’s easier and cheaper to book tickets online. Automatically SAVE $2 on General Admission tickets to the Gulfarium when booking online with TripShock.
6. Visit the Park
Pictured above is Henderson Beach State Park. Image courtesy of floridastateparks.org.
Destin parks are the perfect place to relax, enjoy nature and have fun. Henderson Beach State Park has lots of outdoor activities to choose from, like fishing, viewing wildlife, and camping.
7. Annual Events With Destin Traditions
Destin’s biggest events like the Mardi Gras Parade, 4th of July Celebration, and Fishing Rodeo take place in the Destin Harbor
Destin Fishing Rodeo
A fishing rodeo contestant catches two massive Red Snapper
The most notable of the events that takes place in October in Destin is the Destin Fishing Rodeo. Over 30,000 Anglers flock from across the globe to participate in this month-long fishing tournament. There are all sorts of prizes up for grabs spanning several angler categories including:
- Kayak Fishing
- Deep Sea Fishing
- Pier Fishing
Destin Seafood Festival
The Destin Seafood Festival is the annual celebration that kicks off the Fishing Rodeo. The Seafood Festival takes place the first weekend of October, and features live music, games, fresh seafood, and plenty of Fishing Rodeo fun! This FREE event is a can’t miss for families that love good food and good music with a hint of southern charm.
8. Ride, Learn, and Play at a Local Attraction
Wild Willys is a kid-friendly adventure park on Okaloosa Island
Some things may shut down in Destin when the summer ends, but some awesome Destin tourist attractions like Wild Willys on Okaloosa Island are open in the fall and winter as well. Local Destin amusement parks and attractions offer thrill rides, go karts, arcades, and putt putt golf. Considering all or some of the attractions are inside or covered, Destin tourist attractions particularly come in handy on rainy days.
If your family loves to golf, take them over to Golf Gardens in Destin
Which Attractions are Open During Fall Break?
As you may have guessed, Destin amusement parks and tourist attractions are very family-friendly. Here are several attractions that are typically open during Fall Break, click on each attraction for more info:
- Wild Willys Adventure Zone - A large amusement park-style attraction with thrill rides, ropes course, arcade, on-site dining and more. Wild Willys is located on Okaloosa Island at 1306 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
- The Track - Mostly known for go karts and thrill rides, The Track in Destin is also home to a putt-putt course, arcade, and exciting rides for younger children. The Track is located at 1125 US-98, Destin, FL 32541.
-Gator Beach at Fudpuckers - Your kids can experience a one-on-one encounter with a real-life alligator at Gator Beach in Destin. Each ticket includes admission to a marine life museum, fascinating exhibits, and a meal from Fudpuckers in Destin. Gator Beach at Fudpuckers is located at 20001 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Destin, FL 32541.
You and your kids can actually HOLD A GATOR at Gator Beach in Destin
Another great place for family-fun games and shenanigans is Destin’s HarborWalk Village. With carnival-style games, caricaturists, a zipline course, and out-of-this-world interactive experiences, you should devote at least one full day to exploring HarborWalk Village with your family. Because there is no fee for entrance to HarborWalk Village, we added it to our article highlighting 5 FREE Activities in Destin, FL.
9. A Beach Photography Session to Capture the Joy
Beach photography is the perfect way to commemorate your Fall Break vacation to Destin. Photo by Gulf Coast Beach Portraits
You’ll want to remember your family’s Fall Break for the rest of your life. There are some great photo ops in Destin, but no photos taken by an iPhone or Android can beat a professional shoot. Luckily, you can capture all of the family fun in Destin, FL, with a professional photo session.
Beach Photography Sessions are a great way to capture the happiness we all experience while vacationing in Destin with the ones we love.
Photographers in the area are highly skilled at beach portraits, and will be able to set up a stunning shoot against the backdrop of the sunrise or sunset. If you’re interested in booking a beach photographer for your Destin vacation, first check TripShock.com for the lowest rates on photography packages.
Sunset beach photography session with V and V Photography Sunset Portrait Packages
10. Beach Fun 24/7
Destin is famous for white sand and emerald waters
With less visitors and more moderate temperatures, Destin’s beaches in October are as good as they get. Miles of white sand beaches run along the Gulf of Mexico, Harbor, and Choctawhatchee Bay.
As we all know, during the day it’s fun to hit the beach with chairs, towels, cold drinks and floaties. There are several public accesses throughout Destin including ones located at The Crab Trap and The Back Porch. Or if you are staying at a beachfront condo, you likely have exclusive beach access through your rental.
The Destin Beach at Night
What most people don’t know is that when the night comes, the beach gets a whole lot funner! From fishing, to ghost crab hunting, to simply relaxing to the sound of the waves, your family will love visiting the beach after dark. Some beach activities like beach bonfires are only available in select locations under supervision of a permitted tour operator.
We all love the beach in Destin for different reasons. It doesn’t matter if you’re here to relax, exercise, play, swim, or party, you’ll find that magical beach experience here on the Emerald Coast.
Even More Family Fun in Destin!
Family fun in Destin, FL, is guaranteed with any one of these 10 fall break activities. With such exciting kid activities in Destin FL, this fall break could be the best one yet for your family. Start planning your fall break vacation today with tours, attractions, and things to do in Destin, Florida, found on Tripshock.