5 FREE Activities in Destin, Florida [PLUS 5 Tours Under $30]

January 29th 2024
Mike Fisher
5 FREE Activities in Destin, Florida [PLUS 5 Tours Under $30]

Destin is hands-down the Emerald Coast’s most popular beach destination. Quickly becoming a world-renowned travel hot spot, Destin, Florida, offers hundreds of fun things to do for all ages. But for most tourists, the vacation budget only goes so far!

While the average family would love to plan out a jam-packed schedule of waverunner rentals, dolphin cruises, and parasailing, the numbers don’t always add up. So, why not save that travel cash and try some free activities? Free activities in Destin include fun and simple things to do for the whole group, even the beloved fur children! Keep reading for 5 FREE Activities in Destin, Florida!

Table of Contents



5 FREE Activities in Destin, FL


With the abundance of natural beauty and activities in Destin, FL, finding free fun on the Emerald Coast is easier than ever! From shopping outlets to incredible scenic views, there’s something for everyone with literally any budget.

1. Walk the Harbor


Destin Harbor 5 FREE Activities in Destin, Florida

Pictured above is Destin Harbor. Image courtesy of Destin Harbor’s Facebook page.


Visiting the Destin Harbor is one of the top free activities in Destin, Florida, as it continues to grow each year, packing in more tours, activities, dining, and shops. The massive boardwalk features the coastal sights of marine life, summer sunsets, and fishermen unloading the day’s catch!

Pet-friendly and with plenty of places to sit, relax, and take photos, a day at the Destin Harbor is a must-do. Admission to the Harbor is FREE, as is parking in most lots (check posted signs for pay or tow-away zones). Destin’s Harborwalk Village, the main attraction wing of the historic harbor, is located in downtown Destin on the east side of the Destin/Marler Bridge.

2. Spend the Day (or Night) at the Beach


Couple taking a romantic stroll along Destin's beach

Taking a stroll along the area’s beautiful white-sand beaches is one of the most romantic things to do in Destin


The most obvious free activities in Destin, Florida, are beach related! Several public beaches offer free access with parking, trash cans, restrooms, and on-duty lifeguards. Although the private residences and condos may bar beach-goers, remember that the wet sand is public property. No one can stop you from a long trek down the coast!

The beach at night can be just as, if not more, magical than daytime! Moonlit walks make for memorable romantic moments, but that’s not the only twilight activity. Crabbing is a great way to prepare the little ones for bedtime. All you need is a bucket, net, and flashlight to spot and capture harmless white ghost crabs. For teens and young adults, the beach at night becomes a PG13 party zone. Hundreds of high school and college-aged visitors turn the beach into their very own ice cream social.

3. Visit the Destin Commons


destin commons shopping

Destin Commons is home to many great shops, which can be viewed here: https://destincommons.com/shop/store-directory/. Image from Wikimedia


Opened in 2003, Destin Commons is a massive entertainment and shopping complex located on the east end of Destin, FL. Within walking distance of many hotels and vacation rentals, Destin Commons features 90+ stores and restaurants including the popular:

  • Belk
  • Build-A-Bear
  • Lush
  • Sephora
  • Steve Madden
  • Tervis
  • And MORE!

While many on-site options cost money, free activities like the splash pad, playground, and the massive Bass Pro Shop fish tank make the trip worthwhile. Destin Commons offers some of the best photo ops as well as free parking on-site, public restrooms, and a pet-friendly atmosphere with poop-scoop bags available throughout.

4. Walk Down Scenic 98


parasailing on scenic 98

According to a recent Traveler Story, one of the best pit-stops they made when traveling down Scenic 98 was to parasail


Taking a stroll down Old 98 is one of the best free activities in Destin, Florida, that the whole family will love! Old 98 runs from the Crystal Beach neighborhood down to the Silver Sands Outlet Mall in Miramar Beach.

Featuring several beachside restaurants and public beach accesses, Old 98, or Scenic Highway 98, gives visitors the traditional feel of a Florida beach town. Large sidewalks run on the north and south side of Old 98. Bikers, joggers, and walkers alike have plenty of space to explore this picture-perfect stretch of road.

5. Visit Crab Island


Crab Island 5 FREE Activities in Destin, Florida

Aerial view of Crab Island.


Crab Island is one of the area’s most popular attractions. Visitors can sunbathe, swim and fish, or simply enjoy the atmosphere. Crab Island is open to visitors all year long and there are tour providers that will transport you by watercraft if you don’t have your own. The cheapest way to get to Crab Island is by Crab Island Shuttle or Water Taxi (providing you don’t already own a boat in Destin). Learn more about Crab Island including tours and transportation.

{Read Reviews & Book Crab Island Tours & Activities Online}


5 Favorite Tours in Destin Under $30


While it’s true the best things in life are free, some of the best Destin tours and attractions do come with a price tag. If you’ve had your fill of the free and fun things to do on the Emerald Coast, check out our 5 Favorite Tours in Destin Under $30 for even more fun at an affordable price!

SeaQuest Dolphin Sightseeing Tour


seaquest in destin, fl

Pictured above is the SeaQuest Dolphin Sightseeing Tour searching for dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico


AJ’s SeaQuest gives the whole family a chance to take in the beautiful emerald waters and white sands of Destin as you search for dolphins frolicking in the deep. The 53-foot boat is super comfortable, and all guests receive complimentary drinks on each and every cruise! A Destin dolphin cruise is one of the best ways to enjoy the best Destin has to offer while saving some cash for other incredible activities, dining, and shopping.

{Read Reviews & Book SeaQuest Dolphin Sightseeing Tours Online}

The Hydrojet - The World’s Largest Jet Ski


The Hydrojet - The World's Largest Jet Ski

Get your adrenaline pumping as you zoom through the Pass aboard the Hydrojet, pictured above


Have a need for speed? Love fresh ocean air and the splash of the water? Jet skiing is one of Destin’s hottest watersports tours. The Hydrojet - The World’s Largest Jet Ski delivers an unforgettable ocean journey up and down the beautiful Destin coastline at super speeds. Enjoy the water, check out some dolphins, and get ready to rock and roll!

{Read Reviews & Book Hydrojet Tickets Online}

Destin Sailing Cruise Aboard The Daniel Webster Clements


Destin Sailing Cruise Aboard The Daniel Webster Clements

When aboard the Daniel Webster Clements, pictured above, it’s nothing but smooth sailing


The Destin Sailing Cruise Aboard The Daniel Webster Clements rewards you with a relaxing journey of the Emerald Coast and Destin Harbor. As one of the last schooners in the Destin Harbor, the Daniel Webster Clements is one boat that has watched Destin blossom into one of the premier destinations in the country. Climb aboard and enjoy a complimentary drink, play with the dolphins, and relax out on the open sea as the wind takes you on the ride of a lifetime!

{Read Reviews & Book The Daniel Webster Clements Sailing Cruise Online}

Destin Harbor Fireworks Cruise Aboard The Hannah Marie


Destin Harbor Fireworks Cruise Aboard The Hannah Marie

Get the best seat in the house for the Destin Harbor fireworks show aboard the Hannah Marie, pictured above


Lights, water, action! The Destin Harbor Fireworks Cruise Aboard Hannah Marie runs every Thursday evening during the summer. This hour-long cruise floats the coast and positions itself perfectly in front of the biggest, most spectacular fireworks show in all of Destin! Climb atop the vessel’s upper deck for the best views of the colorful blasts and bangs!

{Read Reviews & Book The Destin Harbor Fireworks Cruise Aboard The Hannah Marie Online}

Destin Banana Boat Rides


Destin Banana Boat Rides

You and your group will not be able to stop smiling and laughing when on a banana boat in Destin


Grab 6 of your friends and family members and hop on a Destin Banana Boat Ride! The giant banana floats are pulled by Yamaha Waverunners that dash, splash, and dip in the Emerald waters. This tour is one of the best kid-friendly activities in Destin, and is also a great way to enjoy the beach, get wet, and have a blast at a great price!

{Read Reviews & Book Destin Banana Boat Rides Online}



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