5 FREE Activities in Destin, Florida
June 17th 2020
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
- Walk the Harbor
- Spend the Day (or Night) at the Beach
- Visit the Destin Commons
- Walk Down Scenic 98
- Enjoy Live Entertainment & Public Events
- 5 Favorite Tours in Destin Under $30
- SeaQuest Dolphin Sightseeing Tour
- The Hydrojet - The World’s Largest Jet Ski
- Destin Sailing Cruise Aboard The Daniel Webster Clements
- Destin Harbor Fireworks Cruise Aboard The Hannah Marie
- Destin Banana Boat Rides
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
Pictured above is the crew from Olin Marler Charters on the Destin Harbor filleting the day’s catch. This is one of the many sights you’re sure to see when walking the harbor
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 fisherman 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
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.
Crab Island is a popular sandbar located at the junction of the Destin Harbor, Bay, and Pass. Although there is no charge to spend the day at Crab Island, it is only accessible by boat or watercraft. Learn more about Crab Island including tours and transportation, here!
3. Visit the Destin Commons
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:
- Steve Madden
- 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 worth-while. Destin Commons offers free parking on-site, public restrooms, and a pet-friendly atmosphere with poop-scoop bags available throughout.
4. Walk Down 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. Enjoy Live Entertainment & Public Events
Pictured above is a crowd enjoying a live concert at Club LA, one of the best places for live music in Destin
Live entertainment from the Gulf Coast’s top acts is offered at several restaurants, bars, and nightclubs throughout Destin. In the summer months, the elite regional musicians perform nightly at places like:
- AJ’s Oyster House
- Boathouse Oyster Bar
- Hog’s Breath Saloon
- World of Beer Destin Commons
Although slower in the fall and winter, it’s not hard to find live music or entertainment on any given night, year-round. Public events provide further proof that Destin is the place to go for entertainment! From Destin magic shows you’ll have to see to believe at HarborWalk Village, to free events at Destin Commons, and beyond, there is something for everyone on the Emerald Coast!
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
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!
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? 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!
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!
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!
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 Rides! 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!
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