Destin, FL > All activities
05/25/2020 ~ 05/31/2020

7 Awesome Destin, Florida Family Vacation Ideas

Mike Fisher

September 27th 2019

7 Awesome Destin, Florida Family Vacation Ideas

From Destin's white sand beaches to the buzzing Harbor, family fun is everywhere you turn! World-class seafood restaurants, eclectic shops and boutiques, resorts, and family vacation attractions are part of the reason Destin has been honored with the title of "family-friendly beach destination!"

Many of the most exciting Destin, Florida, vacation ideas are fun for all ages including shows, theme parks, and parasailing tours. Keep reading to discover the top 7 Awesome Destin, Florida, Family Vacation Ideas!

Table of Contents

  • Dolphin Sightseeing Cruises
  • Magic Shows
  • Charter Fishing
  • Destin Theme Parks
  • Pontoon Rentals
  • Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
  • Golf Cart Rentals



1. Dolphin Sightseeing Cruises


destin, florida, family dolphin cruise

According to a recent Traveler Story, one family even got to see a baby dolphin on their Destin dolphin cruise


There's no better way to unwind than with a relaxing dolphin sightseeing cruise in the Destin Harbor. A Destin sightseeing boat tour provides guided narration from experienced local sea captains, and searches out dolphins and other exotic marine life such as:

  • Sea turtles
  • Pelicans
  • Sharks

Every cruise ship is different, but no matter which tour you choose, expect to be treated to a smooth ride in the Choctawhatchee Bay and Destin Harbor. The success rate of dolphin spotting on Destin dolphin boat tour is just under 100%, so be assured the kids will leave with lasting memories of the friendly sea mammals.


2. Magic Shows


destin, florida, family magic show

MAXIMUM MAGIC Theater with Noah and Heather Wells, pictured above, is one of the best comedy shows on the Emerald Coast


When vacationing in Destin, Florida, every moment is magical, but MAXIMUM MAGIC Theater presented by Noah and Heather Wells will truly cast a spell. Noah Wells, a world-renowned magician and illusionist, performs his revered show with wife and partner, Heather Wells, in the beautiful Destin Harbor.

Not only will illusions mystify the crowd, but many of Wells' tricks utilize audience participation, bringing in guests to help with some of his most enchanting magic. MAXIMUM MAGIC is an all-ages show, and the host never fails to astound audiences and leave both children and adults wondering if magic is fact or fiction.


3. Charter Fishing


destin, florida, family vacation fishing trip

Pictured above is a family showing off their catch from their family-friendly fishing charter in Destin


For many, this next tour tops the list of FAVORITE Destin, Florida, family vacation ideas! To those who have gone fishing in Destin before, it's easy to see why this small beach town is known as "The World's Luckiest Fishing Village!" Fishing is a way of life in Destin, and an important part of any visit is to go home with at least one "fish tale." Many fishing boat captains understand the importance of a quality family fishing trip, hence "kid-friendly fishing trips" began.

These specially crafted adventures are perfect for young fishermen of all experience levels. Seasoned captains and crew take time to teach children how to:

  • Rig a pole
  • Choose tackle
  • Bait a hook
  • And MORE!

All necessary supplies including rod, reel, and fishing licenses are included in the price, and the crew will even fillet the day's catch! Destin kid-friendly fishing charters operate in calm waters, are safe for small children, and children can expect to catch prized saltwater fish such as Sheepshead, Redfish, and Speckled Trout.


4. Destin Theme Parks


destin water park big kahunas

Pictured above is a family enjoying the lazy river at Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park in Destin


Need a break from the beach? The region's top theme parks are located in Destin, FL, with such family fun zones as Big Kahuna's Water Park and The Track located in the heart of town. Enjoy putt putt golf, bumper boats, water slides, thrill rides, and so much more when visiting one of Destin's theme parks. The children's play and pool area at Big Kahuna’s makes it a hit with young families, and The Track's bungee jumping and slick Go Kart Track provide high-octane fun for older children and teens.


5. Pontoon Rentals


destin, florida, family pontoon rental

Discover what to know before renting a pontoon in Destin, and make your trip to Crab Island and beyond the best one yet


If you want to know what to do in Destin, FL, you should start at Crab Island! Crab Island is Destin’s famous sandbar, and is a favorite amongst locals and tourists, young and old! With so much to do on the water, sometimes it's easier to chart your own family fun adventure with a pontoon boat rental in Destin, FL. Skip the guides and venture out into the Harbor and Bay on your own time.

At the helm of a rental pontoon, enjoy saltwater fishing with the kids, look for dolphins at your own pace, anchor at Crab Island, or pull the boat ashore for a private beach day. Rentals vary in length of time and number of passengers, so it's easy to find a pontoon and price to fit your needs. Be sure to reserve your Destin pontoon boat rental in advance. During warmer months and holidays rental pontoons become sparse and expensive.


pontoon rentals in destin fl

Experience the stunning, crystal-clear waters of the Emerald Coast on your very own pontoon rental, and be sure to look out for dolphins and other magical marine life


We spoke with one local mother, Katelyn L., who explains why a trip to Crab Island is a must, “Renting a pontoon and going to Crab Island is always on the agenda! It’s a fun day on the water for not only the children, but for the adults, as well. Between the inflatables, music, games, beautiful water, and soaking up the sun with my family, it’s always a blast for us all!”

Don’t want to be the captain? That’s okay, pontoons aren’t the only way to get out to Crab Island! Crab Island Excursions are available and come with a full captain and crew. This is a great idea for first timers who are wanting to check out Crab Island and see what it’s all about!


6. Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park


dolphins jumping at gulfarium marine adventure park

Dolphin shows are one of the most popular attractions at The Gulfarium, view a full schedule and showtimes, here


When trying to figure out the best Destin, Florida, family vacation ideas, the amazing sea creatures of the Gulf Coast come to mind! Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park offers exciting marine exhibits, animal encounters, interactive displays, dolphin and sea lion demonstrations, and an exceptional aquarium! The Gulfarium is open year-round, and tickets are available at an affordable rate online.

We spoke with the mother of a 4-year-old, Sarah Simon, who explains why she enjoys taking her little one to the Gulfarium on her days off, “We purchased season passes from TripShock and we use them a few times a month. Parking is free and we never have to wait in any long lines. Because the Gulfarium is smaller, it only takes about 2 hours to see all the exhibits and watch the shows. The shows are very informative and keep everyone’s attention! There is plenty to see and several animals you can get very close to. Another plus is that the Gulfarium is on the beach, so we can go swimming right after!”


friendly dolphin at gulfarium marine adventure park

Friendly bottlenose dolphins at the Gulfarium, like the one pictured above, mean guaranteed dolphin sightings for all who visit


The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is located on Okaloosa Island, just minutes from Destin, and is the perfect activity the whole family is sure to enjoy! Not only is the Gulfarium a blast, as you can see dolphins jump high in the sky and sea lions put on a hilarious show, but it is also educational. The Gulfarium has been in business for over 60 years, and is a great way to learn about the animals that make the Gulf of Mexico full of magic and wonder!


7. Golf Cart Rentals


destin, florida, family golf cart rental

Navigate through the city with ease on your very own Destin golf cart rental


Simplify your vacation this time around with a Destin street legal golf cart rental. Hop on a 4, 6, or 8 seater golf cart and transport the family to the beach, restaurants, shopping, and attractions! Street legal carts are fully-equipped vehicles with:

  • Seat belts
  • Headlights
  • Turn signals
  • An electric on-board charger for easy "re-fueling"

Cruise the streets of Destin in style while keeping your personal auto free of sand, water, and the throws of family vacation! Golf carts reach speeds of 25mph, and are legal to operate on roads up to 35mph. Kids will love the feeling of cruising max-speed in the cart, and adults will cherish the ease of mobility through busy Destin streets.

Experienced staff will provide a crash course in driving and maintaining the golf cart, and all necessary components including a long charging power cable and insurance (if needed) are included in the price of the rental.



Now that you know all the awesome Destin, Florida, family vacation ideas, it's time to get out and have some fun! Check out our TripShock Destin Blog at for up-to-date travel info for families, couples, and beach-lovers alike!


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