Enjoy Thanksgiving in Destin - Things to Do

January 31st 2024
Mike Fisher
Enjoy Thanksgiving in Destin - Things to Do

Thanksgiving Turkey by Ruocaled via Flickr

DESTIN, FLORIDA: It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That means Thanksgiving, awesome food, and spending quality time with friends and family. One of the biggest travel holidays of the entire year, Thanksgiving is an extra special day because it kicks off the Holiday Season! Hundreds of thousands of folks travel cross-country to be with loved ones, good friends, or simply just to get away from it all and regroup.

From the fantastic natural scenery to the wealth of premier shopping and live entertainment options, a trip to Destin, Florida, offers almost anything you could ask for to make your holiday the best one to date! We here at TripShock invite you to Enjoy Thanksgiving in Destin, and have put together a guide on how best to enjoy the fall in this fabulous beach vacation hotspot on the Emerald Coast!

Table of Contents



Enjoy Thanksgiving in Destin - Things to Do


thanksgiving on the destin harbor

The beautiful Destin Harbor, pictured above, is a great place to spend the holidays


When most people think of Destin, Florida, they think of sunshine, tanlines, seafood, and watersports, among other things. Above all, it’s considered to be one of the top beach destinations in the country, and the perfect place to spend your summer vacation!

While this is all true, Destin is more than just a summertime beach retreat. This once sleepy beach town is now booming with incredible things to do all year long. Keep reading and discover the top things to do in Destin to make the most of your Thanksgiving at the beach!

Fall Festivities Unlimited


paint pumpkins at a fall festival in destin fl

Popular Destin Fall Festival activities include pumpkin painting (pictured above), cake walks, face painting, ring toss, bean bag toss, and more! Image from Flickr


The colors of the trees are changing and the days are getting shorter, but in Destin, the good times are just heating up! Fall is when Destin truly comes to life, and what better way to celebrate the season than with a family-fun Fall Festival! Consider checking out one of these popular festivals when in Destin in the fall:

  • Annual Eggs on the Beach
  • Destin Charity Cornhole Tournament
  • Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo
  • Emerald Coast Duck Regatta
  • Destin Seafood Festival
  • Annual Baytowne Beer Festival
  • Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival
  • Destin Crafted: Craft Beer, Bourbon & Food Festival

Dazzling Destin Dolphins


dolphins in destin florida

According to a recent Traveler Story, Destin dolphin cruises are a great way to have thrilling encounters with adult and baby dolphins


No matter who you are or where you come from, going out on the Gulf on a big 'ole boat is always something special! The way the boat bobs and dips in the waves, the sound of the water, and the thoughts that come to mind while looking out on a beautiful sunset brings about a calm like few other things can.

Add some jumping dolphins to that picture and you have yourself a truly spectacular occasion! Below are two of the most popular ways to see dolphins in Destin:

Dolphin Cruise Destin

Dolphin cruises are a ton of fun and perfect for families with kids, or even couples out and about for a date night. Watch majestic, dashing dolphins do their thing while the captain and crew members cater to your needs and humor you with stories of nautical techniques, deep ocean shenanigans, and the best places in town for crab boils and fish fries!

{Read Reviews & Book Destin Dolphin Cruises and Tours Online}

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Hitting the high seas isn’t the only way to see Flipper and friends when visiting Destin for Thanksgiving. The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park on Okaloosa Island, just a few short miles from Destin, is open year-round and boasts dazzling dolphin shows and other incredible and informative displays including:

  • Sea Lion Shows
  • Otter Chats
  • Penguin Chats
  • Harbor Seal Chats
  • Living Sea Chats
  • Shark Chats
  • Reptile Chats

{Read Reviews & Book Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park Tickets Online}

Fish the Deep Blue


fishing in destin florida in the fall

Angler heading out into the Gulf to reel in the big one on a Destin deep sea fishing charter


Another great way to spend Thanksgiving in Destin is by taking a deep-sea fishing charter with one of the local captains. One of the most popular attractions in the whole city, you can hop on a deep sea fishing adventure with the whole gang and replace that Thanksgiving turkey with a school of fresh-caught fish from the deep blue!

The fish you’re expected to catch and keep does depend on whether you’re bay fishing or deep sea fishing. Check out these popular species of fish to target for both situations, and choose the fishing charter that’s best for you!


fish you can catch in destin in the fall


When you set sail on a deep sea charter from Destin in the fall, you are almost guaranteed to bring back a bounty of great-tasting fish. Even if you are not a seasoned angler, the captain and crew will put you in a position to snag the big one.

Indeed, most fishing charters provide you with everything you need including:

  • Fishing Licenses
  • Bait
  • Tackle
  • Assistance Setting the Line
  • Dehooking your Catch

At the end of your trip, your fish will be professionally filleted and bagged for easy transportation and enjoyment. Yum!

{Read Reviews & Book Destin Deep Sea Fishing Charters Online}

Tee Up that Turkey


golf garden in destin fl

Golf Garden is a 9-hole executive course with stadium lighting, a driving range, and a practice area on site


No discussion about Destin in the fall would be complete without mentioning golf. Destin and surrounding areas feature some of the top golf courses in the state of Florida. Many courses utilize the water to create challenging golf holes, fantastic landscapes, and breathtaking views that you will not see anywhere else! Some of the premier courses in the area include:

  • Kelly Plantation (Destin)
  • Indian Bayou (Destin)
  • The Raven at Sandestin

Meanwhile a great, affordable option for the whole family is Golf Garden.

{Read Reviews & Book Destin Golfing Online}

Shop Until You Drop


thanksgiving shopping in destin florida

Destin, Florida, is home to some of the best Black Friday shopping on the Emerald Coast


With Christmas just around the corner, it’s important to have shopping options that please the masses. Lucky for you, Destin Commons and the Silver Sands Outlet Mall have just about every brand, shop, and studio that exists under the sun.

Destin Commons is an enormous outdoor shopping mall with restaurants, entertainment, and premium shopping. Impress the folks on your nice list, or perhaps even treat yourself to a new outfit for the beach with top designer wear from places such as:

  • Belk
  • Buckle
  • White House/Black Market
  • Steve Madden

If you’re looking for novelty items, craft goods, or toys for the kiddos Destin Commons has you covered there, as well, with options like Pandora, Sephora, and the always fun Build-A-Bear Workshop!

The Silver Sands Outlet Mall is just down Highway 98 in Sandestin. Another can’t-miss destination with food, entertainment, and high-profile clothiers, the Silver Sands Outlet Mall is the perfect compliment to the shops at Destin Commons. For sure, the Silver Sands Premium Outlets delivers top fashions at generous prices, especially around the holidays!

Silver Sands Sandestin Outlet Mall is home to fashionistas like:

  • Coach
  • Kate Spade New York
  • Polo Ralph Lauren
  • Michael Kors
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • and MORE!

No matter who you are shopping for, Destin and Sandestin give you the gift options you need to cross off every last person on your list!


Scenic Views and Spectacular Weather


beautiful shot of the destin harbor in the fall

Fall in Destin means less traffic on the roads, and on the water, yielding scenic sunset views like the one pictured above


Visiting Destin during Thanksgiving, as opposed to spring break or summer, for example, is a whole new ball game. Just picture the same scenic beauty you know and love, but with less heat, less traffic, and less crowds. This just means there is even more of Destin to take in and explore!

Enjoy the Weather


beautiful weather in destin florida

The beach in Destin is the perfect place to take in the fantastic fall weather


Fall at the beach is a special time of year. As summer recedes, so do the crowds, and everything starts to slow down. Nonetheless, the water is still surprisingly warm, as is the weather, but with lower humidity. Lower humidity means fewer bugs and clear skies, which is the perfect scenario for enjoying sunsets on the beach!

Walk the Beach


walk the beach on thanksgiving in destin

Walking the beach with your loved ones is just one of many great activities for family fun in Destin


While this may sound like a no-brainer, walking the beach in the fall is completely different than in summer. First of all, the temperature in Destin in the fall is perfect for an afternoon walk by the water. Also, with less people on the beach, you can hear the waves crash and truly sink in to some seaside serenity.

Henderson Beach State Park is a great place to walk the beach with 6,000 feet of scenic shorelines, lots of sand pines, dune rosemary, and scrub oaks. The park also includes a nature trail, as well as areas for outdoor picnics and grilling.

Norriego Point is another option at the end of Gulf Shore Drive on Holiday Isle. Enjoy the relaxed waters of the Destin Harbor, watch giant yachts cruise by, and bring some binoculars to check out the flying Blue Herons!

Warm Up by a Beach Bonfire


destin florida beach bonfire

Beach bonfires, like the one pictured above through Wet-N-Wild Watersports in Destin, are a great way to warm up in the cooler months


Pack up the family and head to 30A for a beach bonfire at one of the most beautiful beaches on the Emerald Coast! Beach bonfires are a great way to warm up when the sun goes down, and truly enjoy the company of those you love. It’s the perfect way to kick off the holiday season and get in the holiday spirit!

{Read Reviews & Book 30A Beach Bonfires Online}


Gobble Up a Festive Feast


You didn’t think we forgot about the turkey, did you? If the dining in Destin wasn’t already delicious enough, the holiday season on the Emerald Coast brings out the best of Destin restaurants. So, if you’re wanting to hang up the apron this year, and have someone else do the work, take advantage of one of these delicious Destin restaurants on Thanksgiving:


destin restaurants open on thanksgiving


Whether you decide to cook a culinary masterpiece in your beach-side condo, or dine-out at a delectable dinner spot, you can’t go wrong!



Give Thanks


beautiful beach in destin at sunset

Being thankful on Thanksgiving is easy when spending it with those you love on the beach in beautiful Destin, Florida


With so many fun and exciting things to do for Thanksgiving in Destin, it can be easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the holiday. With that being said, no matter how you decide to spend it, just be sure to spend it with the people you’re most thankful for, and it’s sure to be the best one yet!

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!



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