How to Have the Perfect Weekend in Destin Florida

Destin is a beautiful beach town located on Florida’s panhandle and along the Gulf of Mexico. It’s Because of the beautiful clear green waters, caused by harmless algae, the area is often referred to as Florida’s Emerald Coast. Destin’s beaches are made up of soft sugar white sand that, comically, squeaks when you walk on it. This is the perfect 3-day itinerary for a weekend in Destin, complete with the best things to do in this Florida beach town.

Unlike the hustle and bustle of vacationing in Miami, Destin offers a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. From snuba diving and animal shows to museums and ziplining, Destin, FL is a great place for families, couples, and the solo traveler. It also happens to be a very easy road trip from Dallas.

How to Have the Perfect Weekend in Destin Florida

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something we have recommended. Please check out our disclosure policy for more details. Thank you for your support!

A 3 Day Destin, Florida Itinerary for a Long Weekend

Friday activities in Destin

Assuming you arrived on Thursday night, we have you covered for a full day of exploring Destin.

Have Breakfast at a Local Destin Coffee Shop

After a long day of travel and a good night’s sleep, you’ll want to start your day off with breakfast and a good cup of coffee.

Coffee shop

Destin has a handful of cute little coffee shops for you to choose from. East Pass Coffee Co., started by three local friends, comes highly recommended. They have a select menu offering acai bowls, sandwiches, toast, and smoothies.

Visit a Museum and Learn More About the Area

Air Force Armament Museum

There is a large military community in Destin due to Eglin Air Force Base, located a short distance from the Destin-Fort Walton Beach area. If you’re interested in learning more about the area’s culture, check out the Air Force Armament Museum.

Air Force Armament Museum
Photo credit: Destin-Fort Walton Beach

The Eglin Air Force Armament Museum has a large collection of artifacts, showcasing guns, bombs, bomblets, and missiles.

Indian Temple Mound Museum

Located in Fort Walton Beach, very near Destin, is the Indian Temple Mound Museum. The museum is an archaeological site and is a National Historic Landmark.

The museum showcases artifacts found on site as well as Native American and Florida history. Indian Temple Mound Museum is a great place to visit if you’re looking to learn about the area’s history.

Emerald Coast Science Museum

The Emerald Coast Science Museum is an adventure the kids will love. Learn all about their collection of birds, mammals, and reptiles and their habitats.

Afterwards, check out their interactive robotics, space, and engineering exhibits! The museum also offers workshops and programs for kids of all ages.

Enjoy a Waterfront View with Lunch

Being right on the coast, of course, Destin is filled with waterfront restaurants. If you’re looking for a local’s favorite, you’ll want to check out Dewey Destin’s Seafood Restaurant.

They have two locations, so if you’re looking for a waterfront view, you’ll want Dewey Destin’s Harborside. Other favorites include The Back Porch, Harbor Docks, and Captain Dave’s on the Gulf.

How to Have a Perfect Day at Universals Volcano Bay

Visit Henderson Beach State Park

Henderson Beach State Park is one of the best beaches in Destin. Whether you’re there to sunbathe or play in the water, you can’t beat the views and relaxing atmosphere. However, if you’re more interested in exploring the area, the state park also has hiking trails.

Henderson Beach State Park

Not only is Henderson Beach State Park one of the best beaches in Destin, but it is also one of the best places to watch the sunset in Destin. And don’t forget to take lots of photos for Instagram! The wide open, scenic views and emerald, green waters of Henderson Beach Park make for the perfect backdrop!

Have Dinner at McGuire’s Irish Pub of Destin

After a long day out and about, check out McGuire’s Irish Pub for a fun atmosphere and night out. Known for quick service and a friendly staff, both locals and vacationers enjoy a good meal at McGuire’s.

One unique thing you’ll notice about McGuire’s is that it is decorated in one-dollar bills! It’s a tradition started way back in 1977 that’s been going ever since. When the bar first opened, the owners tacked their first $1 tip to the wall.

Surprisingly, customers started leaving autographed one-dollar bills on the walls too. Today, it is estimated that there are two million dollars hanging on the walls.

What to do in Destin on Saturday

Breakfast at Destin’s Favorite Italian Cafe

Capriccio Café is a local favorite located in the heart of Destin. Besides a great cup of coffee, they offer croissants, muffins, crepes, frittatas, salads, and sandwiches.

Their menu also offers a selection of meats and cheeses imported from Italy. Breakfast or brunch at Capriccio’s is a must do on your weekend in Destin.

Visit HarborWalk Village

Visiting HarborWalk Village is one of the top things to do in Destin, Florida. The area is filled with shopping, waterfront restaurants, entertainment, and water-related activities.

Destin Harbor Walk

You could spend a day at HarborWalk Village and still want to go back for more! Below are just a few of the things there are to do in HarborWalk Village.

Snorkel, Scuba, Snuba, or Go Fishing

The Destin harbor boardwalk is filled with boat owners ready to take you out on an excursion. You can rent jet skis, kayaks, or stand up paddleboards.

Snorkeling in Destin Florida
Photo credit: Destin-Fort Walton Beach

If you’re more interested in getting in the water, you can go snorkeling, scuba diving, or snuba diving. And finally, if you’re in town to experience the awesome fishing Destin has to offer, go on a fishing charter.

Hangout at Crab Island

Once an island, but now just a sandbar, Crab Island is a popular handout spot for locals and vacationers alike. If you’re planning to visit, don’t miss these tips for visiting Crab Island!

Many take their boats out to Crab Island but abandon them to play in shallow green waters. And you won’t have to worry about finding lunch because there are floating restaurants that will come to you!

Throw Axes, Go Ziplining, and More

First, you’ll want to take a walk through HarborWalk Village to check out all of the things there are to do. As you notice several fun activities for all ages.

You can throw axes and win money, go ziplining across the park, enjoy the kids’ bungee zone, or even float on top of the water in an aqua sphere!

Enjoy a Fresh Seafood Dinner in Destin

Destin is self-proclaimed the “Luckiest Little Fishing Village” in the world because of the wide variety of fish species in the area. Because of this, Destin is filled with seafood markets and restaurants.

Seafood Dinner Destin Florida
Photo credit: Destin-Fort Walton Beach

If you want to have dinner in HarborWalk Village you have waterfront options such as East Pass Seafood and Oyster House, Harry T’s Lighthouse, and Margaritaville of Destin.

However, if you venture away from HarborWalk, you’ll find a slew of other local and chain restaurants. Two restaurants that come highly recommended include Tailwinds Waterfront Grill and Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House.

Hilton Sandestin Offers Hassle-Free Beach Vacations for Families

Sunday in Destin

Even though your weekend in Destin is winding down, we still have a bunch of ideas for your final day in town.

Sunday Brunch in Destin

Sunday brunch is a big deal to locals in Destin. After a long day yesterday, sleeping in late sounds like a great idea!

Brunch dish

There are quite a few delicious Destin brunch spots. A few favorites include The Pancakery, Café Destin, and Another Broken Egg Café.

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

If you’re looking for something to do with the kids, the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park won’t disappoint. The Gulfarium isn’t exactly in Destin, but it’s only a 10-minute drive to Okaloosa Island.

The marine science center offers animal shows, animal exhibits, animal encounters, and a great deal more. It is also an educational experience.

The Gulfarium’s animal shows and exhibits will teach you all about animals and their habitats. Enjoy a day outdoors with the kids at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park!

Lunch and Shopping at the Destin Commons

The Destin Commons is a beloved open-air mall with superb dining and shopping options. If you’re looking for a few souvenirs check out the local shops at Destin Commons.

Destin Commons Shopping
Photo credit: Destin-Fort Walton Beach

While you’re there you could even catch a movie at their movie theater! And if you’re hungry and need lunch, you have tons of options to choose from.

Dinner and Dancing Cruise

You can’t spend a weekend in Destin without taking some sort of cruise on the water! Destin offers all types of cruises including dolphin cruises, sunset cruises, yacht cruises, pirate cruises, and floating tiki bar cruises.

Destin cruise

If you’re looking for something a little more intimate for you last night in town, go on a sunset dinner cruise! Cruise on a beautiful yacht while enjoying views and dinner with your loved ones.

About the author: A lover of travel, Alex enjoys exploring new places and sharing her experience to help others. If you’re interested in following along with her travels, visit WanderWithAlex for more travel inspiration!

Book Your Flights

You can find discounted fares using sites like Momondo or Skyscanner. If you want to keep an eye on discount fares, we suggest signing up for Going, a daily newsletter with flight sales around the world.

If you travel frequently, consider investing in a Priority Pass for airport lounge access. It’s nice to have a space where you can relax before your flight.

Book Your Accommodation

We regularly use Expedia.com and Hotels.com to find lodging when we travel. It’s a great way to compare vacation rentals, hotels, and resorts.

If your family knows they want to stay in a vacation rental, we recommend looking at VRBO and Plum Guide.

Book Your Transportation

For rental car agencies, try Rentalcars.com. We tend to use Hertz simply for the quality of service.

Book Your Tours and Travel Photos

We regularly used companies like Viator and GetYourGuide to book tours when we travel. Both have great communication and a large variety of activities that work for all ages.

If you’re visiting a city with multiple attractions, be sure to check out a discount pass, such as CityPASS or Go City. Both are worthwhile investments.

Context Travel is another option and they offer more educational-based activities. The former teacher in me loves their tours.

One of our favorite things to do annually is taking photos with Flytographer. They have photographers around the world and we’ve used them on four separate occasions. This is our favorite travel souvenir.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

With the state of travel these days, it’s important to have some type of travel insurance to cover any unforeseen accidents, illnesses, threats, or cancellations. We always travel with insurance and would recommend SquareMouth, Travelex, or Medjet as good options. And if you want to compare different insurance options, use Travel Insurance Master to find the best policy for your group.