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Looking for the best beaches in Destin? You can’t go wrong with any of them since the beaches in Destin are known as some of the best in Florida. With crystal clear water and the powdery soft white sand, these beaches are a dream destination.
Destin is part of the Emerald Coast which is known for its emerald green water. This region stretches from Pensacola to Panama City Beach and includes Destin, the very popular vacation destination.
With so many incredible beaches, there’s a beach for everyone, whether you’re looking to be amidst the most popular places or away from the crowds. And while you’re visiting the beaches in Destin, make sure to try some fresh seafood at some of their finest restaurants some of which that can even be found right by the water.
There are so many things to do in Destin but be sure to plan your next trip with these beaches in mind.
Henderson Beach State Park
What is the prettiest beach in Destin? Henderson Beach State Park has the best and prettiest beach in Destin. The water reflects the blue hue that makes it inviting for wading and swimming in the warm Florida Gulf Coast beach. The soft white sand is perfect for sunbathing and taking strolls along the water.
As you cross the boardwalk over 30 foot sand dunes, you will get to see the stunning coastline that stretches for miles. While relaxing on the beach is one of the main activities, the park also offers nature trails that take you through the coastal scrub habitat and the dunes.
If you’re visiting the park with an overnight stay, there are are 60 campsites to accommodate with the campsites connected to the beach with boardwalks. Reservations can be made 11 months in advance for the campground and the park entrance fee of $6 can be paid online as well.
Located just west of Destin, Okaloosa Island is a family-friendly beach option that has the same sugary white sands and crystal clear blue water. There are two distinct sides to the island with the west side being geared towards visitors while the east side of the island remains a more untouched coastline.
On the west side, the beach is lined with vacation rentals that have direct access to the beach. Santa Rosa Blvd stretches the length of the west side with numerous points of access to the beach. It is the perfect place to enjoy the nice beaches, walk out on the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier, and dine at the Boardwalk.
A point of interest for the whole family is the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park that features dolphin encounters and shows. Across the street, Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone has a mini-golf, a roller coaster and an indoor arcade.
The east side of the island is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore area with an access point at John Beasley Park. This area is much more quiet and provides a nice escape to those looking for a peaceful beach setting and enjoy Florida’s nature at its finest.
Crab Island is not quite a beach in Destin but a popular sandbar that attracts thousands of visitors a year. The shallow turquoise clear water has become the central for those looking to spend the whole day out on the water.
At one point, Crab Island was actually an island but over the years has eroded to a sandbar. The sandbar gets as shallow as about a foot of water in some places. So, it is the perfect place to anchor your boat and have some fun in the water.
Crab Island is located in the middle of Choctawhatchee Bay and can only be reached by boat. Visitors can take their own boat, rent a boat or take an excursion. With the Crab Island Shuttle Boat & Adventure Tour you can have all the fun without the hassle. The Adventure Tours are one of their best packages that takes you out on the water and features all the water activities including a boat tour, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling and an exclusive floating inflatable water park.
If you plan to visit, be sure to bring your own food and drinks but the island does have floating food vendors and restaurants on the busiest days. Other necessities are just as important to bring including sunscreen, towels and water.
This wide and long stretch of the beach is located in South Walton and boasts beautiful blue water. The water is really mesmerizing with the bright color while being so clear that you can see right through.
Miramar Beach is a public access beach with a large parking lot which means you don’t have to worry about finding parking or paying any fees.
This is the perfect beach for those looking to have an incredible beach with shops and restaurants nearby. The Village of Baytowne Wharf is teeming with shops, restaurants, cafes, galleries and entertainment. It is also the setting for endless events and outdoor festivals.
This sparkly beach is truly a hidden gem near Destin that is the perfect place to get away from the crowds. It is located on the east side of Okaloosa Island and is one of the most pristine beaches of the area.
This beach is accessed by a small dirt road which gives way to beautiful views. There’s a parking lot along the side of the road and since this beach is so tucked away, there are no facilities including no restrooms, showers, lifeguards, or pavilions.
Set up a beach umbrella and have the beach to yourself or take a peaceful stroll along the coast. In the tranquility of it all, you’re still not far away from the action of the most popular places in Destin.
Navarre Beach is a little further to the west of Destin and is also a great beach to visit from Pensacola. This beach is another one of the beaches that lets you get away from the crowds and enjoy a more a more tranquil beach experience.
One of the most prominent features of Navarre Beach is the Navarre Beach Pier. It is the longest pier in Florida at 1,545 feet long and standing 30 feet above the water. It costs just $1 to be able to walk on it and $7 if you want to spend all day fishing on it.
Getting out in the water is the best way to enjoy any beach and Navarre Beach has plenty to explore. There are three artificial reefs to explore that are teeming with marine life and great places for snorkeling. The most accessible is the East Sound Side Reef at only 150 feet from the shore.
Whether you snorkel or just swim along the shore line, this beach is one of the best in the area to explore.
Norriego Point Beach Park
Located at the end of Holidays Isle, Norriego Point Beach is a unique public beach. This beach is actually a peninsula that stretches between the Destin Harbor and the east pass.
The swimming pools are the perfect place to swim since they are protected from the currents. The natural sea pools are lined with swim ropes to prevent people swimming out into the water since it is a prime spot for boaters.
You can access this park by car, boat or even a water taxi. The taxi takes visitors from Harbor Village to Norriego Point and back costing about $10 per person round trip. While riding the taxi and on the peninsula, be sure to watch out for wildlife including fish, crabs, and birds.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is known for its dunes with white, quartz sand and the emerald, clear water of the Gulf of Mexico. The tallest dune rises 25 feet above sea level giving the park its name. With 3 miles of the pristine coast, it’s great for swimming, paddle boarding, and snorkeling.
The coast gives way to pine forests, scrubland, and wetlands that are teeming with wildlife. There are over 10 miles of trails to explore the preserve making it ideal to go bicycling, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
The park has camping facilities with 22 tent camp sites, 156 RV sites, 16 bungalows, and 16 cabins. It is a great place to visit with the whole family for beach and camping fun.
Blue Mountain Beach
Located along the beautiful Hwy 30A, Blue Mountain Beach is worthy of a visit. The towering sand dunes that stand up to 65 feet tall and the blue lupine flowers that adorn the dunes give this beach its name. This beach sits at the highest elevation point of Florida’s entire Gulf Coast so you will be able to see some beautiful views.
Grab a locally made ice cream at the Blue Mountain Creamery as you head down to the beach. After, head back to town for a delightful fresh seafood dinner. This town is a foodie favorite so be sure to eat at some of the towns top restaurants.