The Best Free Travel Guides written by locals

Winter Beach Vacation in Destin

Destin in the winter is just as fun as Destin in the summer! The weather is mild, with average highs of 64 ℉, it’s a nice break from the winter wonderland our family likes to call Kansas. Nonetheless, here are some fun winter activities!

See Yourself as a Caricature

If you’re in Harborwalk for one of Kelly’s classes, then get a caricature while you’re at it! You’ve seen caricatures of celebrities of artists on the street doing them in cities, and Destin is one of them! Deano Milton is the artist, and he’s been creating caricatures for customers for 10 years and counting.

Snow Day!

We already mentioned this one in our annual events, but it’s a great way to celebrate Christmas in Florida! Every Saturday before Christmas, the Baytowne Wharf grants Destin with a snow day! Feel free to build a snow fort or have a snowball fight! If it’s going to be a sunny day, make sure your family gets there before the snow melts. The Snow Day is located at the Village of Baytowne Wharf.

Paint With an Artist

Right next to Harry T’s at Harborwalk Village, you can find Kelly Pierce’s art store. If you want to test your artistic skills, you can try an art class with him. A few days a week you can find one of his art classes at Harborwalk. You’ll paint a beach-themed painting that you’re welcome to take home. No need to bring money for supplies; the classes have paint, supplies, and instructions are provided. If it’s too cold to be on the beach, then you might as well paint it!

Banana Bart’s

Banana Bart’s has been open for 35 years, and it’s still owned by the same people! If you’re looking for some beachy decor, then this is the place to be. With an ever-changing inventory of products, you’ll never know what you’re going to find. Also, this is a great place to shop for some last-minute Christmas gifts if you’re in town during the holidays. From the back of the shop, you can see the harbor.

Fudpucker’s

Fudpucker’s is a popular Destin restaurant that both kids and adults love. The name “Fudpucker” comes from a nickname Destin fisherman call triggerfish. They have a gift shop, playground, and over 50 alligators (all alive) in their gator beach! You can see a rare albino alligator named Pearl there as well. If you’re eating there or just visiting, admission is free. You can feed the alligators and also take a picture of them, but there is a fee. Before the restaurant opens, there is a tour option.

Float Tanks

This is a great way to relax and take some time for yourself. A float tank (more specifically a sensory deprivation tank) is a small tub with a lid- sort of like a clam- with water heated to the same temperature as the skin. It is pitch black, and without your senses and a sense of gravity, it’s a different kind of relaxation experience. You can play your own music, too, if you don't like the silence.

Banana Bart’s

Banana Bart’s has been open for 35 years, and it’s still owned by the same people! If you’re looking for some beachy decor, then this is the place to be. With an ever-changing inventory of products, you’ll never know what you’re going to find. Also, this is a great place to shop for some last-minute Christmas gifts if you’re in town during the holidays. From the back of the shop, you can see the harbor.

Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl

If you can’t be in the water, why not go underwater? Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill is a bowling alley that is underwater themed. If you get hungry while you bowl, go ahead and order some food and drinks; after all, it is a restaurant and bar. They do not have reservations, so while you wait you can either visit Destin Commons or try their arcade with games for all ages- even some that may spark nostalgia.

Play Destinopoly in Southern Exposure

You can buy your own game of Destinopoly at the Destin Walmart (located 2.3 miles or about 7 minutes from the condo). It features all of the attractions that help make up Destin. It’s modeled just like monopoly and you play it just like it, too! The twist: attractions that makeup Destin are what you buy instead of the classic landmarks of monopoly. Destinopoly is hours of fun with you and your family (and it’s a great keepsake the entire family will enjoy). If it’s not windy, try playing it on the wrap-around balcony of the condo; that way, you get a great view while you play.

Outdoor Ice Skating Rink

If you’re wanting to combine a popular winter activity with Destin’s nice weather, try their outdoor ice skating rink! In the events plaza at the Village of Baytowne Wharf, you can find the ice skating rink. They open from October to January with different operating times depending on weather or school. If you want information, the wharf’s website has an events calendar you can check, or you can check their Facebook for things like maintenance. If you want to host a private event there you can do that there as well. They have accommodations for small children who are just beginning their ice skating adventure. There is a fee for admission and renting skates.

Gulfarium

Open for 65 years, the Gulfarium is a great place to look at local marine life and learn a thing or two. They have dolphin shows and sea lions shows every day, and it’s a crowd-pleaser among many of their visitors. There’s more than just marine life, you can also see other local animals in Destin: turtles, gators, and birds. If you have little children, their enclosures are a perfect height to see the animals. They have a gift shop in case you want a fun souvenir! You do have the chance to get up close with the animals at the Gulfarium, but you will have to pay extra.

Wild Willy’s

Wild Willy’s is located just west on Okaloosa Island, and it features just about 16,000 square feet of indoor arcade, two themed mini-golf courses, a 4D movie theater, laser maze, bungee trampolines, and more. Wild Willy’s also has a Salvati’s Pizza Factory and Yogo Mogos to eat there if all that fun makes you hungry. They run on points like The Track, but they also have packages. Their hours depend on the day and their website has those on their home page.

Destin Commons

Destin Commons has a wide variety of different types of stores that everyone in your family will enjoy! There is also a fountain and play area for children to play in. They decorate for Halloween and Christmas if you’re visiting during those two times of year. Destin Commons is the best place to get a Christmas gift in Destin because they have something for everyone.

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