Destin, Florida with the Kids
Updated: Jan 3
Where to stay, where to go, and where to eat.
Where to Stay:
We stayed at Emerald Towers in Fort Walton Beach. (Condo)
What I loved about this location:
1) Every condo at Emerald Towers has a view. Seriously, this was our view! I was crying when I had to leave. The white sand beaches of Emerald Coast are like no other. The views are stunning.
2) Short walk to the beach. It is about a 3 minute walk, and the longest part is walking across the dock to get there. Trekking across the sand is the hardest part, because it's super soft, but it makes for a good workout.
3) The beaches are empty. I do not know if this is normal, but it was never crowded at the Fort Walton Beach. This was around 3:00 in the afternoon on a sunny day. * Please note, this is not a public beach. Only condo residence area allowed on this beach. Whoop whoop
4) The condo has these amazing chairs and umbrellas. Everyday someone puts out chairs and umbrellas, and they are free to use if you are staying at the condo.
5) The pool made my list, although it's not super impressive nor does it have an amazing view. What I did love about this pool is there is always kids at the pool playing. My kids meet so many friends! Their favorite part on this vacation was the pool and meeting new friends.
Where to Go in Destin:
1) The Beach- No explanation needed.
Destin is known for it's quartz white sand and emerald water.
2) Rent a Pontoon and go to Crab Island.
Check out Groupon first before deciding on what company to rent a pontoon boat from. Sadly, I did not find a deal on Groupon, but I did after much research find out that Sunshine Pontoon Rentals was the cheapest. I was a little scared as to what the pontoon boats would look like, since they came in so much cheaper then the other companies. I was really surprised! The pontoon boats were the nicest on the water. Win Win!
Crab Island is a short distance from the Pontoon rental company and easy to get to. The island has a ton of inflatables to select from on the water. This is the one my family decided to make their playground for a few hours.
A lot, of people hang out in the water next to their boats, since the water is only waste deep. I heard they even have live bands that play sometimes on floating docks. How cool is that?
They even have an ice cream company that boats by, along with a floating restaurant/bar.
3) Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
This the perfect place for an extremely hot or rainy day. 90% of the facility is outside, but it's covered and you get a nice breeze from the ocean since it's located on the beach. This place is super popular and well known. The earlier you get there the better.
"Life's a Beach" Publication has a coupon on page 90. "$1.00 off admission valid up to 4 guest".
They have an area where you can touch sea life.
A dolphin show to watch, rain or shine. My grandmother is the one in the blue poncho, while everyone is running away from the rain.
Also, they have an adorable Sea Lion show.
The biggest suggestion I can give you is to skip the alligator feeding. They just hand them pellets and it's.....BORING. Instead of wasting your time at this show head over to another show and get a good seat.
Also, you can add-on an animal encounter, such as a one on one experience with the dolphins. See their website for more information, if you are interested.
4) Destin Harbor Boardwalk - $10 Parking
This place is great if you love shopping and drinking. If you have kids then wait until the evening. We went during the day and the kids had sweat dripping down their faces. Also, if you have smaller kids, it can be a little scary because they do not have fences around the water. You can see the boats parked against the walk way in the picture below. There are a ton of spaces for the kids to fall into the water. It made me a little nervous and I have older kids.
We had to stop for Kona Ice, because it was so hot.
This was the only activity I found for the kids, a small train ride that goes around the boardwalk.
Where to Eat:
1) Fudpuckers- Bar & Grill
This place is awesome! They have free alligator shows, alligator feeding, free alligator exhibits, and you can even hold a baby alligator. Look at the 100 live alligators that will greet you when you arrive.
Let's start with the food. The menus come in this adorable newspaper.
Towards the end you will see a coupon for a $5 credit for the Arcade Fat Daddies next door. It is good for one per person. Everyone in our family was able to get a card and play a few games for free.
The Happy Hour punch is STRONG.
The fried green tomatoes are interesting, but really good. I've never had hot sauce and avocado on fried green tomatoes. Seems like more of a Texan thing then a Florida thing.
The nachos are huge and yummy. The hamburgers are delicious.
When we were waiting for a table we enjoyed walking around the free exhibits and taking a picture with the baby alligator.
You will even get to meet Pearl a rare albino alligator!
If you have time afterwards, then check out their amazing gift shop. It's HUGE!
"Life's A Beach" Publication Magazine located in most stores in Destin has a coupon on page 94 "Free Gator Bait" with the purchase of a Gator photo til 4pm."
Take your coupon from the menu and check out Fat Daddies next door.
This is where we spent most of our credits. The LOL Doll machine. (Daughter Problems)
2) Donut Hole Bakery Café
There is always a wait. Once you have eaten there you will understand why everyone is standing in line. Check out their breakfast.
Just FYI there is no kids menu. We ordered "a la cart" for the kids.
They even have a to die for lunch.
And did I mention these....
We took a chocolate pie back to the condo. It was a little on the pricey side at $17, but it was the best pie I have ever eaten.
We took a dozen donuts home for $12 for breakfast the next day. Just FYI you do not have to stand in line outside to get donuts. You can walk right inside and place an order at the front desk.
My family LOVED the donuts!
3) Harbor Docks
You know a place is good when the local Coast Guard shows up for lunch. This place can get expensive however, the lunch sizes are huge and the prices are very reasonable. Try to go for lunch.
The Happy Hour punch is STRONG! No, Rum Punch is not my go to drink, yet it seems to be on the Happy Hour list in most Destin restaurants. I felt like I was in Jamaica again. lol
Fried Green Tomatoes- So good! I'm noticing a trend with hot sauce on the fried green tomatoes. No, complaints my family eats hot sauce on everything.
FRIED GREEN TOMATO B.L.T. . To be honest I'm still dreaming about this. I need to go back to Destin just to have this sandwich again. It's that Darn Good!
My daughter enjoyed her Sushi. However, stay away from the Ginger salad. It was disgusting.
They even have a view. Usually, we are skeptical of restaurants that have a good view, because we think it's a tourist trap. This place is anything but a trap.
If you can cook then take advantage of the kitchen in the condo. Yummy!
*** Need more ideas? Check out www.lifesabeachdestin.com a "Life's a Beach" Publication Magazine. ***
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