The Best Destin Florida Beaches
Here at Florida Travel with kids, it’s no secret that we love the beach! Today I am going to share the best Destin Florida beaches for anyone planning a NW Florida vacation.
Known for its crystal clear waters and sugar-white sands, the Destin beaches offer the perfect setting for relaxation and fun in the sun.
Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, go for a swim, or enjoy a day of water sports, there’s no shortage of activities to keep you entertained.
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The best Destin Florida beaches
Here are the best Destin Florida beaches, listed in no particular order.
Henderson Beach State Park
One of the best Destin beaches is the one at Henderson Beach State Park. This beach was developed to protect the area’s environment, as well as nature.
The water is always turquoise blue. That water leads directly to the sugar-white sand and the coastal dunes. Before entering the water, it is always a good idea to see which beach flag is flying. The color will tell you if the water is safe for swimming. Never enter the water if a red flag is up.
When you are swimming, you may spot green sea turtles, Loggerhead turtles, and dolphins. On land, you can hang out in one of the pavilions or at a picnic table. Those picnic pavilions are an excellent place to relax and get out of the sun. Take a good book with you for some downtime.
Other amenities at this beach include public restrooms and hiking trails.
O’Steen Public Beach
O’Steen Public Beach is one of the best public beaches in the city of Destin. You can reach this beach via boat in the Destin Harbor. Or you can park in the parking lot and walk to the soft sand. If you choose to visit this beach during the summer months, arrive early. The parking lot gets full quickly.
Snorkeling is a popular activity at this Destin beach. The only downside to spending the day at this beach is there are no public restrooms.
Norriego Point Public Beach
Parking is never a problem at this popular tourist destination in Destin. The city has recently upgraded the parking areas. You can now park on the nearby streets or in the parking lot at the beach.
Gorgeous scenic views can be seen from this Destin Florida beach. If you want to take a walk, you can do it amongst the sea oats and sand dunes.
If you are looking for the best swimming area, keep in mind that one side of this beach faces Destin Harbor. The other side is on the East Pass where there are inlets of water. Those inlets have calm waters that are perfect for swimming. The mild temperatures of the water don’t hurt either.
Miramar Beach is one of the best beach destinations near Destin. You will find this beach in South Walton.
This is one of the best Florida beaches for parasailing and riding on jet skis. There are public restrooms at this beach, so you can stay there all day long if you want.
It is easy to see why this is one of the more popular white sand beaches in the Florida Panhandle. If you want to rent beach chairs and umbrellas for the day, you must arrive early before they run out.
Fort Walton Beach
One of the best beaches near Destin, with public access, is Fort Walton Beach. This is a popular spot for people looking to swim in the warm water of the gulf. The best part is there are so many things to do near this beach.
It is an excellent place to spend an entire day with the family—both at the beach and the nearby attractions.
Blue Mountain Beach
Blue Mountain Beach is considered one of the best white-sand beaches near Destin. Just don’t let the name fool you because there aren’t any mountains near this beach. According to the legend, a sailor thought the coastal dunes were actual mountains! It would have been nice if you could see the Appalachian Mountains from here!
You also won’t find plenty of parking at this beach. It can be difficult to park here in the middle of the afternoon. I still try to visit when I can. However, that may be because I stop at the Blue Mountain Bakery after my swim in the emerald waters.
James Lee Beach
You will find James Lee Beach inside James Lee Park. This is one of the largest beaches in Destin. That means there is plenty of space for your visit.
Your family should have access to one of the 41 picnic tables if you arrive early enough. However, you may spend most of your time in the shallow waters. When you are not trying to surf in the Gulf of Mexico here, you may find yourself going on one of the dune walkovers.
Princess Beach is one of the semi-private beaches in Destin. There isn’t much at this beach. You won’t find restroom facilities, lifeguards, or picnic areas.
When you are finished swimming and sunbathing, you can head over to Harborwalk Village to walk around.
Navarre Beach is the perfect beach for riding scooters or bikes. You can rent them from a company directly on the beach or bring your own.
Most people will take the time to ride through the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Nature lovers will enjoy walking around the nature trail during their visit. The natural beauty of the area makes it the perfect spot for anyone looking to escape crowds.
Although, you shouldn’t skip a walk on the Navarre Beach Pier. It is the longest pier in Florida. But only do this walk after you have gone swimming or snorkeling by the 3 artificial reefs near this beach.
You can also check out The 20 best things to do in Navarre with kids.
Grayton Beach State Park
You will need to drive a little further to reach Grayton Beach. However, that drive is worth it to spend time at one of the most beautiful beaches near Destin.
This beach is perfect for swimming and water sports. The only downside to visiting this beach is there is a fee for parking.
Eglin Beach Park
One of the best beaches in Destin is Eglin Beach Park. However, you can only visit this beach if you are in the military, retired military, or a family member. Civilian personnel, federal facility contractors, and their guests are also welcome.
The white sandy beaches here are perfect for sunbathing and swimming. There is plenty of parking, but there is a small fee.
Thanks to my friend Dina of Lily and Magnolia Travel for sending me this super cute photo of her son at Eglin Beach!
Crystal Beach isn’t a private beach, but it will feel like one. This small beach area offers access to crystal-clear waters and white sand.
After parking in the lot, you must walk through a narrow pathway for beach access. I love visiting Crystal Beach during the summer months. That is when dolphins can normally be seen out in the water.
Most of the people who visit this beach are those who are in one of the vacation rentals nearby. Those vacation rentals are usually busy since many people want to visit the city of Destin since it is considered the world’s luckiest fishing village.
After a day at Crystal Beach, head over to Destin Commons. It is an outdoor center that has stores, boutiques, and restaurants. You will find plenty of fun activities for the kids there.
June White Decker Beach
A favorite of the Destin Florida beaches is June White Decker Beach. This beach is off Scenic Highway 98.
You can go swimming in the calm waters of the Gulf Coast.
You will love having access to public restrooms throughout the day. And the bike rack will be convenient if you need to store your bikes.
There really isn’t a beach on Crab Island. Instead, it is a sandbar that can only be reached via boat. If you don’t have a boat, don’t worry! You can easily take a water taxi via the Crab Island Company.
The whole family will love spending time here, as you all go swimming or play rowdy games of water volleyball.
To learn more about Crab Island (which also is not an island!) check out A Guide to Crab Island in Destin, Florida.
Silver Shells Public Beach
This public beach is one that often gets ignored. I have no idea why because there are so many amenities. The public restrooms and outdoor showers ensure you can spend the entire day. The kids will love the playground.
If you happen to ride your bikes, you can lock them up at the bike racks.
Jetty East Beach
One of the best beaches is Jetty East Beach. The green waters at this beach are from the Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The unique shoreline makes snorkeling one of the best activities at this Destin Florida beach.
The parking lot fills up quickly during the winter months. Plan ahead and arrive early if you want to find a parking spot.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
This state park is located in Santa Rosa. There is a 3-mile beach there. Tall sand dunes surround it.
This Santa Rosa beach is secluded. This makes it perfect for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
John Beasley Park
John Beasley Park is on Okaloosa Island. This Emerald Coast beach is the perfect place to relax and enjoy your beach vacation.
There are more than 200 parking spaces at this beach in the Destin area. That means you don’t need to arrive at this amazing beach too early in the day.
You can pack your own lunch. But there is a snack bar if you forget or need more food.
Eglin Matterhorn Beach
Eglin Matterhorn Beach is another beach on Okaloosa Island. Many people pass by this beach without knowing it exists. This is due to the fact there is nothing there but sand and water.
Don’t let the lack of amenities keep you from enjoying the tranquility at this beach. This is a great place to relax during a beach vacation in the United States.
Destin Florida Beaches
There are the best Destin Florida Beaches!
Planning a trip to Destin? Make sure to check out some of the best things to do in NW Florida:
- 32 things to do in Destin Florida
- The Best Places to Stay in Navarre Beach Florida
- A Guide to Crab Island in Destin, Florida
- The Best Gulf Beaches in Florida
- The best restaurants in Destin
About Florida Travel With Kids
Florida Travel with Kids was started by a family who loves to travel the state of Florida with kids! This site will help you explore the fun state of Florida and all of the kid-friendly activities you’ll find here.
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