Looking for a family vacation destination that has it all? Then your next vacation should be to Destin, Florida. The area truly has something for everyone. No matter your age or ideal acitivity, there’s a little something for everybody. From world class fishing and golf, to boating, snorkeling, swimming or just relaxing on the beach, Destin has it all. 

However, there’s one main reason why the area’s so popular. The amazing beaches. We’ve put together our own personal list to share with you of the top 5 beach access spots in Destin. 

1. Crystal Beach

Up and down Scenic Highway 98 you’ll find public beach access points that vary in amenities, some with road side free parking, most with pavilions, and some with showers or restrooms. Venture down towards The Crab Trap restaurant and you’ll find all of the above along with a children’s playground.

Pack a picnic or visit the beach bar where you can grab a drink and watch the waves roll by. Be mindful of the parking down in this area, though, as it gets hectic in the summertime and spots are hard to come by all day long. Be prepared to get out there early and if you leave you’ll probably lose your spot.

The area down near The Crab Trap also has showers and bathroom facilities to make it easy for the whole family to wash up and stay fresh, while other beach accesses may have just an outside shower and no restroom facilities.

2. Henderson Beach

Henderson Beach State Park offers your choice of 6,000 feet of sandy white beach, shifting sand dunes and a nature trail. Trek down a little bit to have your own private slice of beach away from the busy areas and experience the majesty of the beaches here in Destin. Although it does cost money to get in, the facilities and the location with a certain degree of privacy do certainly justify the cost. 

If you’re feeling really adventurous, the park offers camp sites for both RVs and standard tent camping. There are 60 campsites that include water and electricity access. The park even has temperature-controlled shower facilities and laundry machines.

No matter what month time of year you visit, there are a variety of events on. Throughout the year, you can experience everything from fishing clinics to ranger programs. Come during the fall, there’s a carpet of wildflowers and beach morning glories covering the sand

3. Destin Harbor

A boardwalk, boats as far as the eye can see, and endless restaurants and bars to choose from. If this is your idea of a good time, the Destin Harbor is the place for you. This isn’t a standard beach spot where you’d show up in your swimsuit and with your cooler, but you can rent boats, jet skis, parasailing, and more in this area so this would be a fantastic spot to start your day or enjoy some of the numerous restaurants and bars. 

Due to the great fishing, there’s an endless variety of seafood to choose from at the eateries here. If a hamburger or stone oven pizza is more your style, there’s that too. Destin Harbor has everything from family-friendly casual dining to locally owned seafood restaurants and more.

Other area attractions include watersports like parasailing, snorkeling tours, and more. If you’d like to see some aquatic life, you can also catch a dolphin cruise from the harbor onboard a glass bottom boat. It’s a great starting point for charter fishing boat rentals as well.

The harbor is also the center of action for many of the area’s events. Artwalk on the Harbor, the annual chili cook-off, and the Mardi Gras parade all happen here!

4. Norriego Point Beach Access and Park

Accessible by water taxi or by a bit of a hike on foot, the picturesque white sand peninsula called Norriego is a must-visit. This unique beach area gives you your choice of sitting by the Gulf of Mexico or along the Destin East Pass where you can see all the fishing boats going in and out of the Gulf. 

There’s a calm and serene vibe in the air here. You’re a bit more secluded but the sights and sounds of the Destin Pass and HarborWalk Village are still very much in sight. This is a spot where you’d want to plan to spend all day and come prepared with activities, food & drink, and a good book.

See if you can spot the blue herons and other birdlife on and around the beach and this is a great spot for sunset beach photos, so be sure to bring your camera.

If you’d like to swim, look for the inlets of water that are protected by jetties for calm waters. If you are a boater, you can beach your vessel along the shore and hang out. One alternative way to reach Norriego Point is by paddleboard or kayak.

5. Crab Island

If you’re looking for something a bit more social, Crab Island is the hottest place to be. You’ll need a boat to get here though! You can’t simply park and walk to Crab Island. Renting a pontoon boat or kayak is really the only way to access Crab Island, making it incredibly unique and an amazing place to spend the day. 

This area is near the Destin Bridge which isn’t actually an island, but rather a sandbar that normally sits just a couple feet below the water. This means you can stand in the water with your boat anchored and float about or play frisbee, drink a cold drink, and relax while floating in the water. 

Locals and visitors alike enjoy the variety of entertainment and music that happen at Crab Island. Visit during major holidays and you’ll be a part of the biggest floating party anywhere around. 

You can have a family-friendly day out here as well. Join the kids on a giant inflatable slide, go snorkeling, or just relax on deck.

If you’re more interested in exploring, Crab Island is part of the Choctawhatchee Bay. It’s a great starting point to see the bay and even venture out into the Gulf of Mexico, if your boat rental allows it. Be sure not to miss the clear green waters at high tide as well, it’s a truly beautiful sight!

Now get to the beach!

Hopefully, now you’ve got all the info you need to choose from all of the Destin beaches. Remember to stay safe in the water by paying attention to the beach flag system.

Are you ready to book that getaway to this coastal paradise? Have a look at some beautiful rentals in the area. Here at Harmony Beach Vacations, we have properties all along the Destin and 30a area sure to fit your budget and space requirements. Give us a call at (850) 650-0551 or contact us.