Home to 24 miles of vibrant, lucid waters, snow white, sugar fine sand beaches made up of pure quartz crystal, and much more, Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida offers an impressive lineup of unique experiences and outdoor adventures both in emerald waters and on land. From nearshore fishing to dolphin excursions to snorkeling and scuba diving, there are so many ways travelers can enjoy the picturesque beaches and waters that surround the area. Highlighted below are just a few of the newest aquatic experiences and initiatives offered by the destination as well as recent sustainability and preservation efforts.
- Beach Activities & Aquatic Experiences: Destin-Fort Walton Beach features countless opportunities for visitors to have a beach-inspired adventure in and out of water. Deemed the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” travelers can partake in surf fishing, kayak and paddleboard fishing, or charter fishing led by a knowledgeable fishing guide. For guests who prefer to stay on land, beachgoers can also soak up some sun and break-up their days enjoying delicious Gulf-to-Table menu items and local shopping. All the while, ecotourists can enjoy spending the day observing wildlife on land and sea, and after the sun sets, visitors can take in the night sky camping at Henderson Beach State Park.
- New Beach Basket Programs & Ecological Sustainability Efforts: Visitors and locals alike in Destin-Fort Walton Beach, are now encouraged to “borrow” a basket and help collect trash as they walk along the beach and return it for the next person to use. Available at June White Decker Park and the Shore at Crystal Beach, the new initiative was created by the City of Destin to keep the destination’s beautiful beaches clean, creating the most optimal beach experience for all. The destination’s efforts continue underwater via organized cleanup dives that organize volunteers to ensure the area is clear of marine debris. The most recent underwater effort took place at the Island Fishing Pier, and nearby a new borrow bin and trash pickup station has been installed. The bin provides a place where people can leave reusable beach items they no longer need after they leave the beach for the next family to enjoy.
- Emerald Coast Open: In addition to hosting the Destin Fishing Rodeo since 1948, the destination also plays host to the Emerald Coast Open, known as the world’s largest lionfish spearfishing tournament. The invasive species were first detected along the Florida coast in the mid-1980s, and now Northwest Florida has the highest concentration in the world. Spearheaded by Alex Fogg, Coastal Resource Manager of Destin-Fort Walton Beach, the goal of the tournament is to raise awareness of the issue, remove the species from the water to lessen the threat to native wildlife, and delight in their surprisingly delectable taste.
- Little Adventures: Travelers can experience various water activities together including snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, paddleboarding, and more and explore other outdoor activities via Little Adventures, new, bite-sized challenges that encourage visitors to get outside, try something new, and get out of their comfort zones. These adventures include dolphin excursions, eFoil lessons, camping, and more.