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the Southern Star glass bottom boat bringing people on a Destin dolphin cruise

Whether it is your first time or your 100th time visiting Destin, Florida, there are so many things to choose from!  It can be hard to decide what to do, when to do it and what’s in store when you get there!  Here’s a quick run-down on some highlights for the area to help you hone in.  When traveling with seniors and/or young kids, the dynamics can get even more complicated!  We created this list to help you pick some highlights!


Beach Parks 

Peering over a gentle rise of sand dunes and sparsely scattered sea oats, the area protects its pockets of beachside parks with pavilions, gazebos and American Disadvantaged Accessible (ADA) wooden dune walkovers. The 208-acre Henderson Beach State Park, Wayside County Park – known locally as the “Boardwalk,” Beasley County Park, Marler Memorial County Park, a bayside water park, and James Lee County Park, a salt-air bazaar with 300 feet of waterfront, are all local parks along the beaches of Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island.


Snorkeling and Diving 

Beach adventures are always a must when visiting the Destin area. An aquarium of treasures from sea horses to cockles, clams and striped cowries are discovered about a mile out. Exceptional snorkeling and diving are possible close inshore — a rarity — due to the underwater 100 Fathom Curve. Reef clusters reveal four-foot basket sponges and purple sea whips while diving partners such as vibrant yellow angelfish; six-foot manta rays and protected 350-pound loggerhead sea turtles participate in discoveries.


Dolphin Cruise 

Sea turtles, dolphins and other marine life can also be seen in their natural habitat aboard our glass-bottom boat, the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise!  It ranks among the top things to do in Destin and carries a Hall of Fame Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor! Kids can drive the boat, families can feed the birds and watch amazing sunsets together while being mesmerized by dolphins playing and jumping about without a care in the world.


Pirate Cruise 

The Buccaneer Pirate Cruise offers a unique experience unlike any other in Destin! A two-hour cruise features fun for the whole family!  These highly-trained pirates lead adult and little buccaneers to raise the pirate flag, bring up treasure from the sea, sword-fight, water gun fight, sing and dance and so much more! Grog is also served onboard for those 21 and older! TripAdvisor also ranks this experience with a Certificate of Excellence so don’t miss out on this fun adventure for the whole crew!


Fresh-Water Activities in Northwest Florida 

Other outdoor pursuits are explored within two pristine wilderness preservations: Blackwater River State Forest and Eglin Reservation. Both offer tubing and canoeing down crystal-clear rivers along with camping and hiking. Amusement parks like The Track and Big Kahunas are a popular source of family fun with dune buggy races, bumper boats, water rides and slides, and putt-putt golf.