12 Best Destin Beaches in Florida to Have Perfect Time


Destin, Florida, fondly known as the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village, is a picturesque coastal city situated along the breathtaking shores of the Gulf of Mexico. The city boasts a rich history, a vibrant community, and some of the most stunning beaches in the United States.

Renowned for their sugar-white sand, emerald-green waters, and serene atmosphere, Destin’s beaches have become a popular destination for families, couples, and solo travelers seeking a memorable and relaxing vacation.

Destin’s Stunning Shorelines

Destin’s beaches are often referred to as part of the Emerald Coast due to the unique, jewel-toned hue of the water. This coloration results from the combination of clear water and the presence of microscopic algae called phytoplankton.

Destin Beaches Miramar Beach
Destin Florida resorts & hotels / Miramar BeachWanderDrone

The shoreline is adorned with fine, sugar-white sand, which is composed primarily of pure quartz. This extraordinary combination creates a dazzling and inviting beach experience for visitors.

Best Destin Beaches in Florida

Henderson Beach State Park

Henderson Beach State Park is a true gem in the heart of Destin, Florida. With over 6,000 feet of scenic shoreline, this pristine beach offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city.

Destin Beaches Henderson Beach State Park
Daniel Warren
Destin Beaches Henderson Beach
Kishwar Nahid

The park is an excellent choice for families, as it provides a variety of amenities such as picnic areas, playgrounds, and a nature trail.

Highlights and features

  • Sugar-white sand and emerald-green waters
  • Dunes with native vegetation, creating a picturesque setting
  • Abundant wildlife, including shorebirds and sea turtles
  • Swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing
  • Fishing from the shoreline
  • Hiking the nature trail
  • Camping at the park’s campground
  • Grilling and picnicking at the designated areas

Crystal Beach

Crystal Beach, situated in eastern Destin, is a delightful beach community known for its pastel-colored beach houses and relaxed vibe. The public beach access points make reaching the shoreline a breeze, where you’ll find sugar-white sand and crystal-clear waters.

Highlights, features and activities

  • Beautiful shoreline with a more intimate and less crowded feel
  • A mix of vacation rentals and charming beach cottages
  • Proximity to shopping and dining options
  • Swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing
  • Water sports, such as paddleboarding and kayaking
  • Biking or walking along Scenic Highway 98
  • Enjoying local restaurants and cafes nearby

Miramar Beach

Miramar Beach, a popular spot nestled between Destin and South Walton, offers an ideal mix of natural splendor and modern amenities.

Destin Beaches Miramar Swimming Beach
Destin Florida beaches hotelsPatty Rodriguez

This beach is famous for its picturesque shoreline, luxurious resorts, and a wide array of activities for visitors of all ages.

Highlights, features and activities

  • Pristine sugar-white sand and emerald-green waters
  • A well-maintained beach with excellent facilities
  • Close proximity to shopping centers, such as Silver Sands Premium Outlets
  • Swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing
  • Water sports, including parasailing, jet skiing, and banana boat rides
  • Golfing at nearby championship golf courses
  • Dining at a variety of restaurants along the beachfront

James Lee Beach

James Lee Park Beach, located in western Destin, is a serene, family-friendly beach with a laid-back atmosphere and beautiful views. With plenty of parking and facilities, this beach is a great choice for an enjoyable day by the sea.

Highlights, features and activities

  • Uncrowded, spacious shoreline with sugar-white sand
  • Three dune walkovers for easy access to the beach
  • Spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico
  • Swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing
  • Beach volleyball and other beach games
  • Picnicking at the shaded pavilions
  • Children’s playground and park area
  • Fishing from the nearby Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier

Okaloosa Island Beach

Okaloosa Island Beach, located just west of Destin, is a beautiful stretch of coastline that offers a relaxed atmosphere and a pristine, natural setting. With its sugar-white sand and emerald-green waters, this beach is perfect for families and visitors looking for a serene beach experience away from the hustle and bustle of the more crowded Destin beaches.

Highlights, features and activities

  • Uncrowded shoreline with soft, powdery sand
  • Stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico
  • Proximity to the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier and the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
  • Swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing
  • Water sports, such as paddleboarding, kayaking, and windsurfing
  • Fishing from the nearby Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier
  • Exploring the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

John Beasley Park

Also located on Okaloosa Island, John Beasley Park is a well-maintained seaside park offering a range of amenities for visitors.

Destin Beaches John Beasley Park
Danielle Tankersley

With ample parking, pavilions and facilities, this park is the perfect choice for a fun day at the beach with family or friends.

Highlights, features and activities

  • Spacious, clean beach area with sugar-white sand
  • Two large pavilions available for picnics and gatherings
  • Outdoor showers and restroom facilities

Eglin Matterhorn Beach

Eglin Matterhorn Beach, situated on the Eglin Air Force Base property, is a hidden gem accessible to Department of Defense (DoD) ID cardholders and their guests.

Destin Beaches Eglin Matterhorn Beach
Beaches near Destin that are not crowdedJamie McQuillan

This peaceful, uncrowded beach provides a serene atmosphere for those looking to unwind and enjoy the beauty of the Emerald Coast.

Highlights, features and activities

  • Exclusive access for DoD ID cardholders and their guests
  • Pristine sugar-white sand and clear emerald-green waters
  • Natural setting with minimal development
  • Swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing
  • Fishing from the shoreline (with proper permits)
  • Picnicking and enjoying the quiet surroundings

Princess Beach

Princess Beach, located near Destin in the community of Bluewater Bay, is a small, secluded beach that offers a tranquil escape from the busier tourist hotspots. This hidden oasis is perfect for a quiet, relaxing day at the beach.

Highlights, features and activities

  • Secluded location with fewer crowds
  • Soft sugar-white sand and emerald-green waters
  • Natural, undeveloped surroundings
  • Swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing
  • Kayaking or paddleboarding in the calm waters
  • Enjoying the peaceful atmosphere and picturesque scenery

Norriego Point

Norriego Point, located at the east end of Destin Harbor, is a sandy peninsula offering stunning views of the harbor, East Pass, and the Gulf of Mexico. This unique spot is popular among locals and visitors for its calm waters and opportunities for water-based activities.

Highlights, features and activities

  • Scenic views of Destin Harbor, East Pass, and the Gulf of Mexico
  • Calm waters perfect for water sports and activities
  • A popular spot for snorkeling and fishing
  • Swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing
  • Snorkeling and exploring marine life
  • Paddleboarding, kayaking, and boating

June White Decker Park

Located close to the heart of Destin, June White Decker Park is a quaint waterfront park offering a more intimate beach experience.

Destin Beaches Blue Mountain Beach
Images & photos of Destin Florida beachesVictoria Dodge

Easy access to nearby shopping and dining options makes this park perfect for a quick beach getaway.

Highlights, features and activities

  • Sugar-white sand and emerald-green waters
  • Proximity to shopping and dining options
  • Beachfront park with picnic tables and benches
  • Swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing
  • Enjoying a beachside picnic
  • Exploring nearby shops and restaurants

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, located just a short drive from Destin, is a pristine coastal sanctuary offering a unique beach experience. With towering dunes, rare coastal dune lakes, and untouched shoreline, this park is perfect for nature lovers and those seeking a more secluded beach getaway.

Highlights, features and activities

  • Three miles of untouched shoreline with sugar-white sand
  • Picturesque coastal dune lakes and towering dunes
  • Diverse ecosystems, including wetlands, pine forests, and scrublands
  • Swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing
  • Hiking and biking on the park’s extensive trail system
  • Birdwatching and wildlife spotting
  • Camping in the park’s full-facility campground
  • Fishing and paddling on the coastal dune lakes

Grayton Beach State Park

Located between Destin and Panama City Beach, Grayton Beach State Park is a spectacular coastal park famous for its pristine coastline and natural beauty.

Destin Beaches Grayton Beach State Park
Jeremiah Brusletten

Considered one of the best beaches in the United States, this park offers visitors a tranquil and unforgettable beach experience.

Highlights, features and activities

  • Nearly 2,000 acres of protected land, encompassing beach, dunes, and coastal dune lakes
  • Sugar-white sand and emerald-green waters
  • Picturesque Western Lake, perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding
  • Swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing
  • Hiking and biking on the park’s nature trails
  • Birdwatching and wildlife spotting
  • Camping at the park’s campground or renting one of the park’s cabins
  • Fishing, paddling, and exploring the coastal dune lakes

Family-friendly activities on Destin beaches

Destin beaches offer a wide variety of family-friendly activities that cater to all ages and interests. Here are some popular activities to enjoy with your family while soaking up the sun and making lasting memories:

  • Paddleboarding: Rent a paddleboard and explore the calm waters along the shoreline.
  • Kayaking: Discover hidden coves and coastal inlets with a leisurely kayak excursion.
  • Jet skiing: Add a dose of adrenaline to your beach day with a thrilling jet ski adventure.
  • Beachcombing and shelling: Stroll along the shoreline and search for unique shells, sand dollars, and other treasures that the ocean has washed ashore.
  • Building sandcastles: Unleash your creativity and work together to construct elaborate sandcastles or other sandy masterpieces.
  • Enjoying beachside parks and playgrounds: Take a break from the sand and surf and let your little ones burn off some energy at beachside parks and playgrounds, such as those found at James Lee Park Beach or Henderson Beach State Park.
  • Beach games: Pack a frisbee, beach ball, or paddleball set and engage in friendly competition while enjoying the beautiful beach surroundings.
  • Dolphin watching: Keep an eye out for playful dolphins frolicking in the surf or book a dolphin-watching tour to see these magnificent creatures up close.
  • Snorkeling and exploring marine life: Grab a snorkel and explore the underwater world, where you can encounter colorful fish, sea turtles, and other marine life in the clear, shallow waters near the shore.
  • Beach bonfires and sunset picnics: End a perfect day at the beach by gathering around a cozy bonfire or enjoying a sunset picnic with your family, sharing stories and creating cherished memories. Remember to check local regulations regarding beach bonfires.

Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Beach Trip

To ensure your visit to Destin beaches is both safe and enjoyable, consider the following tips and guidelines:

  • Always swim with a buddy and keep a close eye on children.
  • Be aware of the beach flag warning system and follow lifeguard instructions.
  • Avoid swimming during rough surf or in areas with strong currents.
  • Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and reapply every two hours or after swimming.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Seek shade during peak sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to avoid sunburn and heatstroke.
  • Learn to identify and avoid rip currents, which are powerful channels of water that can pull swimmers away from the shore.
  • If caught in a rip current, stay calm, and swim parallel to the shore until you’re out of the current, then swim back to the beach.
  • Always dispose of trash and recyclables in designated receptacles.
  • Use reusable containers and avoid single-use plastics.
  • Leave only your footprints behind and take all personal belongings with you when you leave the beach.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
  • Bring snacks and meals to maintain energy levels during your beach activities.
  • Know the location of the nearest lifeguard station and emergency contact numbers.

By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy a fun, safe, and memorable beach trip in Destin, Florida.


Are there any lifeguard-protected beaches in Destin?

Destin beaches do have lifeguard-protected areas during the peak season, typically from March through October. Lifeguards are stationed at select beach access points, ensuring the safety of swimmers and beachgoers.

It’s important to note that not all beach areas are patrolled by lifeguards, so it’s essential to choose a designated swimming area with lifeguard presence if safety is a concern. Always pay attention to beach flag warnings and follow lifeguard instructions for a safe and enjoyable beach experience.

Is Destin beach good for swimming?

Destin beaches are excellent for swimming, with their sugar-white sand, warm emerald-green waters, and gentle waves. The Gulf of Mexico’s shallow waters along the shoreline make it a safe and enjoyable spot for swimmers of all ages and skill levels.

Which beach in Destin has the clearest water?

While all Destin beaches boast beautiful, clear waters, Crystal Beach is often considered to have the clearest water among the local beaches. The water here is known for its remarkable clarity, offering excellent visibility for swimmers, snorkelers, and beachgoers.

Destin Beaches
Wayne Anders

The sugar-white sand and lack of seaweed contribute to the water’s pristine quality, making it a popular choice for those seeking the ultimate beach experience with crystal-clear waters.


In summary, Destin, Florida, offers a remarkable beach experience with its stunning shorelines, sugar-white sand, and emerald-green waters.

As you explore the pristine beaches and engage in the numerous activities available, you’ll understand why Destin has become such a beloved destination for beach enthusiasts.

So pack your sunscreen and beach gear, and prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure along the beautiful coastlines of Destin, Florida. Happy beachcombing!