Destin is a fit man’s playground. The soft sand adds a challenging twist to a morning run, and the water temperature is perfect for swimming. I used this opportunity to try stand-up paddle boarding for the first time.
You can find a lot of firsts here. For example, if you’ve never eaten a fish caught by your own hand, this is your chance. Fisherman’s Wharf, conveniently located adjacent to the charter fishing boats, will let you do just that. Just bring in your catch and take a seat inside the restaurant. A deep-sea charter boat—complete with skipper, first mate, and all the equipment you’ll need—can be booked on short notice.
If you’d rather have someone else—say, with more than three hours of fishing experience—catch your food for you, Destin’s fine dining begins and ends, sufficiently, at the Beach Walk Café at the Henderson Inn, where award-winning cuisine is served beachside beneath tiki lights as the sun sinks into the sea. It’s the perfect way to cap off a long day.
Of course, there are other ways to do that, and Destin’s nightlife is surprisingly worthwhile. AJ’s is the undisputable hub of Destin’s party scene. With a buzzing bar area that transplants the best of Manhattan’s lower east side into a mellow outdoor setting, and ample tables with stellar harbor views, it’s the perfect location for raging with the guys or nursing a rum and Coke over some good conversation.
Obviously, like any destination, Destin is what you make of it. You can play it low key—it’s a relaxing place with good food, friendly people, and beautiful weather. If you’re like us, you’ll recognize it as an opportunity to engage in new experiences, whether it’s testing your core strength in a new water sport or hauling a feisty snapper over the side of a boat.