13 Best Day Trips From Destin, Florida - Updated 2021

day trips from destin fl
Alex
Alex
Updated

The city of Destin is named after a Connecticut man named Leonard Destin, who was a fishing captain and settled in the area around the 1800s. He built a home here, and soon other fishermen came along, and through the decades, generations of fishermen came from Destin. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until the 1980s that Destin became a place for vacation, as its white-sand beaches and emerald-green waters began to attract people from all over. Now, there are numerous beachfront rentals, and family resorts. This part of the United States has a lot of great cities nearby, so if you’re in the area and looking to explore, check out some of the best day trips from Destin, Florida.

1. Flowing Water Charters (from USD 662.0)

Join Flower Water Charters for a refreshing and exhilarating water day trip from Destin. This exciting trip accommodates up to six guests making it a perfect activity for families or groups of friends. You will get to meet cute dolphins as you cruise the ocean and explore the pristine shores of the city. With this four-hour tour, you will also get to experience Crab Island and try your hand at fishing. Fishing rods and baits are already included when you book the excursion. All ages are welcome!

Family Fun Combo: Dolphins, Fishing & Swimming (Flowing Water Charters)

Duration: 4 hours

2. Florida 30A

Seaside Aerial Photo
Source: Photo by Flickr user Visit South Walton used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Perhaps the most popular road trip that you can embark on in the state is along the scenic roads of Florida 30A. This state road goes through different routes in the Florida panhandle. Pack up your things and take your loved ones along for the ride and make 30A your next day excursion from Destin. From the city, you’ll drive through scenic oceanfront towns like Seaside, Seagrove, and Blue Mountain Beach. It only takes less than two hours to see all of 30A, so why not make it a fun trip and make a few stops along the way? That’s what road trips are for, after all!

3. Panama City, FL (from USD 30.0)

One of the best day trips from Destin is Panama City. It is a great spot for those looking to take a day trip out of Destin. The city is not far and still on the waterfront, so if you’re into hanging out on the beach, Panama City is a great option. A local real estate investor had convinced the town to change its name from Harrison to Panama City during the time the Panama Canal was being built in hopes of drumming up business. The city would also serve as a port to the Caribbean in much of the same way the canal is.

Panama City Beach Gulf of Mexico Sunset Catamaran Sail

Duration: 2 hours

10 reviews

4. Gulf Shores, AL (from USD 19.0)

Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf Shores is a great little city in Alabama that is also known for its amazing beach life. The weather is just about wonderful no matter what time of the year it is, with temperatures being humid, long, and hot in the summer and even sunny and bright during the winter. Many tourists from around the country come to this day trip destination to golf, surf, and vacation—not to mention the exciting fishing that can be done here all year round.

Alabama Gulf Coast Dolphin Cruise

Duration: 2 hours

7 reviews

5. De Soto National Forest, Brooklyn, MS (from USD 66)

De Soto National Forest is not exactly on the beach, but it is relatively close to the Gulf of Mexico, and the forest itself is a very important place that showcases the biodiversity of the region. Named after the 16th-century Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, the national forest comprises habitats that are difficult to find elsewhere in the United States—as more than 90 percent of the ecosystem type has already been lost. Further, De Soto National Forest offers year-round opportunities like camping, canoeing, and bird-watching.

Mimi's Guest Cottage
Wiggins, Mississippi, United States
57 reviews
Entire house 0 Beds 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom
Top guest reviews
Amenities & Room:
loved the tv and internet
the most adorable cottage it was so comfortable charming and homey
this cottage is quite cute and comfortable
Cleanliness:
lots of green for our dog to run around in outside and spacious comfortable inside
the space is lovely quiet and clean
Host:
the hosts are exceptionally accommodating and super friendly
host christine was very responsive accommodating and has great sense of humor
mims cottage had everything i needed and the host was excellent
you can expect comfort peace hospitality great conversation friendly family
both christine and her husband were excellent hosts
Location:
quaint house with a great location
a peaceful getaway but close to necessities near by as well
there are many wonderful places to eat close by
it was close to everything and a perfect place to visit with family
christine's place was perfect
Read more reviews

6. Pensacola, FL (from USD 22.0)

Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and is actually the first place Spanish settlers in the United States occupied in 1555. This Florida Panhandle day trip is known as the City of Five Flags because of the five different nations that have ruled over it at some point in time. Pensacola is one of the most historic places in the area, with tours being offered of its most interesting landmarks as well as a myriad of festivals held here—including a children’s festival, an arts festival, and music festivals.

Pensacola Historic Landmarks Sightseeing Tour in Historic Bus

Duration: 2 hours

10 reviews

7. Dauphin Island, AL (from USD 165)

Dauphin Island is an interesting little island in the Gulf of Mexico—while technically a part of Alabama, it is a little more than just a really large sand dune. In fact, the population of the island is just a little over 1,000 people. Although sometimes mistaken for Dolphin Island, the island actually takes its name from Louis XV of France, who was the heir apparent to the throne. The spot is mostly visited for its beaches and yearly warm weather.

Henry's House: A Cute Lil' Ol' Beach Shack
Dauphin Island, Alabama, United States
57 reviews
Entire house 3 Beds 2 Bedrooms 2 Bathrooms
Top guest reviews
Amenities & Room:
there was a very useful book of information on the coffee table
loved leanne’s efficient beautiful and comfortable cottage
Cleanliness:
the house was clean and very functional
very clean and cute house
beds were comfortable; house was spotless
nice place very clean we had a good stay
very clean bright and cheery would highly recommend henry’s house and dauphin island
Location:
good location and cute place
the house was perfect for our family and located in a quiet neighborhood close to anything we needed
beautiful home with great location on the island
Read more reviews

8. Mobile, AL (from USD 80.0)

Mobile is a great option for those looking to check out a big city—and the biggest city in Alabama. Mobile was founded in 1702 by the French and was the original capital of Louisiana as it was an important center for commerce between the French and Native tribes. The area is largely considered to be one of the Gulf Coast’s cultural epicenters, with great art museums, orchestras, symphonies, and even a mystic society. Check out the local history or explore the city’s many parks and green spaces.

Evening Food Tour of Old Mobile’s Culinary History

Duration: 3 hours

9. Orange Beach, AL (from USD 297)

Located along the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, Orange Beach is the easternmost community in Alabama, bordering Florida’s Perdido Key to the east. The area is small, but it is absolutely beautiful, with gorgeous sandy beaches and warm waters throughout the year. The area is popular with vacationers as the weather here is amazing all year. Orange Beach is also a great family destination, with dolphin cruises and rec centers around as well as condos and homes right on the water.

Beachfront - PENTHOUSE - Breathtaking Views!
Orange Beach, Alabama, United States
118 reviews
Entire condominium 2 Beds 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom
Top guest reviews
Amenities & Room:
wonder view and very comfortable bed
the pull out couch was comfortable and the master bed was comfortable and had nice bedding
parking is good and there are three pools and a hot tub
Cleanliness:
very clean had everything you would need
the condo had everything we needed and was sparkling clean when we got there
the condo is beautifully decorated and clean
clean modern all appliances are new
the bathroom was clean with plenty of towels and travel essentials (shampoo conditioner soap toilet paper)
Host:
host was amazingly helpful
host was very quick and helpful
owner is very helpful with anything and everything
she responded quickly to any message i sent i would highly recommend staying here and with this host
wonderful place to vaca very family friendly property
Location:
nice location and within walking distance to several great places to eat
walking distance to several great places to eat
beachfront location is amazing and we would highly recommend
this condo had a fabulous view was close to so many restaurants bar's and places to shop
this was a very great place to stay it was right in the middle of everything and beautiful views
Read more reviews

10. Fairhope, AL (from USD 104)

In 2016, Fairhope was named Best Small Town in the South by Southern Living magazine and has a pretty interesting history. The town is located on the shores of Mobile Bay and was designed to be a “radical utopian society” of a single-tax colony that would eliminate the need for any other taxes. Fairhope became a hub for artists and intellectuals including Clarence Darrow and Upton Sinclair and was even a property on early renditions of the game Monopoly. Today, Fairhope is an affluent beachside suburb with amazing beaches and plenty of opportunities for watching the local wildlife on the beach.

Storybook Castle BnB
Fairhope, Alabama, United States
158 reviews
Castle 2 Beds 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom
Top guest reviews
Amenities & Room:
the interior of the apartment is beautifully done with special touches like stained glass windows
Cleanliness:
the room was clean and had everything we needed and pagan and dean were wonderful
the room is very spacious and clean
the entire space was sparkling clean well decorated and well-stocked with everything we needed
the place itself was very cute clean and private
very clean comfortable room this unique property is one-of-a-kind
Host:
great hosts with fascinating stories
very accommodating and a great host
staff was attentive friendly and gracious
thank you pagan for being a great host
dean and pagan were wonderful hosts very knowledgeable about the area and the absolute definition of hospitality
Location:
within walking distance of charming downtown fairhope
castle is within walking distance of downtown close to amazing restaurants and entertainment
the location of the castle is amazing and within walking distance of anything you would need or want
loved staying in the castle everything we wanted to do was within walking distance
secluded but right downtown in easy walking distance to food coffee and shopping
Read more reviews

11. Point Clear, AL (from USD 180)

Point Clear is another great destination located next to Fairhope and has all the charm and beauty of a small town combined with the fun of being by the beach. The population here is pretty small, with just over 2,000 permanent residents. Despite the town’s size, Point Clear played a part during WWII as the city’s Grand Hotel was the headquarters of Operation Ivory Soap. The 19th-century hotel still stands today and is in operation. Point Clear has always been a vacation spot for those looking to spend time on the beach, and as early as the 1800s, many of New Orleans’ more affluent citizens spent their holidays here.

*Creative, Modern, Spacious, Convenient & Pets too
Fairhope, Alabama, United States
55 reviews
Room in boutique hotel 2 Beds 2 Bedrooms 1 Bathrooms
Top guest reviews
Amenities & Room:
very cute sweet suites nicely decorated rooms with closet space to hanging rod and shelves
the rooms where fantastically remodeled with tender-loving care
Cleanliness:
stylish and clean with comfortable beds
awesome place to stay in point clear super clean and charming
precious clean space would definitely stay here again
linens were luxury and super clean
this place is the place to stay super charming clean convenient and ran with care
Host:
lovely space and warm welcoming hosts
thanks for being a great host and extremely available
all communication with the owners and staff was prompt and unbelievably friendly
we loved it this place was a great size to host a handful of people for a visit
Location:
made eating leftovers interesting location-wise it is close to the beach and reasonably close to stores and restaurants
i would absolutely stay here again it was perfect for us location is excellent
one thing people should know about fairhope is that the shopping at the boutique shops is amazing
great place clean safe neighborhood good location
little point clear was amazing and a quaint place to stay in fairhope
Read more reviews

12. Blackwater River State Forest, FL (from USD 57)

Located in the Florida Panhandle, Blackwater River State Forest is the largest state forest in Florida. The name comes from the river that runs through the area to Blackwater Bay, and the forest is great for outdoor recreation activities. Camping and fishing are done here regularly with some campsites even having electricity.

House on 22 acre Spring Fed Lake
Milton, Florida, United States
69 reviews
Private room in house 3 Beds 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom
Top guest reviews
Amenities & Room:
debbie’s she made us an awesome breakfast and had coffee for us each morning
she even had snacks beverages and kid friendly movies available in our room for my boys and i
Cleanliness:
the room and house was very clean
the house is extra clean and the breakfasts she made were delicious
the living space is very clean and well kept and breakfast was great
her home was very clean and she had extras in case we left anything at home
her home is clean and she has a beautiful lake out back
Host:
great host beautiful place
debbie is a great host very pleasant accommodating
debbie was an outstanding host
debbie is a sweet host
debbie is a super attentive host
Location:
beautiful beaches are close by
i nice quiet get away
great place for our family to stay as it's right between pensacola and destin
it’s like home away from home i will definitely recommend this place to anyone wanting to get away
Read more reviews

13. Private Crab Island Excursion from Destin

One of the best Viator tours you’ll find in Destin is this private Crab Island Excursion that lasts for approximately three to eight hours. It’s an ideal tour for large groups or families and a great way to avoid huge crowds too! When you avail of this 15-person tour with a captain, you’ll get to explore the island and experience activities like kayaking, snorkeling, and sunbathing. Your itinerary will be customized to suit your needs, so you can really make this tour to your own convenience! Kayak and snorkel gears, beach toys, fish food, vests, flotation devices, and many more are already included when you book this one-of-a-kind experience in Destin!

Explore Florida

Florida is known for its many beaches and warm weather, but that doesn’t mean the surrounding areas like Destin aren’t worth exploring too. Many kid-friendly resorts are available if you don’t know where to stay in the city during your family vacation. With so many great places both in Destin and around, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t head out and explore the warmth and beauty of this part of the United States.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Alex is a Canadian university graduate with degrees in English literature and History. He was born in Montreal and when he's not traveling he enjoys movies, video games, playing the drums and...Read more

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