What To Do Near Destin With Kids | USA Travel
Updated: Aug 23
Florida Panhandle Travel Guide
The Emerald Coast, the gulf beaches on the Florida panhandle, are the perfect spot to travel. These beaches are known worldwide for their white soft fluffy sand and clear green tinted water. Below are some off the wall ideas on adventures you can take with your family near Destin, FL.
We love the beautiful white beaches on the gulf of Florida's panhandle. We may be a bit partial, my husband and I met in Panama City and my parents still live in the area. Regardless, these beaches are known worldwide and people from all around the globe come to visit to see the crystal clear green tinted waters.
We think that sitting on the beach is great, listening to the waves crashing and having the sun kiss your skin is the ultimate luxury, especially when you are coming from up north in the dead of winter. However, The Emerald Coast has much more to offer than their immaculate beaches! Being from NH we love finding a good hiking trail, so this time we decided to discover some of Florida's natural beauty and go on some hiking adventures.
Rocky Bayou State Park, Niceville, FL
This state park was what I assume Florida looked like before much of civilization came in and settled in the area. We loved steering away from the white sandy beaches to see what other natural wonders can be discovered in the area. This State Park has camping, kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding and more. We decided to rent some kayaks and explore! It was only $15 for an hour. It was breathtaking! We saw spanish moss, beautiful crystal clear springs, and huge oak trees. Thankfully I didn't see any 'gators!
Fort Pickens, Pensacola, FL
This place was incredible! Fort Pickens is a historical military fort that was built in 1834. In 1947 the fort retired and soon after it was open to the public to explore. The coolest fact that I found was that prisoners from the Indian Wars out west were taken to the east coast to be held captive. Geronimo was held at Fort Pickens with several of his fellow warriors. Captives from Indian Wars in the West were transported to the East Coast.
Okaloosa Island, FL
This is the home of my favorite beach in the country. That is saying something! You have to experience for yourself, but it feels like you are sitting in the tropics. The sand is so white and soft and the water is clear and green. (Unless the ocean decides to shed its seaweed, then it is full of seaweed for a week or so). This island is full of fun shops and restaurants as well. We love taking our kids to the beach stores to buy a special toy while my husband and I usually buy t shirts. Quintessential tourist behavior, right?
Oak Tree Nature Preserve, Mary Esther, FL
Turkey Creek Boardwalk, Niceville, FL
Timberlake Trails, Fort Walton Beach, FL
These three were perfect hiking trails for the whole family. My kiddos love exploring and running through the woods. These trails were beautiful and really displayed Florida's natural wonder.
Eden Gardens State Park, Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Wow this is a magical place. It was like stepping straight into Charleston or Savannah. There were massive oak trees with beautiful spanish moss hanging from the branches. We also visited when all of the azalea flowers were blooming. It was a beautiful state park with a large historic mansion in the middle. A very picturesque location!
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