Tourist Attractions in Destin Florida

When spending time along Florida’s Emerald Coast, it’s nice to take in a tourist attraction in the morning, and then lounge by the beach or pool in the afternoon. Destin Florida offers quite a few tourist attractions, many within an hour’s drive of our Blue Dolphin home in Destin. Here are some tourist spots that I am familiar with:

Pensacola Naval Air Station

The National Naval Aviation Museum is one of the world’s largest aviation museums, and has more than 150 restored aircraft, exhibits, and thousands of Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard artifacts. From a viewing area, you’re able to watch Blue Angels practice air shows. Sometimes, the team even visits the museum to answer questions and sign autographs.

At the museum, you can ride a Top Gun Air Combat simulator, enjoy a seven-story IMAX movie, and dine in the Cubi Bar Caf√©, which is an exhibit itself. There’s tons of enjoyment for you and the kids. Free admission, including free tours inside the Museum and out on the flight line. (Bring an umbrella, because the sun gets warm out on the line.) The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and the Blue Angels typically practice around 8:30 a.m.

This tourist attraction is east of Destin FL, only about an hour from our Blue Dolphin home.

National Naval Aviation Museum, 1750 Radford Blvd Ste C, Pensacola, FL 32508

Website: www.navalaviationmuseum.org

Big Kahuna’s Water Adventure Park

This water park is located right in Destin, and features more than 40 water attractions and an Adventure Park. For the kids, there are slide pools, waterfalls, water pirate ships, fun fountains, pipeline speed slides, raging rivers where you ride inner tubes, and a continuous wave pool that offers surfing and body boarding. Take it easy on the lazy river, enjoy a round of tropical putt-putt golf, or relax with the young ones in the family wave pool.

Big Kahuna’s offers something for every member of the family, and there is more than enough to do in a day! If you’re thinking about going two or three times, it makes sense to buy a gold pass.

It is a seasonal park open May through early September, and the hours are limited, so get there early to get your money’s worth. It is only about 5 minutes east of our Blue Dolphin home.

Big Kahuna’s Water Park, 1007 US Highway 98 East, Destin FL 32541

Website: www.bigkahunas.com

Deep Sea Fishing

I have been deep sea fishing several times in the Destin area. One time we chartered a boat, and the second time we went on a “party” boat. (A party boat is boat with multiple parties on the boat.)¬† Both have advantages and disadvantages. The charter boat was more expensive, but we got personal attention and caught a lot more fish (mackerel). Our excursion was only about 4 or 5 hours, so we didn’t venture too far from shore.

The party boat experience was less expensive, and we went farther out into the gulf, but we didn’t get much personal service and, hence, caught less fish (although they were mostly red snapper). The charter boat was the Gulf Ranger and we booked it on down on the Harborwalk by Destin harbor (www.harborwalkfishing.com). We booked the party boat through Olin Marler’s Charter Fishing Service (www.olinmarlercharterboats.com), and it also departed from the Harborwalk.

In both cases, bait, ice, tackle, rods and fishing licenses were included with the fees. Both times, the crew cleaned the fish for us back on the dock, and we cooked them up later in the day. The Harborwalk is only about 10 minutes east of the Blue Dolphin home.

Website: www.harborwalkdestin.com

Eglin Air Force Base Museum

This Air Force Armament Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to the collection, preservation and exhibition of artifacts and memorabilia associated with Air Force Armament and its platforms of delivery.  Construction of this 28,000 square foot Museum was opened to the public in November, 1985.

Various aircraft planes from the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf War eras are on display at the museum, including the fastest plane ever built, the SR-71 Blackbird. Inside the museum are a wide variety of bombs, missiles and rockets, including the GBU-28 bunker buster developed for use during Operation Desert Storm. Admittance to the Museum is free of charge and it is closed on Sundays.

The museum is about a half hour northwest of our Blue Dolphin home.

Air Force Armament Museum, 100 Museum Drive, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida 32542

Website: www.afarmamentmuseum.com

Snorkling

Whenever we visit Destin, we always spend a day snorkeling. All-day snorkeling tours are available down on the Harborwalk, and you’re not limited to just snorkeling near the Destin bay jetties.

The tour also includes a private beach setting on Holiday Isle, free use of kayaks, noodles, and boogie boards. Snorkeling is for all ages and abilities, and the tour company provides the snorkel equipment for your use. Bring sunscreen, beach towels, a camera, and feel free to pack your lunch and your own cooler. Snorkling is available all summer long, and it’s a great way to spend a relaxing, stress free day in the beautiful waters around Destin.

An added note, we took a 2-hour Dolphin cruise one night to watch dolphins and view a spectacular sunsets, too.

Website: www.destinsnorkel.com

Florida’s Gulfarium

The main attraction of Florida’s Gulfarium are the three live marine shows that you can see any day of the week. The shows are conveniently scheduled in a series so you won’t have to worry about missing a performance.

The series begins with the top deck Dolphin Show, featuring trained bottlenose dolphins performing in a tank of over 500,000 gallons of filtered Gulf of Mexico saltwater. Following this show is the Sea Lion Show, and rounding out the program is the MSP (Multi-Species) Show, with bottlenose dolphins and a California sea lion performing side-by-side. You also can check out the shark, penguin and otter feed demonstrations between the shows.

Florida’s Gulfarium is about 15 minutes east of our Blue Dolphin home, and the park is open daily from 9:00am until 4:00 pm

Florida’s Gulfarium, 1010 Miracle Strip Pky SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL, 32548

Website: www.gulfarium.com

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