Fun kid activities are plentiful in Destin, FL, making it a popular vacation spot for families. Destin is known for palm-lined beaches with powder-fine sand and the famously beautiful waters of the Emerald Coast. From boogie boarding and building sandcastles to hunting for shells, beaches provide families and kids with so many things to do in this coastal paradise. Florida’s weather is notorious for bursts of short-lived rain showers, and there’s plenty of indoor kid activities in Destin to keep you busy until the rain passes. There are even some free and cheap spots for family fun in town too.

Fun kid activities in Destin, FL

1. Slide and swim at Big Kahuna’s Water Park

Big Kahuna’s houses two different family parks in Destin, a water park and an adventure park. Both parks provide activities for kids of all ages, including dedicated spaces and rides for small children. The water park offers a mix of rides and slides, water playgrounds and splash pads, pools, and a lazy river. At Big Kahuna’s Adventure Park, you’ll find rides, family-friendly attractions, and tropical mini-golf courses.

2. Go on a Crab Island Adventure Tour

Local companies offer action-packed tours for families on vacation in Destin, FL, like the Crab Island Adventure Tour. You’ll enjoy a scenic multi-stop boat tour and sightseeing, great for kids of all ages. Activities include playing in a floating adventure park course, exploring in clear-bottom kayaks or stand-up paddleboards, hunting for seashells, snorkeling, and exploring the famous Crab Island sandbar.

3. See dolphins and sea lions at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park has been a Destin institution for marine conservation for over 60 years, with a range of creature exhibits, programs, shows, and animal encounters. Gulfarium is a smaller center focusing on regional marine life where you can learn about some of Florida’s native dolphins and sea lions through interactive shows and animal chats. You’ll also find exhibits with alligators, tortoises and turtles, birds, and other fascinating wildlife. A touch-tank is available so kids can learn about and interact directly with some of the unusual sea-creatures.

4. Watch fireworks at HarborWalk Village

HarborWalk Village at the Destin Harbor Boardwalk is a hub for kids’ activities, family-friendly adventures, and waterfront dining. In HarborWalk Village you’ll find local restaurants and fresh-caught seafood, attractions, waterfront shopping, live music and concerts, and weekly events and fireworks displays. Many of the HarborWalk’s events, like live music and fireworks, are free to enjoy. The boardwalk also houses many of the local sailing tours and charters, paddleboard and kayak rentals, and lots of fishing opportunities.

5. Race go-karts and play games at The Track

The Track is a great spot for adventure-seekers, housing 5 unique go-kart tracks including elevated tracks and slide tracks. You’ll also find rides, blaster boats, and bumper cars. You can play through family-friendly mini-golf courses and enjoy tons of games in Fat Daddy's Arcade. Rides have minimum height/weight requirements for children, with information available on their website.

6. Sail the high seas with Buccaneer’s Pirate Cruise

Buccaneer’s Pirate Cruise offers pirate cruises and adventures for the young and young at heart. You’ll climb aboard a pirate ship anchored in HarborWalk Village before sailing the waters of the Emerald Coast with the captain and crew. Kids can join in on activities like pirate training, sword fights, water gun battles, a hidden treasure hunt, and even authentic cannon fire. You can participate in the fun, or kick back and enjoy sailing the high seas while your kids play.

7. Build a mega-castle with Beach Sand Sculptures

Building sandcastles on the beach is a classic family activity for fun and creativity on vacation. If you want to level up your sandcastle game, Beach Sand Sculptures hosts sandcastle-building lessons where they’ll teach you how to create your own mega-castles. You’ll learn techniques and tips from a professional, and then build your own 3- to 4-foot sandcastle sculpture with guidance from your castle coach. It’s a nostalgic activity to do with your kids in Destin, and you’ll gain some boss-level sandcastle-building skills to take on future vacations.

8. Enjoy bowling and movies at Destin Commons

Destin Commons offers families in Destin a ton of things to do with kids, including a free outdoor play space and splash pad in the center of the complex. You can catch a family-friendly flick at AMC Movie Theater, then head to Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill for snacks and a game of bowling in the underwater-themed bowling alley. A colorful mural art walk through the complex provides a great backdrop for some vacation pictures together. The center is also pet-friendly, providing doggie hydration stations and restaurants with dog-friendly outdoor patios.

9. Take surfing lessons at Ride On Surf School

If you’re looking for things to do with your kids in Destin FL, you should check out surfing lessons at Ride On Surf School. Their professional instructors can teach surfing to anyone who can swim, so even if you or your kids have never touched a surfboard, they can teach you. Surfing is a great way for kids to build confidence in themselves and have a great time in the water, and Ride On will supply the surfboard and gear for each lesson.

10. See a magic show at HarborWalk Theater

HarborWalk Theater is an indoor performance venue hosting magic, comedy, and variety shows in the waterfront HarborWalk Village. Performances, like the Maximum Magic Show, are entertaining for all ages, showing amazing illusions and magic tricks, kid-friendly comedy, and mind-reading. Shows include tons of audience participation, so you or your kids might even be selected to get in on the action. HarborWalk Theater is a smaller boutique venue, there are no bad seats in the house, so no matter what show you catch here you’ll have great views of the stage.

11. Play mini-golf and laser tag in Destin

If you’re looking for indoor things to do with kids in Destin, FL, you’ll find multiple family-friendly activities at Laser Tag Destin. You can play through an 18-hole mini-golf course under black lights, or head to the arcade to play pool, air hockey, and a mix of classic and modern arcade games. Laser tag games are fun for parents and kids, and if you have kids under 5 that are too small to play on their own, you can wear the pack and let your little one fire the laser.

12. Get creative at Redbird Art Experience

Redbird Art Experience is a unique indoor workshop where you can make your own mixed-media art piece. Staff artists can help you with ideas and inspiration before you select your base piece and collage materials, with options like seashells, mother of pearl, metal, beads, jewelry, and sea glass. Plenty of kid-safe materials are on hand, and artists can help you with creative direction as needed. Your finished art piece will be cast in resin overnight for you to pick up the next day. Your family can work together or create separate pieces of artwork.

Cheap activities to do with kids in Destin, FL

13. Swim and play on Destin beaches

Destin is known for white-sand beaches and emerald water, great for inexpensive quality time with your family. Henderson Beach State Park provides direct beach access along with facilities and pavilions, a playground and kids park, and a nature trail. James Lee Park has beach access and swimming, restrooms and showers, and picnic pavilions. Norriego Point is a great place to stop if you’re boating, kayaking, or paddleboarding around Destin Harbor, with picturesque rolling sand dunes and sea oats waving in the breeze.

14. Go fishing at The Island Pier

The Island Pier is located on the west end of Okaloosa Island, stretching over 1200 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. This is a great local fishing spot, and an inexpensive kid-friendly activity in Destin, FL. Fishing passes, poles, and supplies for adults and kids are available for rent at the base of the pier, and a daily fishing license is included with the purchase of a fishing pass. If you aren’t into fishing, you can purchase an inexpensive observer/walking pass to enjoy the sights on the pier. Sunsets are especially beautiful off the pier, and you can keep an eye out for the wildlife that frequents the area including dolphins, sea turtles, pelicans, heron, and lots of fish.

15. Cruise the harbor with Destin Water Taxi

Many of Destin’s family activities are located around the harbor, so Destin Water Taxi is a great way to travel and sightsee around the area. They provide inexpensive pick-up and drop-off services at virtually any location on the harbor, including popular destinations like Norriego Point, Holiday Isle, HarborWalk Village, and all of the area restaurants. It’s more convenient and fun than a car drop-off service or finding parking around the harbor, and you’ll likely see local wildlife while you’re on the water. They also offer budget-friendly harbor cruises for sightseeing, turtle watching, and dolphin spotting.

16. Take your fur-kids and your human kids to Destin Dog Park

If your family vacation to Destin, FL includes furry 4-legged family members, you can check out Destin Dog Park for some inexpensive, off-leash family fun. The park stretches over 3 acres of Bermuda grass, with plenty of open areas to run around for both your fur-kids and your human kids. Separate spaces are fenced for small dogs and large dogs, and both provide shady areas under pine and oak trees. You’ll also find water fountains and doggie hydration stations, plus benches to relax on.