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4 Sep 2021
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Things to Do

You can smell summer’s end and back-to-school time in the air just as distinctly as you can the sea salt wafting off the Emerald Coast. Lined paper and crayons replace goggles and floats as seasonal items in stores, and shorefront traffic begins to dwindle. This is how you know it’s time for back-to-school, but before backpacks replace beach towels for another nine months, these are the seven things you must-do in Destin before the school bell rings.

Whet Your Wild-Side at an Adventure Park

It’s no secret that the roads lining Destin’s beautiful coast line are populated with lots of interesting and exciting to-dos and eats, and one thing that is an absolute must-do in Destin before back-to-school is blowing off some lingering summer steam at an adventure park.

One of the better-known parks is the Destin-staple Big Kahunas Water & Adventure Park. There’s the waterpark jam-packed with two lazy rivers, water slides galore, and multiple kiddie play areas as well as private cabanas for ultimate relaxation. They also have miniature golf on-site and two high-flying swinging adventures, which offer devil-may-care high-flying thrills of freefalling…perfect for your back-to-school blastoff.

Equally enthralling is The Track located on Highway 98 near Big Kahunas. The Track is perfect for anyone with an insatiable need for speed before it’s time to slow down for back-to-school. The go-karts, arcade, and other adrenaline-boosting rides are exactly the kind of fun every kid and kid-at-heart needs to have in Destin before headed back to school.

Sail the Seas & Take a Dolphin Tour

Once you’ve had the time of your life at the adventure parks, get ready to kick back and marvel at the wonders of nature on a dolphin boat tour. Dolphin tours are prevalent around Destin (two of the most popular are AJ’s Water Adventures and Southern Star Dolphin Cruises) and are incredible ways to experience both the exquisite crystal clear emerald waters as well as the joy of marine life. Educational and fun, dolphin tours are a perfect to-do in Destin before back-to-school.

Laze a Day Away at Crab Island

If you’ve ever looked out into the water near Destin Harbor you’ve crossed the bridge into Destin, then you’ve no doubt see the aquatic phenomenon that is Crab Island, a community of boaters and floaters just hanging out and loving life in the water. Accessible only by boat, Crab Island is a sandbar where the name of the game is fun and rest and relaxation.

No boat? No problem! There are plenty of rental options including a shuttle boat you can take along with some fancier tour options, which can include access to the fun and fabulous inflatable slides and floats positioned on the water. It’s a getaway on top of a last-summer-hurrah getaway.

Interact at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

You don’t have to go deep-sea diving to experience marine life. The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park in Destin will give you everything you need. It’s a great place to go before back-to-school official kicks in. With interactive tours that allow you to snorkel with stingrays or discover penguins, stingrays, or turtles, or chill dockside with dolphins, you’ll have limitless fun at the Gulfarium. There’s also a kid-friendly reptile-petting experience that will really help motivate your kids to get ready to get back into the swing of education. (They’ll be all too-ready to tell their new teachers and classmates about what they learned at the Gulfarium!)

Shop Fresh & Local at the Grand Boulevard Farmer’s Market

Strolling and shopping at the Saturday morning Grand Boulevard Farmer’s Market is a must-do regardless of where you are in your back-to-school breakaway. The market, which is located at the walkable and shoppable Grand Boulevard town center, has delicious produce, artisanal goods, and crafts. It’s a worthy to-do before headed back-to-school.

Stroll Nature Trails & Picnic at Henderson State Park

Henderson State Park is one of the prettiest state parks in the country, and it’s a perfect way to get off the beaten path and into a quiet natural respite before you get back to school. Its nature trails and picnic spots are perfect for experiencing nature and the quartz-white sand characteristic of the Emerald Coast without any distraction. It’s a perfect site to enjoy some of your goodies from the Grand Boulevard Farmer’s Market.

Shop the Day Away at the Destin Commons

Finally, no back-to-school adventure is complete without a little back-to-school shopping, and there is no better place to shop in Destin than at the Destin Commons. The Destin Commons is jam-packed with unique shops for clothes, shoes, books, accessories, décor, and other essentials along with places to sip, snack, eat, and drink. A day at the Destin Commons is a must-do in Destin before headed back-to-school.

While these seven to-dos are arguably must-dos, there’s no limit to the fun and exciting ways to bid summer fun adieu before headed back to school when in Destin. Make this your best sunset yet.

Even though summer is ending, it doesn’t mean that the fun is over. There are multiple ways to enjoy Destin before back-to-school. Where you stay definitely impacts how you play. Visit My Vacation Haven to find the perfect Destin vacation destination for all of your back-to-school travel needs.

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