Dolphin Watching, Cruises, and Animal Encounters

What better way to observe dolphins than in their natural and unrestrained habitat? The cruises provided around Destin allow you to observe these intelligent and gentle creatures, feel the breeze on your face, and listen to the calls of seabirds as they soar around you. Check out the variety of cruises provided in the area.

=         Olin Marler Charter’s Boats Dolphin Watch and Destin History Cruise: Enjoy a 1.5 hour cruise while watching dolphins playing in their natural habitat. The Hannah Maria runs cruises daily and features a glass bottom viewing area, restrooms, snack area, as well as an air conditioned/heated cabin.

=         Bucaneer Pirate Cruise: An interactive Pirate Ship with an entertaining crew and a memorable experience.  Jump aboard for a treasure pirate adventure, storytelling, sword fights, water gun battles, and lifetime memories.

=         Southern Star Dolphin Cruises: Enjoy a relaxing 2 hour dolphin or sunset cruise aboard an 80 foot glass bottom boat. This cruise has been featured on both CNN and National Geographic. It offers dolphin watching, music, bird feeding, informative guides, climate controlled environment, and kids get the chance to pilot the boat.

=         SunQuest Cruises: The Solaris provides fine dining with chef-prepared meals, a full service bar, and live entertainment while cruising into the sunset. Its perfect for romantic outings, celebrations, and is available for private charter as well.

=         Nathaniel Bowditch Sailing Adventures: This classic sailing schooner offers elegant adult wine/cheese cruises as well as family dolphin cruises. Here you can enjoy a leisurely 3 hour cruise while enjoying a variety of six fine table wines and seven cheeses selected daily by the captain from over 200 different varieties.

=         Destin Snorkel: Dive beneath the waves and discover the underwater world through snorkeling and snuba trips. Scuba is wonderful form of introductory diving. It provides you with swim-fins, diving mask, weights, and diving regulator as with scuba diving, but the war is supplied through a hose from the boat on the surface. This allows you to become a diver for a day without having to complete any certifications.

=         Gator Beach: Enjoy dinner while learning and observing and learning about alligators in their artificial wetland pond. Here you have the chance to observe and even feed 80 alligators in a safe and fun environment. Gator Beach even houses a rare albino alligator. Did you know that there are only 50 albino alligators in the entire US?

=         Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park: Discover the wonder of the ocean at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. Education exhibits and playful animals await to put on a spectacular show. This Marine Adventure Park will be cerebrating its 60th anniversary in 2015, marking at as one of the world’s oldest marine animal parks in operation. Did you know they were the first marine park to perform underwater shows using SCUBA gear instead of the full helmet dive gear used back in the day? They were also the first to record a dolphin jumping 21 feet high and raising a stranded baby bottlenose dolphin.

=         Gulf Breeze Zoo & Botanical Gardens:  Domestic and exotic animals surrounded by botanical gardens abound at the Gulf Breeze Zoo. Here you will find Gorilla Island, the Farm as well as Japanese gardens, Bengal tigers and more.


If your thirsty for adrenaline, speed, thrills Destin meets your needs. Here you will discover an abundance of jet skiing, parasailing, water-sports, and more.

=         Wet-N-Wild Watersports Rent jet skies or pontoon boats for adventures out on the water. Wet-N-Wild has it all. Dolphin tours, parasailing, wave runners, pontoon boats and more! From fast action to simply relaxing, give them a call on your trip.

=         Mobile Sports LLC:  Destin’s Original Banana Boat Ride.  This 20 ft speed boot  gives rides around local waters and has been ranked #1 for five years in a row. In addition to Banana boat rides, Mobile Sports LLC offers Crab Island tours. This is a fascinating attraction featuring a massive underwater sandbar.

Amusements and Rides

If you need a break from the beach and salt water, Destin offers several amusement/adventure parks, as well as rides.

12.  Amusement USA: Features trampolines, Hamster Balls, HarborWalk Village, and so much more. Zipline & Free Fall at World Class Amusements is also found at the HarborWalk Village.

13.  Beach Helicopter Tours: Get a bird’s eye view of Destin by taking to the skies and circling the pristine sand beaches and the span of sparkling emerald water.

14.  Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park: Over 40 water attractions, three tropical mini golf courses, go-karts, and two adrenaline pumping rides for the thrill seekers. The best time to hit this attraction is in the morning before the beach crowd comes in to escape the scorching midday heat.

15.  The Track: Discover a thee-tiered go-kart/ roller coaster hybrid or take a 75-foot drop through bungee jumping. The Track has something for all ages including a Kid’s Country zone making it an ideal family activity. This location is sure to provide you with adrenaline. The karts are very close to the ground and extremely aerodynamic. As soon as you start applying the speed you will feel as though you are flying around the bends.

16.   Fudpucker’s Fat Daddy’s Arcade: Perfect entertainment center with over 65 of the most popular games. Features racing games, interactive, kids, basketball free throws, Guitar Hero and more. This attraction is great for those rainy vacation days when there is nothing to do in the hotel room.

17.  Emerald Coast Science Center: Unique museum with over 250 interactive science exhibits.

18.  Ft. Walton Skating Center: Skating rink with 6200 watts of impressive sound, special effects light show, and a skate shop.

15.   Ultimate 7D Interactive Movie: Full of excitement, the Ultimate 7D movie allows you to travel on a roller coaster or be part of interactive shooting- all without leaving your seat. Make your next movie night a memorable one by actively participating.

16.  Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill: Take bowling to new depths in this underwater themed bowling alley. Custom bowling balls featuring handmaiden murals, mermaids, octopuses, and other underwater creatures.

17.  Zip Adventures: Here at Baytowne Adventure Zone you will discover four different experiences at one location. You can soar across the lagoon with an aerial view of the Village, test your balance on the Sky Trail Ropes course, complete the Tower Climb, and Eurobungy.

18.   HarborWalk Marina: Admire the variety of luxurious yachts and sailboats or hop aboard one as there are several companies offering dolphin cruises, deep sea fishing, and parasailing.

19.  Village Door Nightclub: Has been voted “Best Place to Dance” by both Destin and Emerald Coast Magazines reader’s pools. The Staff is friendly and the music contagious.


Natural State Parks and preserves allow you to enjoy the natural beauty of the beaches, sand dunes, and forests in their unspoiled state. Destin has several natural park and recreation areas with plenty of space, picnic areas, beaches, and hiking trails.

20.  Henderson Beach State Recreation Area: This state park covers a span of 208 acres that includes woodlands and coast. There is ample space for swimming along the 6000feet of coast line. Hiking trails and bathhouses are also available as well as picnic tables with grills, and campsites.

21.  Topsail Hill State Preserve: 1600 ares that include everything from lakes, pine forests, dunes towering 25 feet tall, and 3.2 miles of secluded white sand beaches. Within this park you will also find three rare coastal dune lakes with amazing freshwater fishing. Fishing here is only allowed from the shoreline where you can catch bass, bream, catfish, and panfish. A tram service provides quick rides to the beach.

22.  Eden State Gardens: Encompassing 163 acres of land, the Eden State Gardens contains part of the historic Wesley homestead. The main attraction is the renovated 1897 two story mansion with its historic white columns and wrap around porch. Visitors can take a guided tour of the house, stroll through the gardens, enjoy a picnic, or go fishing.

23.  Okaloosa Island Boardwalk: Expansive beaches, clubs and restaurants line the Boardwalk. It is often described as a one-stop destination for fun, both day an night.