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4 Travel Savvy Tips for Your First Destin Vacation

Beautiful sand and water at Henderson Beach State Park in Destin.

There is nothing like your first vacation in Destin, FL! Boasting some of the nation’s most beautiful beaches and a uniquely welcoming atmosphere, our Gulfside city casts a spell on visitors that lasts a lifetime. To help you make the most of your Destin vacation, we have put together four travel savvy tips for beginners.

1. Choose the Right Airport

Many residents of the Southeast are lucky enough to be within driving distance of the Emerald Coast. Destin is less than 5 hours from New Orleans, LA, Birmingham, AL, Atlanta, GA, and Jackson, MS (depending on traffic).

If you live too far away to drive, you can fly into one of the three airports in the Destin area. We suggest checking flights at all of these airports so you can find the very best rates for your trip. Once you land, you can rent a car to use for the remainder of your Destin vacation. Here are the closest airports to Destin:

  • Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport – about 30 minutes from the Vacation Happily office
  • Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport – about 1 hour from our office
  • Pensacola International Airport – about 1 hour and 20 minutes from our office

2. Know What Weather to ExpectSeashell on the beach.

Destin offers beautiful weather throughout the year! Visitors will be able to soak up the sun and go swimming well into the fall. During the winter, vacationers can still enjoy walking along the beach, boating, golfing, bicycling, and other outdoor activities. Here are Destin’s average highs and lows in each month:

  • January – 61, 45 °F
  • February – 63, 47 °F
  • March – 68, 53 °F
  • April – 74, 60 °F
  • May – 82, 68 °F
  • June – 87, 75 °F
  • July – 89, 77 °F
  • August – 89, 76 °F
  • September – 86, 72 °F
  • October – 79, 63 °F
  • November – 70, 54 °F
  • December – 62, 47 °F

3. Enjoy Free Concerts and Entertainment

During peak season, the Emerald Coast hosts a number of free concerts and celebrations that are popular with visitors and locals alike. Here are some of the special events you can enjoy at the HarborWalk Village from June through August:

  • The HarborWalk Village brings a taste of New Orleans to Destin with weekly Fat Tuesday Parades, complete with costumes, floats, beads, and live music.
  • On Thursday evenings, the Harbor Walk Village salutes America’s heroes with WWII vintage air shows, live entertainment, and fireworks as part of the Red, White, and Blue Hero Celebrations.
  • The “Rock the Docks” concert series runs every Saturday night and features some of the best bands on the Emerald Coast.

Additionally, the Village of Baytowne Wharf offers a number of recurring free events throughout the spring and summer months:

  • On many “Boomin Tuesdays” in March through August, the Village hosts spectacular fireworks shows, along with lawn games and inflatables.
  • The Wednesday Night Concert Series runs from March through October and features a variety of talented musicians from around the Florida Panhandle and beyond.
  • On many “Magical Thursdays” in March through August, Captain Davy the Pirate wows families with two evening magic shows.

A wonderful vacation rental in Destin, FL.4. Stay at a Vacation Rental

A vacation rental is far and away the best option for your first Destin vacation. The Destin area is home to a number of beautiful condos and homes that are located minutes (and sometimes steps) away from the beach. Vacationers can choose properties with all of the amenities they’re looking for, including balconies, fully furnished kitchens, BBQ grills, high-speed internet, washers and dryers, swimming pool access, and even more great features. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of Destin vacation rentals!