Destin Florida Spring Break Tips
Destin, Florida is known for its exquisite sugar white sandy beaches, emerald green water, and unrivaled deep sea fishing experiences. These factors, along with breathtaking scenery painted in every direction, keep Destin as the top spring break destination for families across the United States. This once sleepy fishing village has won its place in our hearts as the perfect location to breath in the salt water air and spend time with our loved ones in one of America’s most beautiful settings.
If you’re reading this post, chances are that you’re planning your Destin, Florida spring break vacation, and you’d like to know the best tips and tricks for getting the most out of your trip. First of all, I must say that you’ve chosen a magnificent venue and a wonderful time of year to visit Destin. The spring season holds the best weather for exploring the town with cooler breezes in the morning, and warm sunny afternoons. You will most likely go home with nice tan, but without suffering from the sometimes extreme heat that follows in the summer months.
Your Destin spring break vacation will definitely be the highlight of your year regardless of how you spend the week. However, these tips and tricks will help you to navigate Destin to make your stay in paradise even more amazing.
- Book a Fishing Charter – If you’re going to spend time in Destin, deep sea fishing is a must-do experience. Destin is known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” for a reason. With the largest fishing fleet in the state of Florida, deep sea fishing is kind of a big deal around these parts. With spring break holding one of the most popular times to visit, we recommend that you schedule your deep sea fishing trip well in advance. Never wait until you get into town to schedule your charter, because you may get stuck on a low quality boat, or you may miss out on the experience all-together. To learn more about spring break deep sea fishing in Destin, CLICK HERE.
- Schedule Your Charter Early – Always plan your deep sea fishing charter towards the beginning of your vacation. There are times when fishing charters must be cancelled for inclement weather. Spring weather is mostly conducive to great fishing conditions, but there are always a few of those stormy days that roll in during the season. If the charter is cancelled for weather reasons, you have the option to reschedule for a trip later in the week, granted there is availability on the charter boat for another day. If not, your captain will usually recommend another charter boat, or at least point you in the right direction for securing a great charter experience.
- Do Your Homework – Destin is filled with a variety of water activity experiences. We recommend checking online to compare reviews between different companies offering the same experiences. From dolphin cruises to pontoon boat and wave runner rentals, and parasailing, there’s plenty to keep the action going in Destin. These experiences can normally be scheduled when you get into town, but you’ll want to know the difference between each company’s reputations. As you walk along HarborWalk Village, you’ll see plenty of glass bottom boats and sea blasters, but which one is right for your family? Considering reviews from previous guests may help you to decide. To learn about water activities offered along HarborWalk Village, CLICK HERE.
- One Day at a Time -There really is so much to do in Destin, Florida that it could take you a few weeks to experience everything. But that’s okay since you can come back again and again until you’ve seen it all. The best way to get the most out of your Destin spring break vacation is to designate a day for each experience. For example, day one might be designated for deep sea fishing and a nice cook your catch meal at one of the many world famous local seafood restaurants. Day two may be your beach day, while day three is your shopping day, and day four is your go-cart track and golf day. Planning with designated days for the activities that you intend to enjoy will ensure that everyone in your family gets to experience their favorite part of Destin’s many attractions.
Make Sure to Pack Layers – Layers are your friend during your Destin spring break vacation. Make sure that you pack shorts and tanks or tees with your swimsuit for those warm sunny afternoons, but don’t forget those light jackets for mornings and evenings. You may witness temperature variances of 20-30 degrees each day, so make sure that you are packing enough to keep yourself comfortable during your vacation.
- Pack for Your Deep Sea Fishing Charter – In addition to the items packed for your stay in Destin, consider the items that needed for your deep sea fishing charter. Of course, layers are your friend on the charter, but you will also want to bring quick-dry clothes, non-slip shoes, sun protective gear, and motion-sickness prevention for the day of your deep sea fishing trip. For a list of everything that you’ll need to pack for your deep sea fishing trip, CLICK HERE.
- Never Fear, Wal-Mart is Near – Families travelling to Destin for spring break often forget sunscreen, snacks for the beach, coolers, beach towels, and floats from home. That’s why most families make a designated stop by Wal-Mart as soon as they get into town to grab the necessities before starting their Destin spring break vacations. There are some advantages to holding off until you get to Destin’s Wal-Mart to buy some of these vacation necessities.
First of all, it’s Wal-Mart, so the prices on items are pretty close to same as the products’ cost at your local store. Second, sales tax is only 6% in Destin. So, if taxes are higher where ever you live, you’re already saving money by shopping in Destin. Lastly, most food items are tax-free in Florida, as long as they are not precooked items. Of course you will pay tax at restaurants, but groceries from Destin’s Wal-Mart, or in your case, beach snacks, are non-taxable.
- Top of Before You Get into Florida – If you’re driving into Destin from another state, you’ll want to stop for gas just before you get into Florida, as the gas prices tend to be a little more expensive in the state of Florida than other states in the Southeast. The price averages between 10-20 cents higher per gallon than Florida’s surrounding states. Though you are not saving a fortune, you will have a little extra pocket change for your next fill-up.
- Getting into Town Traffic – Traffic coming in and out of town during the weekends is always heavy. If you are taking the Mid-Bay Bridge, which is a cash only toll bridge, or the HWY331 Bridge, and you plan to travel mid-day, plan on an hour or two of slow moving traffic. Coming in from Fort Walton Beach over the Okaloosa Island on HWY 98, though usually steady moving, traffic can also become a challenge during mid-day on the weekends. If setting in traffic drives you crazy, consider getting into town early on your check-in day, and leaving town early or late on your check-out day.
If check-in is 4:00 PM, then you can count on traffic getting heavy on the bridges by about 10:00 AM. Try to get into Destin by 7:00 AM, stop by Another Broken Egg Café or the Doughnut Hole for breakfast, swing into Wal-Mart for those items that you still need for your vacation, and then hang around somewhere close by your resort until check-in. The same consideration should be given to the day of check-out, and leaving by 7:00 AM or staying around town until after 7:00 PM are the best times to keep you moving and away from the bridge traffic.
- Navigating HWY 98- Weekdays during Destin’s most popular tourist seasons can place you in the middle of HWY 98 traffic at a standstill, making you late for reservations and costing valuable time during your vacation. To avoid high traffic times, plan on leaving your resort early, and sticking around the locations where any reservations may be for that day. This goes back to great planning for your trip. For example, if you have a dolphin cruise scheduled for 6:00 PM, but you plan on getting some shopping in on the same day, designate that day as a HarborWalk Village exploration day. Get there in the morning, and spend the day shopping, dining, and experiencing the coastal life offered at HarborWalk, and then walk onto your cruise that evening. If you must travel during the day for reservations, consider the time, and for mornings, add an hour of travel time, and an hour and a half or two hours for late afternoon or evening travel times.
As far as finding your attraction’s location, everything in Destin is accessible by way of HWY 98. East HWY 98 will bring you towards San Destin and, eventually, Panama City, while West HWY 98 will bring you back towards Fort Walton Beach, and eventually Pensacola. The beach is on the South side of Destin, so once you leave your resort, just remember your cardinal directions when navigating your way around HWY 98.
- Check Wal-Mart before Beach Shops – Now we’re loving on Wal-Mart a little too much, but only in the efforts to save you money on your Destin vacation. You’ll find that HWY 98 in Destin and Scenic HWY 98 are both lined with beach stores where we all love to stop in for a souvenir to remember our trip by. Most of these shops have great deals on t-shirts and trinkets, but for ordinary items like flip flops, sunglasses, beach towels, etc., you want to hold off until you get to Wal-Mart. You’ll find a significant price difference on the same quality items, so don’t just run into a beach shop for a quick pick-up on essential items. Save the beach stores for souvenirs, and keep Wal-Mart as your go-to for your everyday, “Oops I forgot to grab my beach towel from home,” safety net.
- Top Three Shop Till You Drop Locations – What goes better with coastal scenery and fishing experiences than shopping? If you love to shop for unique treasures and high-end goods, you have found paradise in Destin. With hundreds of shops and major retail outlets, you’ll find what you’re searching for in a number of locations. Here’s a list of must-visit locations around the Destin area where your family can experience the something for everyone phenomenon that tends to sparkle around this coastal town.
1. HarborWalk Village – Bringing visitors into the heart of Destin where it all started, HarborWalk Village is the go to shopping venue for nautical nic-nacs, coastal art, and sports fishing goods. A mixture of high-end boutiques are nestled along the harbor where your little ones can witness charters bringing in daily catches, zip line over the village, and witness true magic shows. Famous restaurants like AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, Margaretville, Harry T’s, Crab Island Cantina, and Jackacuda’s Seafood and Sushi are all awaiting for your lunch or dinner break from shopping.
2. The Destin Commons – This shopping mall has a ton of major brands that we Americans love, with a Bass Pro shops situated on end with Belk on the other, and over 70 other stores in between. Dining and entertainment are also found in the Destin Commons with fun places like Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill, Johnny Rockets, Fusion Bistro, and more. Sweet treats and a relaxing venue are to be found at the Destin Commons. This is the perfect shopping location for families with youngsters and teens.
3.Silver Sands Premium Outlets – Just west of Destin on HWY 98, you’ll find an area known as San Destin, where upscale coastal living is just the norm. There on the left coming from Destin, you’ll see a massive outdoor shopping mall with all of your favorite high-end brands. To make it even better, all of the stores have the brands at a discounted price. You’ll know it when you see it. With stores like Nautica, Merrell, the Gap, Osh Kosh, Gymboree, New Balance, Dooney & Burke, Columbia, Converse, Saks Fifth Avenue, Zales, and even the Disney Outlet Store, this is just heaven for serious shoppers who love to save on the best brands. You have to stop by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for chocolate covered strawberries. They are the best!
- Get the Book – Upon your arrival in Destin, you’ll want to stop by your resort lobby or the Destin Visitor’s Center to pick up a couple of attraction booklets like the See Emerald Coast Visitor Magazine that is filled with attraction information and coupons for fun activities all over the town of Destin. You’ll save a few dollars off of many attractions, dining, and shopping experiences that will add up pretty quickly. Also, look at the brochures found in your resort lobby and the Visitor’s center, as you will also find coupon information near the bottom, on the back of the card. Make sure to let the company know that you have coupons when you make the reservation.
- Avoiding College Students at the Beach – Destin has always been, and will remain, a family spring break vacation destination. Some college students do choose to spend their spring break vacations in Destin, as well. Most of these college students are respectable young adults who plan to enjoy their spring break along the Emerald Coast without causing any kind of problems for families with young children at the beach. However, there are always those few in the group who forget their raising, and the Okaloosa Sheriff’s Department is quick to remind them. To learn how Okaloosa County plans to keep Destin a family first spring break destination, CLICK HERE.
In any case, you’re more likely to run into college students during spring break behind the Crab Trap on scenic HWY 98, and behind the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. If the thought of sharing the beach with a crowd of college students sounds unappealing, opt to visit the public beaches along Santa Rosa Boulevard on Okaloosa Island, the bay side of Okaloosa Island, Henderson Beach State Park, or stay at a resort with a private beach like the Emerald Grand. For a full list of great beaches in Destin, CLICK HERE.
- Don’t Get Burned – As you probably know, Florida is nicknamed the “Sunshine State.” With Florida’s close proximity to the equator, the ultraviolet rays from the sun are very strong. You can get nasty sunburn on a cloudy day in Destin. To prevent sunburns, or any other injuries from the sun during your Destin spring break vacation, always use sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, hats, and UV ray blocking clothing, especially for young children. You may not realize that your child has sunburn until you are back at your resort room, and it may seem odd that you were only at the beach for an hour on a cloudy day. Always come to the Sunshine State prepared with protective gear to prevent harmful UV rays from wrecking your week.
- Stay Hydrated – Another important factor to consider with the Florida sun is that you will need to keep yourself hydrated with plenty of fluids, even though the heat may not seem so bad. This again is especially important for children and also elderly family members. The beautiful scenery and exciting attractions can make many of us less in-tune with our body’s discomfort. Keeping a cooler in your vehicle with water and Gatorade or PowerAde during your Destin vacation can help to keep hydration a priority. When you arrive at the beach, make sure to have your cooler in tow. Avoid consuming too many sodas, since they can cause swelling when paired with Florida’s sun.
With these tips and tricks, you are sure to make the most of your 2017 Destin spring break vacation. Remember to plan ahead and do your homework, to pack layers, and plan on a trip or two to Wal-Mart. Once you’ve visited Destin, Florida, you’ll want to go again. You’ve a great decision to embark on an adventure in Destin, where you’ll witness the most beautiful scenery and encounter the friendliest locals. Get ready for the spring break vacation of a lifetime.
Don’t forget to book your deep sea fishing charter early. For more information on spring break deep sea fishing in Destin, check out Charter Fishing Destin.
Ready to book your Spring Break 2017 Deep Sea Fishing Charter? BOOK NOW