Spring Break Destin: Family Friendly or College Beach Party?

spring break Destin

Every spring, schools and universities across the country close their doors for one week during the months of March and April to observe a designated vacation from the everyday challenges of working hard towards the American dream. It’s a time to take in the first signs of warm sunny days that entice everyone to get outdoors and escape those winter blues!

What better place to spend your Spring Break vacation than in the Sunshine State? With a calling card for outdoor adventure and relaxing days on the beach, you’ll find just what you need in Destin, Florida, where temperatures heat up and the city comes to life for spring break festivities! When it comes to providing your family with the full package kind of spring break vacation to carry you through the rest of the school year, Destin is where you want to be for Spring Break 2017!

Where I want to be! Emerald Coast FL 2015 from BIVFL on Vimeo.


With the most incredible beaches, world class deep sea fishing, and boat loads of experiences that you won’t find anywhere else, the City of Destin preserves the image of family values that will keep you coming back year after year. Tucked along the emerald coast in what is referred to as the Florida Panhandle, Destin is located about 50 miles east of Pensacola, and 55 miles west of Panama City Beach, “The Spring Break Capital of the World.”


The atmosphere of Destin during spring break differs from the rowdy beach parties found elsewhere along the Gulf Coast. Though Destin does encounter college and young adult visitors looking for a good time during their spring break vacations, most are traveling with families or educational advisers, who have returned each year for annual traditions like deep sea fishing charters, Cobia tournaments, St. Patrick’s Day events, Easter, shopping, and peaceful days on the beach. Destin has a strict intolerance for wild parties, including any behavior perceived to interrupt the experiences of peace seeking visitors, or threaten the family image that has been successfully maintained for decades.

Could Destin become the next Spring Break Capital of the World?

Spring Break PCB

Spring breakers fight on the beach in PCB. Image Source: WZEP AM1460

We have all seen the unfortunate result of college students, binge drinking, and the consequences of regrettable choices with the escalation PCB Spring Break parties in the past few years, but Spring Break 2015 forced officials to make big changes in what will be tolerated for Spring Break in Panama City Beach. As new ordinances begin the efforts to better control the dangers of alcohol, public indecency, and beach parties gone wrong, many college spring break websites have suggested alternative destinations to the Spring Break Capital.

Contrary to what some suggested would become the next beach party hot spot for college Spring Break, Destin and Okaloosa County officials have long prevented such an occurrence, and will continue to enforce the standards of a family friendly spring break location, just as they did when the party was moved from Fort Lauderdale in 1985, from Daytona Beach in 1994, and, now, from Panama City Beach.

Is a Contingency Plan necessary for OCSO to prepare for Spring Break 2016 in Destin?

The OCSO recently proposed a $107,000.00 fund for the Spring Break 2016 Contingency Plan to secure a larger law enforcement presence in Destin. Could the provisions of the plan lead visitors to believe that college spring breakers are anticipated to take over Destin beaches?

According to Michele Nicholson of the Okaloosa Sheriff’s Public Information Department on the Contingency Plan for Spring Break 2016,

Our Tourist Development Council has always catered to families during Spring Break, and many of our hotels and condos will not rent to anyone under the age of 25.

Underage drinking is typically our biggest issue but has always been manageable in the past.

This contingency plan is in place just in case some of the issues seen in Bay County should try to migrate over here during Spring Break. Law Enforcement’s reaction will be swift and thorough based on the necessary level of response.”

Therefore, though spring break is expected to remain family friendly in Destin, there are provisions for beefed up security, just in case there are any indications that rowdiness becomes a problem along the Emerald Coast! You can find more information on the plan in the  Interlocal Agreement 2016 for Okaloosa Sheriff Beach Patrols.

Why is Destin so strict on preserving a family image?

Child with red snapper

Family fishing on the Finest Kind

The annual events that occur in Destin during the spring break season are centered around making family memories with fun outdoor activities on the water. The city was founded on family values, and continues to grow in that direction. As a matter of fact, many local residents descended from those who founded Destin as a fishing village around 1845. New residents relocate to the Destin area, because it is a great place to establish and raise a family.

Finally, those who make annual visits are attracted to the family friendly atmosphere and coastal life experiences found in this unique destination. To allow wild beach parties that put young adults and minors in danger of choices that could potentially lead to lifelong consequences would contradict the foundational beliefs that brand Destin as a place where you want to bring your family.

Destin is a place where you want to take your children.

Destin is where you take your children to build their first sand castle on the beach, catch their first saltwater fish, and take in the beautiful scenery of sugar white sand and emerald water. A scenic venue that creates those picture perfect memories that we tend to hold on to forever! That is what makes Destin such a captivating setting. After all, once today’s generation of college students and young adults have families of their own, they’ll look for a beach destination with family friendly values. Destin will be there waiting with the same standards maintained throughout changes of time!

Are young adults and college students welcome to Destin during Spring Break 2017?

Absolutely! Destin’s family friendly atmosphere extends welcoming arms to all young adults and college students for Spring Break 2016, and there are plenty of activities that might appeal to such a crowd! Destin officials understand that the problems of rowdiness are usually induced by a small group that spreads like a poison across the majority, and that is why Destin is so heavily patrolled by LEOs who act fast to remove those displaying unruly behavior. If you do choose to visit the area for Destin Spring Break 2017, just make sure that you wisely consider who you’re traveling with, and don’t share the same ride with someone who has a reputation for causing trouble. 

Letter to College Students Under 25? – The Struggle is REAL

You may encounter difficulty in finding a vacation rental that is willing to lease the property, condo, or room to anyone under 25 years of age. The purpose of this precaution is that time has proven a risk for young adults who drink alcohol and either make bad choices themselves, or suffer from the vulnerability of being taken advantage of by fellow travelers. Your buddies come along with you and throw a party that destroys the rental, and you are responsible for the damage.  If you don’t realize that the property is under attack, and your so-called friends destroy property beyond the repairs of losing your deposit, then you could be prosecuted. Start here for help finding a Spring Break rental if you are under the age of 25.

One Night Flight

Then, there are the cases of one night flights that usually occur within your first night of spring break in Destin. Whether you get someone over the age of 25 to secure a rental for you, or maybe you’ve been able to talk an owner or manager into letting the rule slide, the best advice that you’ll be handed is to consider this a probationary period of stay. If you break rules or throw a party that gets out of control, LEOs will be on the scene quickly, and you could, again, face charges for damaged property. The one night flight refers to your one night in Destin, in which you’ve paid your fees for the rental, but you broke the agreement with the property managers, by which the contract is broken, you lose your money, and you are escorted away from the rental with no place to go. Your spring break has suddenly taken a turn for the worse, and your name will be remembered in Destin among property owners and managers for next year.

Advice: If you are under 25, and you are lucky enough to find a rental, treat it with respect, and you may slip through the cracks. If you don’t think that you can handle the responsibility respecting a rental with captivating scenery and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy surrounding your view, wait a few more years before you visit Destin for spring break. Also, if you plan on hitting up the beach at Whale’s Tail in Miramar Beach, check out the rules for Walton County’s Spring Break! Read the letter from Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Jr. 

What attractions might appeal to college students around Destin?

Crab Island

Spring Break Fishing Destin

Deep Sea Fishing with the Finest Kind

Crab Island has long been a favorite for college students. The island is submerged under water, and you’ll have to rent a water taxi or pontoon to get there, but the floating party lasts throughout spring break and summer weekends! With hundreds
of boaters, music, and inflatable toys, you’re sure to find some fellow party mates on Crab Island. Just be sure to keep yourself in check. When there is a crowd at Crab Island, Marine Patrol sticks around to keep an eye on the party. Anyone caught drinking underage, displaying indecent behavior, or breaking any other laws, can expect a visit from one of these officers.

Deep Sea Fishing

If you are hitting the scene of Destin for Spring Break 2016 don’t pass up the chance for deep sea fishing in the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.” You’ll have the chance to travel into the Gulf of Mexico with your fellow spring breakers, and get the reel hook-up on what Destin, Florida is all about. Spring break is a prime time for fishing in Destin, and you can’t find an experience like this anywhere else along the Gulf Coast. As temperatures rise, the bites heat up, and did we mention Cobia yet? With half, 3/4, full day, and overnight trips, you can choose to charter a deep sea fishing crew privately, or set up with a group to split the cost! Either way, you’ll have something to share back at campus about who got the hook-up during your Spring Break 2016 vacation in Destin. Book a Deep Sea Fishing Charter!

HarborWalk Village

Pontoon and wave runner rentals, parasailing, glass bottom boat, dolphin, and sea blaster tours, fishing charters, zip lining, rock climbing, shopping, and live entertainment can all be found at HarborWalk Village of Destin, Florida. For spring breakers looking to heat up the dance floor at one of Destin’s many hotspots, there are plenty of clubs and chill bars along HarborWalk Village that come alive at night! However, keep in mind that the laws against underage alcohol consumption are strictly enforced, and the local LEOs know how to spot fake ID cards, as it has all been tried before! Start making your plans for HarborWalk Village!

Whale’s Tail

The Whale’s Tail Beach Bar and Grill is now proclaimed as one of hottest Spring Break locations for college students, and is actually located very close to Destin. College students come from all over the country to place their school flags in the beach sand, show some school spirit, and hang out for about a PG13 rated party since they are sharing the beach with families and Walton County LEOs. That’s right! Walton County folks! After Destin was mentioned on a Total Frat Move post as a potential alternative to PCB, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office offered a geography lesson that spelled out the level of tolerance that will be given during Spring Break 2016 in Miramar Beach!

Family Friendly Activities for Spring Break 2017 in Destin

A Day at the Beach

Families have a harder time finding a dull moment than things to do in the Emerald Coast City of Destin, Florida. One of the most popular day activities for spring breakers is sinking your toes into the sugar white sand at one of Destin’s many beach locations. For a more secluded beach experience, try one of the beaches along Okaloosa Island or Henderson State Park. There is a small entrance fee for Henderson, and they close at sunset, but the atmosphere of the beach is perfect for families.

A day at the beach for families is filled with excitement, from building sand castles to splashing around in the water. If you want to step up your sand castle building skills, check out Beach Sand Sculptures and schedule a private lesson! Check out Kitty Hawk Kites and SUP board rentals to add to your enjoyment. Remember to bring towels, sunscreen, and flip flops. If you’re visiting in early to mid-March, bring along a light jacket for morning and evening temperature drops!

Family fishing Destin

Family Deep Sea Fishing in Destin with the Finest Kind

Family Deep Sea Fishing Trips

Deep sea fishing in Destin is an activity that is loved by all ages! It’s also king of the trademark of the city. You could travel the world over and never experience deep sea fishing excursions like those found in Destin. Chartering a deep sea fishing boat and crew in the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” is a must do if you plan on visiting Destin for Spring Break 2016. Without sinking a hook, in the Gulf of Mexico with a fisherman guide who knows all of the best fishing spots, you’re just not getting the full Destin, Florida experience. The fishing season is really picking up during the months of March and April, and fishing tournaments draw in some of the most famous fishermen in the world.

There is no age limit for fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, and a variety of trips are available depending on the level of interest that you have in the sport. Half day charters are available for families traveling with small children, and ¾ day, full day, and overnight charters are reserved for those seeking a deeper fishing experience! Families may charter a boat privately, or schedule with other groups seeking the same schedule! Fishing license, bait, and ice are included in your charter, but the best part is the willingness of the crew to teach your family the secrets of successful fishing in the Gulf of Mexico!

Learn more about deep sea fishing in Destin, Florida, or Schedule a Destin Spring Break 2016 Deep Sea Fishing Charter!

HarborWalk Village

A day in HarborWalk Village is just the ticket for a one of a kind Destin experience, no matter which season you choose to visit, but Spring Break is one of the best times to explore Destin’s Boardwalk! Check out the largest fishing fleet in the state as you stroll along the docks, and watch in amazement as you witness the day’s catch! Your family will enjoy live entertainment, adventurous activities on the dock and in the water, and shopping that exhibits true coastal living. Dine in one of Florida’s famous harbor restaurants that serve fresh seafood with catches coming in from the Gulf of Mexico. Hop aboard a dolphin cruise, boating tour, or snorkel adventure to explore the emerald waters of Destin, or rent your own pontoon boat and wave runners for a private view of the Choctawhatchee Bay! Everyone in the family will have a blast at HarborWalk Village. Start planning your day at HarborWallk Village!

Find a room for your Destin spring break vacation! 

Learn more about HarborWalk Village!

Book your Spring Break 2017 Deep Sea Fishing Charter! 

Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Share on StumbleUpon0Tweet about this on Twitter
Facebook Comments

Comments are closed.