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Let's Have Some Fun on the Destin Harbor

October 30, 2013 by Harbor Partin

If you haven’t made your way over to Destin to spend some time on the harbor, you are missing out! The Destin Harbor is home to a thriving charter fishing fleet, a place for all kind of fun on the water, and a feast for the senses where some of Florida’s best seafood is served up daily.

Last year the city opened the Destin Harbor Boardwalk and made more businesses, restaurants and boat docks more accessible to those wanting to experience everything the area has to offer. With so much new development popping up all the time, it's difficult to know what’s best about the harbor, so here are some essential local hot spots that you won’t want to miss.

A good place to start is the Harborwalk Village, which sits on the opening of the harbor and at the start of the Destin Harbor Boardwalk. If you’re looking for family fun, there are lots of kid-friendly activities to be found like the brand new zip line and rock climbing towers. For adults, there is almost always live entertainment going on, whether it’s karaoke at Harry T’s or a concert series at the Harborwalk village stage - plus the view of the East pass here at sunset is unbeatable. 

The dining options on the harbor are numerous and many of these local eateries serve seafood that is so fresh it was just caught that morning. Just down the boardwalk from Harborwalk is Dewey Destin’s, who’s original dock-side location on the bay has been a local favorite for years. Like the original, Dewey’s second location has tons of old Florida charm. Though this newer harbor location is a little more formal (but not by much), it still has the local flair and great quality that makes it worth your while. 


Dewey Destin’s isn’t just a clever name, the restaurant is owned and operated by the area’s namesake family and sits on their old harbor-side estate. Visitors can expect local favorites like grouper sandwiches (voted the Emerald Coast’s best), fried shrimp and grilled amberjack served with plenty french fries and hushpuppies, all in a friendly and casual atmosphere. 

Harbor Docks is another dinner locale that truly stands out from the others. Their food isn’t just fresh, they have their own boats that bring in the catch every day. Harbor Docks’ sushi bar is also exceptional and during the summer months when the Hibachi side of the restaurant is open it is worth the long wait. 

If you’re looking for something more casual, then you should check out the Boathouse Oyster Bar & Grill, a true local dive. This old wooden shanty that sits over the water is possibly Destin’s best place for oysters. The Boathouse experience is fresh Apalachicola oysters by the dozen, prepared however you want, paired with some cheap beer, live music and a cool breeze off the water. Whether you like them raw, fried, steamed or baked, you can’t go wrong here.

If seafood isn’t your thing, than Burrito Del Sol is the place to go. Served out of an Airstream trailer, this taco stand has exceptionally delicious mexican food, served fast and late into the night. Try a baja style burrito after a couple of drinks at The Red Door Saloon across the street and you will be hard pressed to find anything more satisfying. 


If you’re wanting to play in the sun, a great way to take in the harbor life is from Norriego Point. The stretch of dunes on the south side of the harbor has excellent views of the harbor on one side and the East Pass on the other It’s a perfect spot for families enjoy the sand and the water. On the pass side of the point are two coves that are perfect for swimming or paddling a paddle board around. At night, Norriego offers up great views of the harbor lit up. Lots of people come to Norriego point by boat, but it is also accessible from Gulf Shore Drive on Holiday Isle. 

Just under the bridge on the bay side of the Destin Harbor is Crab Island, the shallow sandbar in the pass that has become a popular hang out where you can drop your anchor wade out in the waist deep water. During the summer there is everything you could imagine at crab island from inflatable games, to live bands on barges to daquiri delivery boats. Though it can get pretty crowded, there’s not much that beats Crab Island when the tide is high and the water is crystal clear. Need a way to get out there? There a few boat rental companies on Destin Harbor, including Wet-N-Wild Watersports where you can pick up a pontoon boat or a jet ski and join in on the fun. 

On top of all of that there are charter fishing excursions, standup paddle boarding, SCUBA and snorkel tours and so much more. The possibilities of fun on the Destin Harbor are practically endless. 


Harbor Partin's picture

Harbor was born on the Emerald Coast and is proud to be a Floridian. When he's not writing for Sowal or running day-to-day operations for Salt Paddleboards, Harbor tries to spend as much time as he can on the water, either sailing or chasing elusive gulf surf.

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