Under the right guidance, the clear blue waters around Destin's harbor become visible from every angle—the air, the surface, or deep below. Destin Snorkel leads a comprehensive roster of area adventure tours, granting guests total flexibility to join or leave their excursion at any time. Guides steer one of three boats through the bay, keeping all their participants' needed snorkeling or snuba gear onboard and unhaunted by pirate ghosts to allow frequent plunges into waters rich with seashells and wildlife. When not pausing at shallow-water dive sites, boats embark on day cruises for dolphin sightseeing tours or at night to showcase fireworks over the harbor skyline. Sea kayaks also allow visitors to venture off on their own into the waters around Crab Island and Holiday Isle.
Alternatively, FFA-certified flight instructors provide a different perspective, soaring over the coastline in beach-discovery flights. During any of the cruises and tours, guides may expound on the local ecosystem and the harbor's history, revealing whether the town's first civilians ever taught dolphins how to open their eyes above water.
Destin Parasailing whisks aquanauts on a variety of adventurous expeditions on the scenic waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Chartered deep-sea fishing trips cast lines for snapper and grouper and include a fishing license for the day, and jet ski and pontoon boat rentals are available. Destin Parasailing’s captains hold certification from the United States Coast Guard, and the company’s fleet of CWS boats is checked daily to ensure it exceeds all Coast Guard safety regulations.
Mobile Sports hands patrons the reins of inflatable banana-shaped steeds so they can take slippery jaunts along the Emerald Coast. A larger boat pulls each banana boat, controlling it according to the hand signals of up to six raucous riders. Banana captains can signal the driver to speed up, make sharp turns, or swing past schooners to make sure they're not trying to keep smuggled apes quiet.
Just off the beach, a man floats over the water, suspended in the air by streams of water jetting from his hands and feet as though he were testing an Iron Man–inspired apparatus. This back-mounted pack—called a Flyboard—works through a propulsive system that continually intakes and rapidly expels water, pushing the rider into the air or wherever he or she directs it to fly. The Flyboard, along with aqua trikes, WaveRunners, pontoon boats, kayaks, and standup paddleboards, comprise the unique rental fleet of Power Up Watersports. With these advanced watercrafts, Power Up’s team hopes to evolve Destin’s watersports scene, which includes plans to train the area’s dolphins to serve drinks.
S.E.A. Chase Watersports outfits oceanic explorers with kayaks and pontoon boats for leisurely exploration of Destin's waterfront. Nestled under a pontoon’s shade, instructors teach guests go over Emerald Coast boating rules. They then allow customers to set sail or kayak, cruising through the Choctawhatchee Bay to Crab Island, Noriega Point, or past Poseidon’s luxury yacht. Guests with fishing licenses and their own gear can rent the 18-foot pontoon boat, which is replete with fishing holders and a live well.
The recreational sailors at The Island Watersports maintain a fleet of sea-worthy vessels including safe, stable WindRider trimarans. During four-hour sailing stints, up to four people can pile onto the netted canopies and center cockpit to trade the buildings, highways, and Earth elementals of solid land for the freedom of the sea. One person chosen by the group to guide the craft receives a 15- to 20-minute lesson covering the basics of catching breezes for fuel and operating the foot-pedal steering controls. The tri-pronged craft supports up to 800 pounds, and the fully battened main sail on a rotating mast keeps the ship stable even during fish stampedes. MP3 players can belt out favorite songs when plugged into the boat's audio system, and guests are encouraged to bring along a small cooler filled with seaworthy beverages and snacks. Island Watersports' current sailing season will end in October but may go into November if weather permits and the boats don't get grounded for sneaking out to Make-Out Reef. The Island Watersports reopens for the next season on March 1.