With a fleet of kayaks and standup paddleboards, Bay Paddlesports gives guests a chance to glide across the coastal waters of Destin under their own steam. The coastal company rents out 12' Bote-brand paddleboards, which offer a sturdy perch on which guests can stand as they propel their vessel through the surf. Those who wish to sit back as they roam the tides can do so in one of Bay Paddlesports' Old Town–brand kayaks. Bay Paddlesports also puts clients in touch with the area's ecosystem in nature tours.
Captain Larry maneuvers the Sea Blaster––a 73-foot speedboat––on four different cruises in the Gulf, departing from the HarborWalk Village. Dolphin cruises speed through the water during the day, coming up close to dolphins as they leap out of the sea in an effort to distract humans while they steal their sunglasses. With the addition of snorkeling, passengers strap on a simple breathing apparatus and paddle through the crystalline waters. Others spy dolphins during the sunset cruise, as the horizon burns pink and orange, or watch fireworks burst over the water from the Sea Blaster’s deck every Thursday evening.
Working from an in-house frame shop and employing high-quality materials, the master framers at Geana's Art Gallery & Custom Framing prepare virtually any item for permanent display. Selecting from an extensive collection of mouldings, an experienced framesmith encases photographs or World's Greatest Doggy-Paddler certificates behind a protective pane of glass (roughly $125 on average), or tears down and refits previously framed pieces to replace broken glass (roughly $50 on average). Alternatively, framers can mount projects on acid-free foam core or stretch canvases (roughly $299 on average) to properly display paintings and prevent torn cotton ligaments. Though prices vary according to size and difficulty, almost any framing challenge is fair game, from shadowboxes and plasma-TV surrounds to priceless uniforms and custom mirrors, both oversize and enchanted.
A quartet of golf courses hug the beaches of the Choctawhatchee Bay at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, presenting oceanside fairways and greens that showcase the handiwork of some of golf's finest course designers. As the former host of two PGA Champions Tour events and recipient of multiple accolades, Raven Golf Club runs through swamps and pines, forming a 6,900-yard layout designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. His brother, Rees Jones, designed the neighboring Burnt Pine Golf Club course, which was once referred to as the "Crown Jewel of Florida Golf" by Golf Magazine. Tom Jackson designed the other two courses, using elevation changes to his advantage in the Baytowne Golf Club course and emulating the old courses of coastal Britannia with The Links Course.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort offers more than golf at its 2,400-acre property. Players scamper and slide across three hard-courts and twelve HydroGrid clay courts at the Sandestin Tennis Center, which hosts matches day and night. Soft, white sand awaits guests at the beach, and the resort rents out chairs, umbrellas, and cabanas. Boogie boards and kayaks are available for those who want to enjoy the benefits of buoyancy without filling their bathing suit with helium.
Emerald Coast Science Center has 5,000 square feet of gallery space filled with eye-opening, family-friendly exhibits on principles of biology, physics, earth science, and technology. In the Hall of Life, there are microscopes where you can peer at bodily cells, as well as a replica intestine that unfurls to reveal its surprising length of 17 feet. At Color & Light, you can interact with mirrors, colorful lights, and a domesticated rainbow. And in the Critters room, kids get to meet such museum residents as Tickles the Snake and Rosy the Tarantula.
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.
Olin Marler's Dolphin Cruises dispatches its robust fleet of boats from Destin Harbor on dolphin cruises in the Gulf. Narrated dolphin cruises ferry large groups, such as bachelor parties and flash-mob reunions, into the Gulf's waters throughout the day aboard glass-bottom boats with names such as Miss Florida and Hannah Marie.