Destin, Florida has increasingly become one of the world’s most exciting new destination vacation spots, but before rising to popularity due to its sugar white beaches and tourist attractions, Destin maintained an interesting history.
Dating back to the seventh century AD, artifacts found in Destin confirmed that American Indians survived on the land, living off the seafood found in abundance on the gulf coast. 900 years later, Spanish divers were still discovering ship wreckage in the gulf’s waters.
Around 1845, Leonard Destin ventured away from his home in New London, Connecticut and settled at Moreno Point in Northwest Florida. For decades to come, he and his descendants would navigate and fish the channel between Pensacola and Panama City in waters surrounding as the Choctawhatchee Bay, now known as Destin’s East Pass. According to The Destin Log, “Leonard Destin was among members of the Destin family who had sailed to Key West in 1835 to extend the fishing season, and opted to remain in the area, fishing at various places along the Gulf of Mexico.
Boats once used for Leonard’s fishing adventures are now showcased in Destin’s History and Fishing museum. The museum showcases the evolution of fishing in the Destin area, from seine nets used by Destin’s earliest settlers to the introduction of fishing rods and reels, and finally to the largest fishing charter in Destin. Eventually the small fishing village of Destin known as “the world’s luckiest fishing village” would become a tourist resort, having the need for a local government structure. In 1984, the city of Destin was chartered as a municipality in the state of Florida.
Destin was voted ‘Best Beach in the South’ and ‘Top Family Destination’ for nine years running by Southern Living Magazine readers. It was also picked as the ‘Best Beach in America’ by USA Today readers. Known for its stunning beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, Destin also highlights challenging golf courses along the Emerald Coast. It is home to the Henderson Beach State Park with its beautiful nature trails, sand dunes, pine and oak trees that shelter much wildlife. As a growing tourist destination, Destin showcases attractions such as the Destin Harbor Boardwalk, The Destin Fishing Museum, Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving the emerald waters and fine white sands, and short entertainment cruises around the Bay with Crab Island Cruises.
Destin will only continue to grow as a popular tourist destination as it is steadily expands its offerings, while its beaches are as beautiful as ever. The city is accessible by air through the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, Panama City Beach Airport and Pensacola International Airport.