What Is the Best Beach in Destin?

The Emerald Coast is full of beautiful nature, but nothing trumps the gorgeous shoreline here. No trip to our area is complete without spending at least one day on the sand under the warm sun. Keep reading to discover the best beach in Destin for families to kick back and relax on during your trip!  

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Discover the Best Beach in Destin for Your Family 

Henderson Beach State Park 

Henderson Beach State Park features over 6,000 feet of sandy white beach, shifting sand dunes, and a nature trail. Head to one of the corners of the beach to enjoy smaller crowds. Throughout the year, you can experience everything from fishing clinics to ranger programs. If you visit during the fall, you’ll find a carpet of wildflowers and beach morning glories covering the sand. There is an entrance fee of $6 per car. 

Crystal Beach 

You’ll find public beach access points with varying amenities up and down Scenic Highway 98. Some feature free roadside parking, pavilions, and showers or restrooms. Venture down towards The Crab Trap restaurant, and you’ll find all the above at Crystal Beach. 

Pack a picnic or visit the beach bar where you can grab a drink and watch the waves roll by. Be mindful of the parking down in this area, though, as it gets hectic in the summertime, and spots are hard to come by throughout the day. Prepare to get out there early in order to secure your spot. The area of Crystal Beach near The Crab Trap also has showers and bathroom facilities, making it easy for the whole family to wash up and stay fresh. 

Crab Island 

If you’re searching for one of the hottest places to be in the Destin area, look no further than Crab Island. While this technically isn’t a beach, this sand bar near the Destin Bridge is the best beach in Destin for lively happenings. You’ll need a boat to get here, though! Renting a pontoon boat or kayak is really the only way to access Crab Island, making it one of the most unique places to spend an afternoon on the Emerald Coast.  

Locals and visitors alike enjoy the variety of entertainment and music at Crab Island. Visit during major holidays, and you’ll be a part of the biggest floating party anywhere around. You can have a family-friendly day out here as well. Join the kids on a giant inflatable slide, go snorkeling, or just relax on deck. 

Norriego Point 

Accessible by water taxi or by a bit of a hike on foot, this picturesque white sand peninsula is a must-visit. Norriego Point is the best beach in Destin if you want to enjoy snorkeling in a secluded area. While you don’t have to deal with the crowds you’ll find at most beaches in the area, you can sit along the East Pass and Destin Harbor and watch the boats flow in and out of the bay. We recommend bringing some activities, food and drink, and a good book so you can relax and enjoy an entire day here. If you’d like to swim or snorkel, look for the inlets of water protected by jetties for calm waters. 

Best Beaches on the Emerald Coast

What are some of the best beaches on the Emerald Coast?

Now that we’ve covered some of the best beaches in Destin, let’s cover a few of the best beaches on the Emerald Coast. The Emerald Coast spans almost 100 miles along the Florida coastline, including Destin. It is one of the most gorgeous places in the United States for its pristine beauty. Here are a few of the best beaches we think you’ll love and a few questions answered.

What is the clearest beach on the Emerald Coast in Florida?

Jetty East Beach

While all the beaches on the Emerald Coast are clear compared to other coastlines, a great beach you may love is Jetty East Beach. Its clear green-blue waters are stunning next to the white sandy beaches, making it a scenic highlight for vacationers. You’ll love this beach if you’re looking for one of the best places to go for diving or snorkeling, where clear waters can make or break your trip. But you can also enjoy other activities like parasailing, kayaking, crabbing, or paddleboarding for unique and magical experiences. For those who want leisure, it offers a great place to swim and relax under the sun.

What is the least crowded beach on the Emerald Coast?

Grayton Beach

If you’re looking for a beach with fewer crowds, you want to head to Grayton Beach. It is a small, historic coastal village between Destin and Panama City. It is known for having fewer people and is a haven for people seeking more solitude. This gorgeous state park offers 2000 acres of sand dunes, salt marshes, and views of the Western Lake.

You can enjoy wildlife watching, fishing, kayaking, and other outdoor activities in one of the most beautiful places in America. It has remained one of the few beach villages in the area still reminiscent of old Florida with its older, weathered architecture that hasn’t been updated to modern homes like other more modernized areas. It’s a real treat for history lovers! If you want to travel to this beach, take Scenic Highway 30A, east, about 30 miles from Destin.

What is the best beach on the Emerald Coast, Florida?

It depends on what you’re looking for when deciding which beach is best on the Emerald Coast. All of the Emerald Coast beaches have their charm. Here are some that stand out as true gems and what they’re best known for:

Overall Best Beach on the Emerald Coast: Henderson Beach State Park

Henderson Beach regularly hits the top of the “best beach” lists because it is one of the most extensive beaches and all it has to offer. With over a mile of scenic shoreline, this beach is an oasis in the heart of Destin. Perfect for families, it boasts lifeguards on duty, ADA-accessible beach access, and public restrooms.

Least Crowded Beach: Grayton Beach

As mentioned, Grayton Beach State Park has endless beauty and activities to enjoy in a less crowded beach town, making it one of the best beaches to visit if you love tranquility.

Best Beach for Adventure and Exploring: Topsail Hill Reserve

Topsail Hill Reserve is one of the best beaches for nature lovers and adventurers. This coastal gem offers an extensive network of winding trails that wind through a picturesque forest, featuring scrub oaks and trees sculpted by the salt-kissed winds. Beyond its pristine shoreline, Topsail Hill Reserve presents a wealth of opportunities for angling, exploration, and wildlife watching for exciting bird species, deer, foxes, and even an occasional elusive bear!

The Emerald Coast offers beautiful beaches to suit every preference. Whether you’re searching for clear waters, solitude, or family-friendly amenities, these beaches have it all.

Book Your Harmony Beach Rentalcommunal pool at beach time 

Head back to your Harmony Beach Vacations rental after a fun-filled day on the sand! Our selection of homes and condos in Destin and 30A offer fantastic locations and amenities at rates that won’t burn a hole in your wallet.   

Start planning your Destin vacation today by booking one of our properties! We look forward to welcoming you to the Emerald Coast.