Spring Break: Doing Destin differently

Bailey Fuqua – Features Writer |

Avoid the crowded beaches

Henderson Beach State Park is home to more than 6,000 feet of shoreline, nature trails and sand dunes, and it is protected from both high-rise buildings and crowds. For only $6 a car load you can enjoy a peaceful and relaxing beach almost to yourself. Topsail Hill, Deer Lake and Grayton Beach are three other state parks in the Destin area worth visiting.

Be adventurous 

Who says you have to spend your entire spring break lounging on a beach chair? Floridahikes.com lists more than 10 hikes in the Destin area that wrap around lakes, weave through trails and scale sand dunes to provide an alternative to just tanning on the beach.

Go camping

Mix things up with a spontaneous night on the beach. Most Florida State Parks offer campgrounds close to the shore so you can wake up to the smell of salt water and the sound of crashing waves.

Learn something

Just because you’re on Spring Break doesn’t mean you can’t learn a thing or two. The Destin History and Fishing Museum is a good rainy-day option that highlights the history of fishing in the Destin area. In addition, you can visit (for free) more than a dozen native animals, fish and birds in their natural habitats at the Eglin Air Force Base Wildlife Viewing Site.

Explore other waters

Just a short drive from Destin, Blackwater River’s 31-mile canoe and kayaking trail is a popular alternative to Florida’s sandy beaches. This sand-bottom river weaves through canopies of trees and sporadic sand dunes, providing great stopping points for fishing, camping and picnicking.

Do your research

Instead of falling victim to the mundane tourist traps on the main strip, visit travel sites like Tripadvisor to learn great places to eat, shop and visit. Take advice from the locals and don’t be afraid to try places off the beaten path.

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