5 Things to Do in Destin / 30A / South Walton Beach


My family recently got back from a visit to the beach and this time we decided to try some activities at the beach that weren’t just playing in the sand and water. Here’s my mom tips and a list of 5 things to do in Destin / 30A / South Walton Beach sponsored by Newman-Dailey Properties…

5 things to do in Destin

1. Tennis Lessons

5 things to do in Destin
Family tennis lesson with Rhett Russell at Hidden Dunes.

Our kids play lots of sports but had never taken tennis. So when we found out that where we were staying, Hidden Dunes Beach and Tennis Resort, was a top-ranked tennis and pickleball resort, we knew we wanted to give it a try. We took a family lesson with Rhett Russell, Director of Racquet Sports and has been a tennis pro in the area for more than a decade. Rhett made it fun for my 7 year old and 9 year old and for the parents, too! We worked on some skills and drills, as well as competed in a few games that had us vs the tennis pro. Safe to say my kids want to keep working on their tennis skills! 

2. Explore Restaurants

One of the best part of going to the beach? The amazing seafood! There are so many restaurants to choose from, and our family enjoyed several restaurants with view of the water. Here are a few of our recommendations…

Surf Hut was a great experience with corn hole on the back lawn while you wait to be seated, and beautiful views of the water and sunset. They also give the kids Wikki Stiks at the table to play with while you wait for your food. 

Things to Do in Destin
Our family at the iconic The Red Bar.

The Red Bar is an iconic restaurant in Grayton Beach. They have nightly live music, and are known for the simple menu options with huge portions (no joke we came back with leftovers for lunch the next day!). Mom Tip :: Get their early or prepare to wait!

The Back Porch offers seating inside and out right on the sand beside the water. It has been a favorite of beach-goers since 1974, and their gulf seafood is top notch. Our kids loved their shrimp and key-lime pie. 

The Village at Baytown Wharf features an array of boutiques, eateries, galleries, and nightlife. They also have an adventure course with Zipline, as well as a Thrills Arcade.

Things to Do in Destin3. Outlet Shopping

With shops like Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, New Balance, Old Navy and more, our family loved shopping the great deals at Silver Sands Premium Outlets. Mom Tip : Newman-Dailey Properties sent us a list of extra discounts we could receive at the outlets by staying at their property. It’s conveniently located on Highway 98, one mile west of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

Things to Do in Destin4. Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Our family loved the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park located in Fort Walton Beach a quarter mile east of Brooks Bridge on Okaloosa Island. The Gulfarium is like an outdoor, open air aquarium right off the beach. Some of our favorite animals to see were penguins, aligators, sea lions, and dolphins. You don’t want to miss the Sea Lion show and the Dolphin show! Mom Tip :: Check the schedule on their website of special add-ons encounters like visiting with dolphins! 

5. The Track

The Track in Destin, FL has fun for the whole family and located in the heart of Destin! It features five Go-Kart Tracks, Mini Golf, Blaster Boats, thrill rides like the SkyFlyter and Hurricane 360, and Fat Daddy’s Arcade. The 3-level Wild Woody and Family Track feature single and double go-karts. It is open daily for family fun!

A few more mom tips…

  • Come to the beach during non-peak times! These include the Winter months and between Spring Break and Summer (May). We traveled to the beach during February and celebrated my husbands birthday. We walked right into most restaurants with no wait, we enjoyed the beach, and we enjoyed so many other activities other than the beach (see all of our fun above!). It’s also quieter all around town and the beach and feels more like a relaxing, peaceful vacation. 
  • Book your stay directly through Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc. By booking directly, you will experience less fees so it is cheaper, plus you get a personal experience with tips through the app and through direct communication. We stayed at Hidden Dunes Condo 603, where I received daily text messages about shopping, the Pickle Ball tournament, how to check out, and more! 
  • Looking to play pickleball and/or tennis? Hidden Dunes is the perfect resort for you!  They have 5 clay tennis courts and 5 pickleball courts available to rent. Our family stayed in a condo, but they also have Villas if you are looking for a larger place. This resort also has a basketball court, playground, outdoor pool and hot tub, and is right off the beach. 


We are excited to offer a 10% discount when booking with Newman-Dailey Resort Properties with the code BHAMMOM. Click HERE for more details. 

What do you like to do in 30A? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Julie S
Born at St. Vincents, Julie has lived in Birmingham nearly all her life, and she looks forward to meeting and connecting moms all over our community. Before having kids and co-founding Birmingham Mom Collective, she worked various jobs as a retail manager, merchandise manager, software support associate, and an HR recruiter. When she's not taking care of her two young children, you can find her (sometimes) working out, singing and fellowshipping at her church, playing golf (horribly), drinking sweet tea, and taking trips with her husband, Nathan. She loves all things coffee, Gilmore Girls, Disney World, Dolly Parton, and peanut m&ms!