5 Aqua Activities Your Water Baby Must Try in Florida

Florida is home to some of the most charming beach towns in the South and keeping them a secret almost feels like a crime. Situated along the Gulf of Mexico in the northwestern part of the state lies our favorite of them all: Destin-Fort Walton Beach.

The area not only offers parents some much-needed relaxation but also provides a variety of adventures for the water babies in your family–both the young and young at heart! From building the ultimate sandcastle and joining a dolphin excursion to ghost crabbing along the shoreline, Destin-Fort Walton Beach offers unforgettable activities. So grab your towels, bathing suits and sunscreen, and let’s show you some of the ways your family can dive right in.

1. Dolphin Excursions

Did you know the Gulf of Mexico is home to nine species of dolphins? With a private catamaran tour that sets sail from Destin-Fort Walton Beach, your little ones will get an up-close view of marine life including bottlenose dolphins–which are the most common species in the area. The majestic mammals are fun, friendly and always ready to put on a show.
Throughout the remainder of the ride, you’ll be taken to a calm area of the Gulf where everyone can stop for a swim and snorkel.

Eye spy with my little eye an awesome dolphin excursion!

2. Snorkeling

A trip to Destin-Fort Walton Beach isn’t complete without a snorkeling adventure. At John Beasley Park, James Lee Park, Crystal Beach and Okaloosa Island, underwater explorers will find artificial reefs that enhance and protect the marine environment. Explore the waters at your leisure or go on a guided snorkeling tour that pairs education with adventure.

As you splash around the crystal clear waves, keep an eye out for crabs, stingrays, dolphins, redfish, and maybe a sea turtle, too—give ‘em some fin, noggin, dude! Pro tip: bring a flotation device (like a boogie board or paddleboard) in case you and the kids want to take a moment to rest or linger a bit longer to take it all in.

If you’re snorkeling with youngsters who are new to swimming, or if you simply prefer calmer waters, head to the tide pools at Norriego Point. There you’ll find horseshoe-shaped jetties that feature a swim rope to separate the open waters of East Pass with its swimming area. Your kiddos can safely enjoy the water and explore the site for nearby hermit crabs along the rocks.

Dive in and book your snorkeling trip today!

3. Beginner Inshore Fishing

Catching your first fish is a big moment for kids and parents alike. Not only do your littles get bragging rights for the remainder of the trip but you get to see them light up with excitement as they reel in their hard work.

Book a beginner inshore fishing trip that’s completely private, where your captain will take you to the calm waters of Choctawhatchee Bay (say that quickly three times!). There your tots will receive one-on-one fishing lessons, from how to bait a line and casting a net to reeling in a big catch. Don’t forget to snap a photo of this memorable day!

The catch of the day: a private inshore tour!

4. Explore the Beach at Night

In Destin-Fort Walton Beach, the end of the day signals more time for play. Check out the beach after the sun sets to discover ghost crabs that come out of hiding. Grab a bucket and net, and hit the quiet sands in search of these nocturnal creatures.

With sea turtle season occurring May through October, be sure to snag a special, red-filtered flashlight to keep nesting turtles and their hatchlings protected. You can pick one up for free at either Destin City Hall, the Destin Chamber of Commerce, Destin History & Fishing Museum, Emerald Coast Science Center, Henderson Beach State Park, or the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. If you shine the red flashlight on a ghost crab, they’ll likely freeze up, making it easier to scoop them up into your bucket free of harm. After meeting the little fellas, simply release them back into the sand.

Who ya gonna call? Ghost crabbers!

5. Sandcastle Sculpture Lessons

There are sandcastles…and then there are jaw-dropping masterpieces that make you question the physics of sand. That’s what Beach Sand Sculptures, a local-based sand sculpture company, is set out to teach families who are up for the challenge.

Led by professional instructors, you and your group of budding architects will learn how to craft a three-foot-tall sandcastle with exclusive techniques, like how much water is needed, where to find the best sand and which household items make all the difference. With your new skills and your very own Sandcastle Toolkit in tow, the family will be wowing beachgoers throughout the remainder of your stay!

Become a pro sandcastle sculptor today!


There are countless water activities in Destin-Fort Walton Beach that make for a perfect family vacation–we’re certain your guppies will thank you. Explore these excursions today at destinfwb.com/little-adventures.