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Pelican Adventures - Essentials of a Destin Vacation!

A trip to Destin is a great choice for a family vacation!  For years the beautiful beaches, picturesque scenery, and great variety of adventures and entertainment has been the area’s calling card – bringing families back year after year.

Families love Destin and we love having them here at the Resorts of Pelican Beach!  There are few other resort areas in the country where there is so much to do in within a relatively close proximity.  For those staying in the central Destin area, most everything you desire in a beach vacation is located within just a few miles radius.  Compared to those choosing to stay in some of beach hamlets between Destin and Panama City Beach, there is very little “windshield” time when it’s time to come off the beach when you stay at Pelican Beach.  The last thing anyone really wants to do is spend a great portion your vacation in the car!

Destin vacation veterans have their favorite things to do and place to eat.  But for those new to the Destin experience, or even for those who may be seeking new alternatives, here’s our guide to the some "essentials" of a Destin Family vacations!


Henderson Beach State Park - Pristine white sugar sand beaches and more than 6,000 feet of natural scenic shoreline border the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Natural features of the park include sand pines, scrub oaks, and dune rosemary. Boardwalks provide access to the beach for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing. Two large pavilions allow for picnicking and grilling. A playground is the first stop on our nature trail and is sure to be a hit with the kids. The nature trail provides visitors a rare glimpse of the coastal dune ecosystem and abundant wildlife and is pet friendly. Camping at Henderson Beach State Park provides 60 campsites that are located in our secondary dune system. The sites include water and electric hookups and access to air conditioned and heated bathhouse facilities. A separate beach access boardwalk with outdoor showers and a playground are included in our campground. Henderson Beach is A.D.A accessible and includes beach wheel chair availability. Visitors can enjoy truly breathtaking sunsets while relaxing by the warm crystal clear water of the Gulf of Mexico. The park is located just east of Destin on U.S. 98 – approx. 3 miles from the Resorts of Pelican Beach.  There is a daily admission fee of $4 for vehicles with up to eight passengers.

Big Kahuna’S Waterpark - No sand in your shorts, no salt in your eyes, and over 40 water attractions to cool you from the sun.  Outrageous go-karts, tropical mini golf, untamed thrill rides, no matter the type of fun, Big Kahuna’s has got it.   Best of all, Big Kahuna’s is located across the street from our resort entrance.  No need to load up the car – just grab your towel and sun screen and head out your door  - you’re almost there!

Every year, Big Kahuna’s gets better – you’ll always find something new!  Test your skill on their newest attraction, The Honolulu Half Pipe! Ride a 10 foot wave on a boogie board as 36,000 gallons of current flow beneath you.   Big Kahuna’s strives to improve and provide one of Destin’s favorite family experiences, year after year!

Thrills, chills and spills await you and your family at Big Kahuna’s, Florida’s lost paradise.

SeaBlaster - Climb aboard Destin's ORIGINAL Sea Blaster for a fun and exciting cruise with Capt. Larry, searching the Emerald Green waters of the Gulf of Mexico along the sugar white sand beaches of Destin, Florida, for the most playful dolphins.  Their seventy-three foot passenger boat carries up to 119 passengers, is the Gulf's largest speedboat, and offers an array of fun for the entire family.  The Sea Blaster offers snorkeling and dolphin cruises, beach and dolphin cruises, and relaxing sunset dolphin cruises.  Our favorite is the Snorkeling -Dolphin Combo Cruise!  Over the course of three hours patrons snorkel around the jetties and get a chance to view a variety of sea life up close!  Then, the SeaBlaster cruises the coastline and dolphin viewing.  Don’t be surprised how close they come to the boat.  There is easy access into and out of water and a Lifeguard is on duty.   The SeaBlaster departs from the Destin Harbor – less than two miles from the Resorts of Pelican Beach.

Air Force Armament Museum - Experience the aviation warfare armament from the early days of World War I right through to today's high tech planes and bombs. Inside, you'll find an extensive collection of weaponry and interactive displays that will amaze and intrigue.  Admission is FREE and all are welcome!

Driving onto the grounds of the Air Force Armament Museum, visitors first notice the array of numerous aircraft on display. The fastest plane ever built, the SR-71 Blackbird is the centerpiece flanked by numerous planes from the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf War eras.

There is a lot to see and do at the Air Force Armament Museum.  Children young and old will find many interactive displays that entertain as well as educate.  Inside the museum are four aircraft as well as a wide variety of bombs, missiles and rockets. Including the AMRAAM and GBU-28 bunker buster developed for use during Operation Desert Storm.   There are over 25 different aircraft that have found a home at the Air Force Armament Museum including an AC-130, B-17, B-25, B-52, P-51, A-10, F-15, F-16, F-100, F-101, and many other aircraft from the WWII era to the present.  A 32-minute film on the history of Eglin Air Force Base and its role in the development of armament is shown continuously throughout the day.

The Air Force Armament Museum is located on Highway 85 South, 7 miles north of Fort Walton Beach. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  (Closed on federal holidays)  Tours are self-guided.  Photography is permitted and encouraged.

The Track - The Track is an action-packed family fun recreation center, with many amusements featuring the ultimate in go kart tracks like The Wild Woody, a three – tiered go kart / roller coaster hybrid.  Race your kart around their large figure eight style Track. Challenge your friends and family to exciting themed miniature golf, splash ‘em on Blaster Boats, and smash ‘em on Bumper Cars. Test your courage from the top of our Bungee Jumping Tower, or enjoy the thrill of a skydiving effect on The SkyFlyer!  Visit Kids Country for your kid’s activities, which feature the following: The Rio Grande Train, The Carousel, The Red Baron Planes ride, The Spin Tops, The Swing, The Ferris Wheel, and The Jungle Jumper!   Also featured are two smaller go kart tracks better known as The Kiddie Karts and The Rookie Karts.   The Track is opened daily (seasonal) and is located less than one mile from the Resorts of Pelican Beach.


FudPuckers  -  If you’ve never experienced Fudpucker’s or haven't been to Destin lately you're in for a big surprise.   

As you arrive, you’ll be greeted with an eclectic decor which will delight you with a mixture of brilliant Caribbean style painted walls, ornate mirrors, antique beer can collection, Sushi bar, six TV’s, expanded dining area over-looking Club Key West and of course a smorgasbord of Fud Junk.   The big deck at Fudpucker's in Destin has a whole new look - welcome to “Club Key West”. Father Fud himself, being from the Key West area, designed Club Key West as a reminder of Old Florida and I think you'll agree he succeeded. Patrons will find majestic palm trees towering over a wharf like atmosphere with old crab traps, whiskey barrels, old bicycles and nautical stuff that looks like it just washed ashore.

The music format at Fudpucker's Club Key West is the music you come to Florida to hear - good old beach music. Enjoy the sounds of Jimmy Buffet, Van Morrison, Bob Marley and others performed by recording artists like Chuck Lawson, Eric Stone and Gary Schmitz as well as local sensations “The Buzz Monkeys” featuring Brian Peet, Dan Collins and the incomparable David Pretlow. Live music is the ticket at Fud’s all new Club Key West - 7 nights a week.  Late night on the weekends Fud’s breaks out of the beach music mode and rocks your world with the best band in town, “Black Eyed Blonde”. Dance your buns off to today’s hits as well as the classic party music of the past.

There’s plenty of fun for the kids at the playground or in the newly expanded game room featuring the hottest video games around and a light and sound show that’ll shock the senses. The kids can also express their artistic talents at the paint table where they can create their own signs on colorful wood chips which are displayed all over Club Key West. Now, if that’s not enough for you to get excited about how about getting a temporary tattoo from Hawaiian Tribal Tattoos. They’re located on the deck at Club Key West overlooking Gator Beach. Again, it’s all about Fun at Fudpucker’s.

Located below Club Key West, is Gator Beach which gives patrons the chance to see live alligators, up close and personal. But, you’ll not only be able to see the gators, you'll be able to feed them as well. That's right - you can feed the live alligators at Fudpucker’s Gator Beach. It’s easy, it’s safe and above all it’s fun for the entire family.

When you’re done, everyone will want to stop by the Fudpucker Trading Company for some great souvenir and gift shopping – no one leaves Destin without one of Fudpucker’s famous T’s!  Fudpucker’s is located about 3 miles from the Resorts of Pelican Beach!

Harbor Docks – Harbor Docks is a Destin hallmark with many reminders of Destin’s fishing history.   Back in 1979, Harbor Docks was just a weather-beaten little cottage with six picnic tables, one bathroom and an ancient old dog named Raspberry who laid out on the porch all day thumping his tail at the folks who wandered up for a few ice cold beers and oysters on the half shell. Harbor Docks was nothing fancy back then, and things haven't changed much.  The owner of Harbor Docks, has added on to the little cottage over the years. Now, there's a Sushi bar and Hibachi grill and the deck sprawls along the waterfront.  Their service is warm and friendly and the food is fresh ad tasty.  Relax, enjoy the view and soak in the local color...the local flavor of Harbor Docks!

Accessible by boat or car, Harbor Docks is located in Destin, just a mile west of the Resorts of Pelican Beach.   Definitively a local’s favorite.    

Pompano Joe’s – Pompano Joe’s is a great favorite of many Destin visitors and locals alike.  Pompano Joe's has become a destination restaurant for tourists and a favorite among the locals. Caribbean flair shines through in the food all the way to the brightly colored window frames that line the walls of this open-air restaurant. With an ideal location in on the Scenic Gulf Highway (just about 4 miles from the Resorts of Pelican Beach), it is a perfect dining option, especially on evenings which includes Destin Commons or Silver Sands Factory Stores.  

Pompano Joe’s overlooks the beach and is ideal for early evening dining.   Plus, many families find this location opportunistic for family or group photo sessions.   There are probably thousands of families with photos taken on the beach at sunset at Pompano Joes.  You’ll find the location so scenic  - you’ll want a family photo here, too!

Donut Hole – A special treat is a visit to the Donut Hole.  A stop at the Donut Hole is a mandatory and tasty part of any Destin trip. Their Key Lime Pie is the standard by which all others are measured (and all others fall short!)  Donuts are out of this world as is the food.  An absolutely must visit! The Donut Hole is located on US 98, about a mile west of the Resorts of Pelican Beach.



Destin proudly boasts a wealth of sensational shopping to rival any big city!  Two of the area’s favorites are located within 3-4 miles of the Resorts of Pelican Beach!

Destin Commons - Destin Commons is an exciting outdoor lifestyle center that has brought an incredible variety of shops and restaurants to the once sleepy fishing village of Destin!  This elegant shopping center boasts many famous names as well as a wide variety of unique stores and numerous eateries. There's something for the whole family at Destin Commons, come and see for yourself!  Destin Commons is located just four miles from Pelican Beach at the intersection of US 98 and the Mid-Bay Bridge.

Silver Sands Factory Stores - This sprawling outlet center, the nation's largest and loaded with upscale vendors, is a shopper's paradise.  A vacation unto itself, Silver Sands Factory Stores offers choices galore and an enjoyable setting just right for that shopping getaway. Coupled with world famous beaches, Silver Sands Factory Stores makes the Emerald Coast the complete vacation destination.  Silver Sands is located approx. seven miles from Pelican Beach on US 98.

Please note, all times, fees, etc. noted are subject to change without notice.


Big Kahuna's

The Track


Sea Blaster






Pompano Joe's


Don't forget your family photo!


Destin Commons


Destin Commons


Silver Sands Factory Stores


Silver Sands Factory Stores




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