‘Tis the Season! A Guide to Destin During the Holidays

A white Christmas in Destin can be enjoyed in a whole different way – on the white sand beaches along the azure Gulf of Mexico. There’s nothing like the soothing sights and sounds of the ocean to create the perfect backdrop for your treasured Christmas memories. If you are curious about what to do or where to shop in Destin during the holidays, you’ve come to the right place! Check out our ultimate guide to Christmas in Destin.

Reasons to Visit Destin in the Winter
The Weather
Temperatures typically range from the upper forties to low seventies, which means all you really need is a light jacket here. The weather is bound to be a little nicer on the Emerald Coast than it is up north this time of year.
Incredible Sunsets and Sunrises
The sunsets and sunrises are beautiful year-round in Destin, but winter is the only time of year that the sun sets and rises over the Gulf of Mexico. The sunsets will absolutely blow you away and you’ll get some incredible photos.
Minimal Traffic and Low Wait Times
One of the best things about Destin’s offseason is that there’s hardly any traffic this time of year compared to the middle of summer. That also means it’s easy to find parking spots at public beach accesses and all the local hotspots like Pompano Joe’s and The Crab Trap. Additionally, you can enjoy minimal wait times at restaurants and fast service.


Visits with Santa

November 27, 2021  – December 19, 2021 



Kick-off Christmas in Destin at HarborWalk Village. From November 27 through December 19, Santa will be in town on the Harbor. Every Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM, enjoy writing letters to St. Nick and visiting with Santa himself. All of Santa’s guests will receive a free 4×6 photo.

Holiday on the Harbor | Visits with Santa

Destin Boat Parade

December 12, 2021 – 6:00 PM



Gather on the Harbor Sunday, December 12th at 6:00 PM for the annual Destin Boat Parade. Enjoy a beautiful light show as boats sail by and twinkle up the Harbor. The parade starts on the East side of the Harbor and ends near the Destin bridge. Following the parade, a fireworks finale will light up the sky.

Holiday on the Harbor | Destin Boat Parade

Baytowne on Ice

October 31, 2021 – February 6, 2021 



Strap up into rented ice skates and enjoy the seasonal ice skating rink at Baytowne Wharf. Ice skating at Baytowne is the perfect family-friendly activity for those who miss the cold holiday traditions. The ice rink is open October 31st – February 6th. Hours vary daily. Visit baytownewharf.com for a full ice rink schedule!

Baytowne on Ice

12 Nights of Lights

Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in December 



Enjoy twinkling lights throughout The Village of Baytowne Wharf every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday night leading up to Christmas. Watch three dazzling shows on the village tree at 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM, and 8:00 PM. Holiday decor and festivities are happening all throughout the month of December.

12 Nights of Lights


Holiday light displays along the Emerald Coast run from the tasteful and elegant Festival of Trees at Grand Boulevard to the more creative and colorful homes along Destines Candy Cane Lane. If you are looking for some holiday sparkle, be sure to follow the flashing lights to these over-the-top displays.

Northgate Estates Luminaries
Located in Fort Walton Beach, this subdivision goes all out with their Christmas decorating every year.
Geek Lights on the Corner
It is Season 14 of the Geek Lights on the Corner in Niceville. Shows begin every 30 minutes starting at 6:00 PM & ending at 9:30 PM, Sunday through Thursday, and 10:30 PM on Fridays, Saturdays, and Holiday eves.
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Destin Boat Parade
Annual event that lights up the Destin Harbor. December 12th, 2021 at 6:00 PM.
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Destin Commons


If you’re shopping in Destin, you absolutely have to head over to Destin Commons. This outdoor mall is a one-stop shop for all your holiday needs. From clothing shops like Forever 21, H&M, and Victoria’s Secret to specialty shops like Lush, Build-A-Bear, and Bath & Body Works, Destin Commons pretty much has everything. Not to mention, they’ve also got plenty of restaurants, so you can grab a bite to eat while you shop ’til you drop!

Silver Sands Premium Outlets
Screen Shot 2021-12-07 at 3.04.00 PM


If you love finding great deals on all your holiday shopping, you’ll love Silver Sands Premium Outlets. Silver Sands is home to over 100 designer and brand-name outlet stores including Kate Spade, Nike, Michael Kors, and Ralph Lauren. Like Destin Commons, Silver Sands also has plenty of great places to eat like Panera Bread, Auntie Anne’s, and Carrabba’s. Spend an afternoon at Silver Sands and you’ll have all your Christmas shopping done in no time.

Grand Boulevard


Grand Boulevard in Sandestin is home to tons of exclusive boutiques, name-brand stores, fabulous dining, and more. Stop by Grand Boulevard to knock out some of your holiday shopping. Shop at Anthropologie, Vineyard Vines, lululemon, Lilly Pulitzer, or Pottery Barn or dine at one of the incredible restaurants like Cantina Loredo, The Craft Bar, or Flemings. Overall, there’s something everyone can appreciate at Grand Boulevard.

The Market Shops


The Market Shops feature all locally owned merchants and it’s a great place to go if you’re trying to get in some last-minute Christmas shopping while you’re already on vacation. With numerous local boutiques like Mountain High Outfitters, Favori Boutique, The Village Boutique, and more, the possibilities are endless. While you’re shopping, you can also check out local restaurants like Maple Street Biscuit Company, Pizza by the Sea, and Parlor Doughnuts. 

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