Destin, FL 3-day Itinerary with a 5-Year Old!

If you want a quick weekend trip to Florida with amazing fresh seafood, the bluest waters, a comfortable and INCREDIBLY convenient hotel, look no further than this itinerary for a few ideas with a 5-year old!

Day 1

Left our house at 6am (it is approximately a 7-hour drive including stops)

1st stop at Plucked-Up in Columbus, GA for breakfast about 2.5 hours into the drive (this place was delicious!)

Stop 2 was at the FL state-line rest stop for a stretching of the legs

Then we made the last leg of the journey and arrived in Destin around lunch time! We went straight to the main Harbor parking lot.

Our very first stop was the big trampoline - we let Lindsey do this for the first time three years ago when we last visited Destin and I knew we'd need to let her do some jumping again this visit. She LOVED it! I almost considered taking a turn. :)

Next was lunch at AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar – Destin Harbor; beautiful fresh oysters and delicious fresh fish sandwiches! Lindsey entertained herself with lemonade and coloring.

We found some frozen yogurt at The Fudgery which we were a little disappointed in, so decided to try again and share a Dole Whip. Much better!

We popped in to several of the stores; this is a terrific place to do some of your "toursity" shopping - lots of great things to pick from at multiple stores from t-shirts, to ornaments, mugs, artwork, sunglasses, and soooo much more. We found Lindsey a small snow globe, since that is what she's been collecting on her trips.

We headed to the hotel to check in around 3pm. I cannot recommend The Beachside Inn enough. The Beachside Inn boasts the most convenient location I've found for a reasonable price - you literally walk across the street to a gorgeous beach, and they have an on-site restaurant and cafe. We didn't love the restaurant, but the cafe serves delicious coffee, smoothies, and quick breakfast and lunch options (pastries, sandwiches, etc.) making it super convenient. It's my favorite stop first thing in the morning to grab a coffee for me, and a smoothie for Lindsey and then go walk on the beach for awhile. The beach is typically VERY quiet in the early morning, so this is a super special time of day to go visit with a little who just wants to run and splash and chase the seagulls!

We spent a couple hours on the beach before we headed back to the room to clean up and head out for dinner.

We went to The Shrimp Basket for dinner. We'd visited before when we were here and loved it, but this time it was pretty disappointing. We went to my favorite little bakery "The Donut Hole" to each grab a donut before heading back to our room to settle in for the night.

Day 2

Day 2 started with a stop in at Camille's for me and Lindsey where we grabbed a coffee and a smoothie and walked across the street for the perfect start to the day! I cannot get enough of that blue water.

After about 40 minutes we went back to the room and connected with my sister who was ready to get set up, so we grabbed our gear (tent, towels, all the sunblock, camp chair, beach toys, snacks, water) and headed back over. The beach was still pretty empty so it was easy to set up near the water. We spent pretty much the entire day there. We'd picked up sandwiches the day before at a little shop at the Harbor and kept them in the fridge to make lunch easy. Mostly everyone snacked throughout the morning and early afternoon.

By late afternoon we were ready to wrap up and headed back for showers and a change of clothes. Since this was our last full night, we knew we'd be visiting Dewey's on the water... this place is phenomenal!! The BEST seafood, a little shack literally over the water. And INCREDIBLE snow-balls right next to it, to enjoy watching the sunset after a delicious seafood dinner.

We went back to our room and had an evening swim in the pool and quick soak in the hot tub before taking a pretty happy but very tired kiddo back to the room for some much needed down time and rest.

Day 3

Our last day started the same as Day 2 - a quick stop at Camille's Sidewalk Cafe for coffee and a smoothie and a beach walk just me and Linds. It was absolutely gorgeous. We saw a family there doing pictures. There was pretty much no one else on the beach. Linds and I were lucky enough to bump into a fellow mermaid who offered to take some wonderful photos of me and Lindsey that morning too! I was so thankful!

We went back and got Kylie and grabbed a few things to take some pictures we'd had planned to do before we left.

We went back out and Linds splashed in the water, we took a bunch of fun pictures, AND we saw wild dolphins swimming not too far off shore before we left!! We also picked up a fair amount of trash off the beach before we bid farewell to our beautiful beach and went back to the room one last time to clean up and pack the car.

We stopped at The Pancakery for breakfast - we'd been there before and it wasn't quite as good as I remembered, but still pretty tasty for a breakfast / brunch location (insanely busy, obviously popular)!

After that we hopped in the car and made the drive home. We stopped twice on the way back before making it home around dinner time.

It was a WONDERFUL trip. I cannot recommend Destin enough. It's just a beautiful location, with tons of terrific restaurants and so much to do! We haven't had a chance yet to get out on the water on a boat - but there are pirate themed boats, dolphin tours, deep sea fishing, scuba / snorkeling. So much to do!


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