Destin is a city located on the Emerald Coast of Florida, in Okaloosa County. The city styles itself “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”, and claims to have the largest fishing vessel fleet in the state of Florida. Destin is known for its white beaches and emerald-colored waters. Originating as a small fishing village, it is now a popular tourist destination – according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, over 80 percent of the Emerald Coast’s 4.5 million visitors each year visit Destin.
Destin is near several other cities in the region. The city of Fort Walton Beach, Florida is located to the west at the inlet of Santa Rosa Sound into Choctawhatchee Bay. North of Destin across the bay is Niceville, Florida, with the Mid-Bay Bridge linking the two by road. At further distance are Panama City (to the east) and Pensacola (to the west), each about 50 miles away.
Visitors can charter fishing vessels from the harbor, and there are 12 beach access points in the city. Among the access points is Henderson Beach State Recreation Area. A portion of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, the Okaloosa Day Use Area, is just across East Pass on Santa Rosa Island.
The sand on Destin’s beaches is some of the whitest in the world. The sand comes from the Appalachian Mountains, and is made of finely ground quartz crystal giving the appearance of sugar. Residue flows down the Apalachicola River and is deposited into the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the currents the sand drifts west along the Gulf Coast and settles from east of Panama City to the Alabama coast.