Top 5 Ways to View the Beautiful Wildlife in Destin Florida
Destin, FL is a paradise for animal lovers! Whether you head out on the water or stay on dry land, there are numerous opportunities for seeing the Emerald Coast’s signature fauna. To help you make the most of your next vacation, the Henderson Park Inn has put together a guide to viewing the beautiful wildlife in Destin Florida.
1. Take a Dolphin Cruise
No trip to Destin is complete without seeing a dolphin! The Gulf of Mexico is home to a thriving year-round dolphin population that typically numbers around 40,000. Bottlenose dolphins are the most common species in the region, but the Destin area is also known to feature Atlantic spotted dolphins, which are famous for their distinctive spotted coloring.
The Southern Star Dolphin Cruise is a very popular way to see these beautiful creatures in Destin. Guests will enjoy a scenic 2-hour cruise through Destin Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico on an 80-foot glass bottom boat. The Southern Star’s slogan is “expect a miracle,” so chances are good that you’ll spot some dolphins during your tour.
2. Go Snorkeling at the Destin Jetties
The jetties are an unparalleled destination for viewing aquatic wildlife in Destin Florida. This man-made rock structure in Destin’s East Pass has become an artificial reef for a variety of sea creatures. When you go snorkeling at the jetties, you’ll have the chance to see puffer fish, hermit crabs, blue crabs, octopuses, flounder, wrasse, redfish, small snapper, and sheepshead. Dolphins and sea turtles have also been known to make appearances around the jetties. For a fun snorkeling expedition to the Destin Jetties, we recommend booking a trip with Destin Snorkel.
3. Visit the Butterfly Garden at Eden Gardens State Park
Located about a half hour away from the Henderson Park Inn, Eden Gardens State Park is a great place for butterfly viewing. This idyllic park includes a designated butterfly garden where you can see nature’s most beautiful insects. In addition to its lovely butterflies, Eden Gardens also boats colorful camellias and azaleas from October through May, a heritage rose garden, a hidden garden, a historic mansion, and a reflection pond with koi fish and water lilies.
4. Watch the Sea Turtles from Okaloosa Island Pier
Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, the Okaloosa Island Pier provides the ideal vantage point for spotting the area’s signature wildlife. Sea turtles frequently swim around the pier, often getting close enough for visitors to take some spectacular photos. Other sea creatures that have been seen around the pier include dolphins, porpoises, jellyfish, manta rays, sharks, herons, and numerous species of fish. Please note that it costs $2 per person to walk the Okaloosa Island Pier.
5. Explore Henderson Beach State Park
Guests at the Henderson Park Inn won’t have to travel far to see some beautiful animals, because our bed and breakfast is located adjacent to Henderson Beach State Park! Featuring shorebirds, wading birds, and migratory birds (in the spring and fall), Henderson Beach is a must for bird watchers. The park is also home to rabbits, gopher tortoises, bobcats, small reptile species, and migrating monarch butterflies (in the fall). Dolphins and sea turtles are sometimes visible in the water, so be sure to bring your binoculars or camera.
When you stay at the Henderson Park Inn, you will have the perfect home base for viewing wildlife in Destin Florida. Our adults only bed and breakfast has been voted the most romantic hotel in America by the users of About.com and TripAdvisor.com. We are also proud to hold the Conde Nast Johansens Award for Excellence. To start planning your next escape, browse our selection of Destin hotel rooms!