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Best Public Beaches Destin FL

Trying to decide which public beach to go to during your Destin vacation? There are 13 public beach areas in the city of Destin, Florida. This article is an overview of each of them with descriptions, tips, and photos that will help you find your perfect beach.

Destin Beach Public

Below is an interactive map showing the exact locations of these public beach areas in Destin. The numbers on the map correspond to the descriptions of each beach area in this article

1. Norriego Point Public Beach Access

Parking: Parking Lot + Street Parking
Outdoor Shower/Foot wash: Yes
Public Restroom Facilities: No (Restrooms are planned for the future)

Norriego Point Public Beach Destin Florida

Norriego Point is a white sand peninsula located at the end of Gulf Shore Drive on Holiday Isle. It is different from other beach areas in Destin because it is not directly on the Gulf of Mexico. One side of Norriego Point is on Destin harbor and the other side sits on the East Pass which leads out to the Gulf of Mexico.

Norriego Point Public Beach Destin Florida
Entrance to Norriego Point Beach Area

This beach area has plenty of beautiful scenery and areas to walk around and explore. You can watch boats cruising by on the harbor and take in the view and sounds of Harborwalk Village.

The scenery is further enhanced by the sand dunes, sea oats and wooden fences all over Norriego Point which make beautiful backdrops to photos. You are bound to see plenty of blue heron and other birds out here as well.

Norriego Point Public Beach Destin Florida

There are some inlets of water protected by jetties here that make for nice calm swimming areas on the East Pass side. Some people do swim on the harbor side beach area but just be careful to watch for boats coming and going.

Norriego Point Public Beach Destin Florida

Norriego Point is a popular area for boaters who can beach their boats along the shore on the harbor side to hang out awhile.  Many people also come to Norriego Point by Kayak or Paddle Board. There is even a Water Taxi stop on Norriego Point so you can come or go here from anywhere on Destin harbor.

Boats at Norriego Point Beach
Boats parked on the beach at Norriego Point

Norriego Point is currently being reconstructed in phases of development. They added a large area of sand in phase one allowing for 2 extra swimming areas. They have also added lifeguard stands. The picture below is how it looks as of summer of 2019.

Norriego Point New Swimming areas and Lifeguard Stands
Norriego Point as of summer 2019. 2 lifeguard stands and 2 additional swimming areas have been added.

It is still accessible as long as you stay out of the fenced and roped off areas where they are growing new sea oats.

New Sea Oats growing at Norriego Point
Boaters enjoying Norriego Point at sunset. New Sea Oats growing on the dunes behind the fence

2. O’Steen Public Beach Access

Parking: Street Parking
Outdoor Shower/Foot wash: Yes
Public Restroom Facilities: No

O'Steen Public Beach Destin Florida

O’Steen Public Beach is accessed through a walkway off Gulf Shore Drive just north of Norriego Point. Be prepared for a bit of a walk from the street parking out to the beach.

O'Steen Public Beach Destin Florida
Entrance to O’Steen Public Beach

O’Steen Beach is where you will find The Destin Jetties which are huge boulders stretching out into the water.

The swimming area next to the jetties is the best snorkeling in Destin so bring your mask and snorkel with you.

Snorkeling Boats at the Destin Jetties
Snorkeling Boats at the Destin Jetties

The jetties are also a good fishing spot (there are usually people fishing from them) and the rocks make beautiful backdrops for photos.

O'Steen Public Beach Destin Florida
Jetties looking towards Destin Bridge

The summer crowds in this area might seem confusing since there is limited parking and it’s a decent walk but most people actually arrive to this beach by boat from Destin Harbor.

This area is the Emerald Grande beach where they shuttle their guests over by boat. It is also a popular spot for snorkeling excursions by local companies.

Emerald Grande Beach Chairs Set Up at the Destin Jetties
Emerald Grande Beach Chairs set up at the Destin Jetties and snorkeling tour boats in the water

I made a time lapse of the walk so you are prepared for it if you decide to visit at O’Steen Beach:

3. Calhoun Public Beach

4. June White Decker Park Public Beach

5. Silver Shells Public Beach

Parking: Large Parking Lot
Outdoor Shower/Foot Wash: Yes
Public Restroom Facilities: Yes

The next 3 beach access points can be hard to understand because they are all 3 in the same parking lot (I’m not sure why they don’t just combine them into one name) so I used one aerial photo to display them with coordinating map numbersPublic Beach Access Destin Florida

This is a popular beach area in Destin so even though the parking lot is huge, it can still sometimes be tough to find parking in the summer.

Public Beach Destin Florida
Calhoun Public Beach Access Entrance
Public Beach Destin Florida
Silver Shells Beach Access

This large parking lot is also shared by The Back Porch restaurant (a great restaurant with amazing beach views) and a really cute candy and gift shop called The Candymaker.

The Back Porch Destin Florida
The Back Porch Restaurant Destin Florida
The Candymaker Destin Florida
The Candy Maker Shop in the Parking Area

This is a beautiful and convenient beach area with amenities such as restrooms, bike racks, grills, and a beautiful park with a playground.

June Decker Park Public Beach Destin Florida
Playground at June White Decker Beach Park
Destin Florida Public Beach
Beach Area at Silver Shells Beach Access

There is also a cute little beach bar called the Sand Bar (operated by Silver Shells Resort) that sits right on the beach.

The Sand Bar Destin Florida
The Sand Bar at Silver Shells

6. Henderson Beach State Park Public Beach Access

Parking: Large Parking Lot
Outdoor Shower/Foot Wash: Yes
Public Restroom Facilities: Yes

Henderson Beach State Park Destin Florida

Henderson Beach State Park is the only public beach area in Destin where you will not be sharing the beach with condo buildings directly in the background. This gives it a wonderful natural feeling.

Henderson Beach State Park
Walkway down to the Beach at Henderson State Park
Henderson Beach State Park
Henderson Beach

There are many amenities here including a campground, picnic pavilions, grills, a playground, and a nature trail.

Henderson Beach State Park
Picnic Pavilion and Grill Area

Also unlike other beach areas in Destin there is a fee to use this area. Currently, the cost for day use is $6.00 per vehicle but you can check their website for up-to-date information about fees, facilities, camping, etc…

Henderson Beach State Park
Picnic Pavilion

Besides a beautiful beach area, Henderson State Park also has a 0.75-mile nature trail.

Dogs are permitted on the nature trail but they are not allowed on the beach. For more information about traveling with your dog in Destin check out this post, I wrote for further information.

Henderson Beach State Park
The beginning and end of the nature trail loop
Henderson Beach State Park
You can see the ocean from the highest point on the nature trail

7. Shirah Street Public Beach Access

Parking: Small Parking Lot + Limited Street Parking
Outdoor Shower/Foot Wash: Yes
Public Restroom Facilities: No

Shirah Street Public Beach Destin Florida

The best and feature of this beach area is if you happen to get one of the 6 spots in the parking lot, it’s a very short walk to the sand from there.

Photo Gallery of Shirah Street Beach Access:

Shirah Street Public Beach Destin Florida
Shirah Street Beach
Shirah Street Public Beach Destin Florida
Walkway down to Beach
Shirah Street Public Beach Destin Florida
Parking Lot at Shirah Street Beach Access

8. The Shores at Crystal Beach Public Beach Access

Parking: Small Parking Lot + Limited Street Parking
Outdoor Shower/Foot Wash: Yes
Public Restroom Facilities: Yes

Shore at Crystal Beach Destin Florida

This beach access area has restrooms, a nice picnic pavilion, and it’s right across the street from Camille’s which is a wonderful Sushi and Pizza restaurant.

Photos of The Shores at Crystal Beach Street Beach Access:

Crystal Beach Destin Florida
Shores at Crystal Beach Entrance off Scenic Highway 98
Crystal Beach Destin Florida
Walkway down to the Beach
Crystal Beach Destin Florida
The Shores at Picnic Pavilion

9. Crystal Beach Drive Public Beach Access

Parking: Limited Street Parking
Outdoor Shower/Foot Wash: No
Public Restroom Facilities: No

Crystal Beach Drive Public Beach Destin Florida

The drawback to this beach access is that the parking is not very convenient (see above picture).

It is also a narrow walkway down to the beach which can be awkward if you are carrying beach chairs and supplies. However, this beach access has 790 on the Gulf on it’s beach which is a wonderful restaurant with gorgeous ocean views.

Photos of Crystal Beach Drive Beach Access:

Crystal Beach Drive Destin Florida
Crystal Beach Drive Public Beach Access Entrance
Crystal Beach Drive Destin Florida
The Beach at Crystal Beach Drive Public Beach Access
Crystal Beach Drive Destin Florida
Crystal Beach Drive Walkway to Beach

10. Barracuda Street Public Beach Access

Parking: Limited Street Parking
Outdoor Shower/Foot Wash: No
Public Restroom Facilities: No

Barracuda Street Public Beach Destin Florida

This is a pretty beach area but it is a longer and more narrow walkway to the beach then some of the other areas and the parking is limited.

Photos of Barracuda Street Beach Area:

Barracuda Street Beach Destin Florida
Barracuda Street Beach
Barracuda Street Beach Destin Florida
Walkway down to Beach at Barracuda Street Beach Access
Barracuda Street Beach Destin Florida
Barracuda Street Public Beach Access Entrance
Barracuda Street Beach Destin Florida
Walkway to Beach at Barracuda Street Beach Access

11. Pompano Street Public Beach Access

Parking: 3 Car Parking Lot + Street Parking
Outdoor Shower/Foot Wash: Yes
Public Restroom Facilities: No

Pompano Street Public Beach Destin Florida

The most unique thing about this beach area is that there are still huge pilings from the old Crystal Beach pier down by the water. The pier came down in a hurricane in the 70’s but the pilings still make for really pretty and unique photographs (see gallery below).

Photos of Pompano Street Beach Area:

Pompano Street Public Beach Destin Florida
Pompano Beach Entrance
Pompano Street Public Beach Destin Florida
Old Crystal Beach Pier Pilings at Pompano Street Beach
Pompano Street Public Beach Destin Florida
Pompano Street Beach looking East

12. Tarpon Street Public Beach Access

Parking: Street Parking
Outdoor Shower/Foot Wash: Yes
Public Restroom Facilities: No

Tarpon Street Public Beach Access Destin Florida

This is a pretty beach area but it also has a somewhat long walkway which includes a staircase down to the beach.

Photos of Tarpon Street Beach Access:

Tarpon Street Public Beach Access Destin Florida
Tarpon Street Beach Access
Tarpon Street Public Beach Access Destin Florida
Walkway down to the beach at Tarpon Street access
Tarpon Street Public Beach Access Destin Florida
Tarpon Street Beach looking West

13. James Lee Park Beach Access

Parking: Large Parking Lot
Outdoor Shower/Foot Wash: Yes
Public Restroom Facilities: Yes

James Lee Park Public Beach Access Destin Florida

This area has many amenities such as restrooms, picnic pavilions, and several beach walkovers. The Crab Trap restaurant is also here with great food and ocean views from the indoor and outdoor tables.

Photos of James Lee Park Beach Access:

James Lee Beach Destin Florida
Uncovered Picnic Pavilion at James Lee Public Beach
James Lee Beach Destin Florida
Walkway down to Beach at James Lee Public Beach
James Lee Beach Destin Florida
James Lee Public Beach Covered Picnic Pavilion
The Crab Trap Destin Florida
The Beachfront Crab Trap Restaurant at James Lee Public Beach

This sums up the City of Destin public beach areas. I hope you find your perfect beach and enjoy your time here in Destin.

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