Big Dolphin Cruises
The big dolphin cruises are great...the first time. the problem is that especially during the tourist season you are going to be elbow-to-elbow with otherpassengers, fighting for air conditioning. By the time you get to the dolphins you don't even care any more.
Big touristy dolphin cruises also don't operate much during the off-season. Costs too much to bring one or two families out.
Unique Suggestions: go for a jet-ski up close and personal dolphin tour. They are pretty friendly and like people so the jet skis won't bother them.
Fun Alternatives: For a private tour, opt for Captain Nino's Cruises at captain-nino-cruises.com
You can go on or off season and it's on a 46 foot yacht, not a crowd-hauler or rusty tourist boat. Charges by the hour so you can split the costs among up to 7 people...any more than that, give him an e-mail so he can work something out. Doesn't charge for babies under 2. You can hang out below deck in a nice lounge, on a captain quarters type of bed or on the deck soakin' up sun. It's worth the price of admission for some privacy and comfort.
- Sailing and Boating
- Family Travel
The first thing that we noticed when we hit the beach in Destin, was that a boogie board is a must to enjoy the waves to fullest. Since we didn't bring any we decided to go to the most logical place to by one. Walmart. We thought this would be alot cheaper than going to one of the local stores. WRONG.
We went to Walmart and bought our boards and also noticed that they have an huge selection of souveniers. Thankfully we didn't buy any of those.
But right after we bought the boards we were traveling back to our condo we decided to stop and one of the local souvenier shops. Namely Alvins Island. This is a tourist's dream. The boogie boards were half the price of the walmart one's.There was so much stuff you could buy something for everyone back home. T-shirts, jewelry, novelties, hermit crabs. There was even a place were you can get icecream and fudge. So for souveniers I would go to Alvin's
Unique Suggestions: Don't buy the souveniers from Walmart.
Fun Alternatives: Alvin's Island is a souvenier's paradise, There are several more shops, give them a try.
At several souvenir shops you can get a henna tattoo. These are NOT real henna tattoos. The henna is severely watered-down, and you'll be lucky if the tattoo lasts a week. They are relatively expensive to get (for how long they last!) and quickly wash off. A real henna tattoo should last at least a month.
Henna tattoos can be fun to get while on vacation, just don't expect it to last very long!
There are dophins everywhere in the Destin Harbor and bay. You do not need to go on a dolphin boat in order to see them! The Dolphin boats are very crowded, expensive, and do not even guarantee a dolphin siting.
Fun Alternatives: Instead of paying for a dolphin boat tour, I suggest renting jet-skis. You will have the same chance of spotting dolphins (you could simply follow the Dolphin tour boat around!!); in fact, I see dolphins almost every time I jet-ski in the bay.
And, if you do not get to see any dolphins (which possibility anyway on the big boat tour), and least you will have a TON of fun! Jet-Skis are a blast to ride on, and you'll get your money's worth
If you have little kids, I would take them to the Gulfarium instead of on a dolphin boat tour. The Gulfarium will give them closer look at dolphins, is less expensive, and a more enjoyable activity.
Airbrushed T-Shirts from Walmart
Wow. Okay, first let me say that the Walmart in Destin is unlike anything I've ever seen. Not only is it your typical walmart, but it has an enormous touristy section! This section contains rows upon rows of cheap shell souvenirs, racks of hats, t-shirts, etc, and the mighty air-brushing station.
I know these T-shirts look like a great idea...but please refrain from buying one. Not only will all the locals laugh at you, but you'll end up spending $40+ on a cheap t-shirt that will FADE after one wash.
Unique Suggestions: If you must get an airbrushed T-shirt...don't go to Walmart. Other souvenir stores have much cuter designs, and aren't as crowded (such as Alvin's Island). Wal-mart is an absolute ZOO, I would avoid it as much as possible.
Fun Alternatives: Instead of a tacky shirt that will be ruined after one wash, get a cute Destin T-shirt. They are a lot cheaper, and will last longer. There is a wide varierty of adorable Destin shirts located in all the souvenir shops along Hwy 98. In addition, there is a store called Distincively Destin located in Destin Commons which has cute souvenir shirts for the whole family.
Alvin's Island Tropical Department Store
There are many souvenir chain stores that you can spend way too much time in. Alvin's Island used to be really big, but we don't see as much of those anymore.
Unique Suggestions: Try not to spend too much time there. You can easily waste time browsing through all the souvenirs they have.
Southern Star, now it could...
Southern Star, now it could have been the day we went but it was beautiful out, about 90 degrees and the cruise was packed full, so we spend hours looking for Dolphins and the only thing we saw was what we thought was a fin, but never were for sure.
The boat just wasn't big enough, and the air conditioned portion was so small that by the adults with children got well packed in there, there wasn't very much room.
I doubt we ever try that again.
The glass bottom boat and...
The glass bottom boat and pirate sunset cruises. How many times can you see a dolphin? Typical guide dialogue: 'Now over here are some of Destin's fine restaurants!' Wow! Pretty profound stuff. But go ahead...lots of people do it.
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