Destin is a city on the Gulf Coast in the Florida Panhandle. The beaches are pristine with white sand and clear shallow water, drawing thousands of visitors each year.
With beachfront state parks and water parks filled with slides and lazy rivers, experiencing Destin on vacation is perfect for every family member.
The city has an extensive golf course that draws people from across the globe, and the shopping in the area is outstanding, with beachside surf shops and high-end outlet malls.
The culinary scene in Destin is terrific, with lots of fresh seafood, great cocktails, and laid-back beachy vibes.
We visited Destin to discover the best restaurants with waterfront views in the area and have compiled a comprehensive list of our favorites.
Best Waterfront Restaurants in Destin
- Boshamp’s Seafood & Oyster Bar
- Pompano Joe’s
- Marina Cafe
- Surf Hut
- Crab Trap Destin
- Harbor Dock’s
- Harry T’s
From seafood buckets to steamed shrimp to freshly shucked raw oysters, the restaurants on our list offer some of the best seafood in the area!
Boshamp’s Seafood & Oyster Bar
414 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541
Overlooking Destin Harbor, Boshamp’s Seafood & Oyster Bar serves locally sourced seafood and Southern favorites in a relaxed setting.
The restaurant has two full bars and incredible ocean views where diners can watch boats move in and out of the harbor. The restaurant opens at 11:00 am daily.
I enjoyed an appetizer, the fried green tomato and jumbo lump crab with lemon butter, béarnaise, and honey roast nuts.
I ordered the pan-roasted Gulf grouper with feta cheese soufflé, garlic braised spinach, tomato jam, and citrus butter for an entree.
Try the Boshamp’s Hard Lemonade with vodka, mint, lemonade, and a cherry for a refreshing cocktail.
2237 Scenic Gulf Dr, Destin, FL 32550
Pompano Joe’s serves Caribbean-influenced seafood and offers a scenic beachfront patio. The restaurant is open at 11:00 am daily.
The kitchen is known for its take on gumbo; the dish has taken the top prize at the Sandestin Gumbo Festival multiple times. Happy hour extends from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
When I visited Pompano Joe’s, I enjoyed Joe’s crab cakes with a tomato-jalapeño tartar sauce, the coconut shrimp with a mango-papaya chutney, and the fried grouper sandwich. Try the banana toffee bourbon cake or the key lime pie for dessert.
404 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541
The Marina Cafe is a great place for an intimate date or a celebration–be sure to ask about their private dining room for a larger party.
It is located in Destin Harbor and is open from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday.
I loved the fried green tomatoes with local gulf shrimp and remoulade sauce. Other popular menu items include a pepper-crusted and seared yellowfin tuna with chimichurri sauce and a molasses glazed Scottish salmon with a sundried tomato relish. The house sangria is a perfect pairing with any entree!
551 Scenic Gulf Dr, Destin, FL 32550
Surf Hut opened in 2014 near Miramar Beach with lots of oceanfront seating. All of the seafood prepared by the kitchen is caught locally and acquired daily from The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. The Surf Hut is open from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm every day.
My favorite dish at the Surf Hut is the shrimp and grits with a Cajun andouille cream sauce. The platter with BBQ ribs and fried shrimp is a popular menu item.
I recommend trying the fried grouper fish sandwich, a Gulf coast staple. The tropical margarita, with pineapple juice, is a delicious cocktail, and the beer list includes local favorites from the Grayton Beer Company.
Crab Trap Destin
3500 Scenic Hwy 98 E, Destin, FL 32541
Just off Ocean Boulevard by James Lee Beach, the Crab Trap is a casual beach-themed joint with delicious seafood and great people-watching.
The restaurant serves local seafood and is open from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm every day. Just outside the restaurant, families are a playground for kids to enjoy while they await their meal.
The smoked tuna dip is my favorite appetizer. I also recommend ordering the Alaskan snow crab legs, the blackened mahi-mahi, or the fried shrimp po’boy.
The frozen pina colada is a frozen cocktail good for cooling off after a day in the sun. I also enjoyed another frozen drink–the Bushwhacker!
538 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541
Harbor Dock’s is a fun waterfront restaurant and hang-out with deck seating. The restaurant specializes in seafood dishes and sushi.
First opened in 1979, Harbor Docks has become an institution for locals to enjoy the community and tasty freshly caught fish. Watch fishers bring their catches up to the dock for weighing and packaging.
The seafood gumbo is a great addition to any meal, either a cup or a bowl. I also recommend the Thai fried rice with shrimp or the catch of the day, blackened and served with smoked gouda stone-ground grits.
The specialty sushi rolls like the Amazon, Back Down, and Donkey, and fun and delicious bites.
46 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541
Along the Destin Harborwalk, Harry T’s is a classic seafood restaurant with gorgeous water views. The upstairs portion of the restaurant is available for events and parties.
With a view of both Norriego Point and Destin Bridge, it is a unique place in the city. Harry T’s is open daily with extended weekend hours.
I enjoyed the seafood macaroni and cheese and the pimento cheese BLT sandwich when I visited Harry T’s.
Other popular items include broccoli bites and the key lime pie. The bar offers daily five-dollar margarita drink specials! At Harry T’s, brunch is also entertaining, with bottomless mimosas and a seafood omelet.
Destin is a beautiful beach town perfect for a family vacation with lots of public beaches, water parks, shopping, golfing, and dining.
Located in the Florida Panhandle and situated directly on the Gulf Coast, Destin is a great place to find tasty and fresh seafood.
From Gulf shrimp to fried grouper to steamed crab legs, restaurants in the area serve locally sourced and mouth-watering seafood plates.
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!
If you are interested in more restaurants Destin has to offer, check out this article to learn more!