Located in Okaloosa County, Florida, the town of Valparaiso is a suburban sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of a large center, although it is technically part of the wider Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin Grand. part of the metropolitan area.
Thanks to its pleasant climate, unpretentious atmosphere and abundance of outdoor activities, Valparaiso is the ideal place for a relaxing holiday. There are many parks and green spaces in town where outdoor enthusiasts can go hiking, swimming, fishing, boating or picnicking. Destin’s services and world-class attractions are only a short drive away.
There are numerous beaches in the area, many of which feature the soft white sand that the coast is known for.
Here are the 15 best things to do in and around Valparaiso, FL
1. Jolly Island Nature Park
Jolly Island Nature Park showcases beautiful, wild landscapes. Visitors can relax in a natural setting not far from downtown Destin while enjoying breathtaking views of Choctawach Bay and Horseshoe Bay.
Among the five acres of green space is a mile-long hiking trail through the natural area, a dramatic wooden bridge, porch swings and a pirate-themed children’s playground.
2. Northwest Florida Heritage Museum
The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida has been collecting and preserving objects related to the local and regional history of the area for many years.
Currently, a large number of artifacts and documents are on display, and the main purpose of the museum is to inform the public about the heritage of the region and to preserve it for future generations.
3. Crystal Beach
The Gulf Coast coastline is known for its stunning beaches, but Crystal Beach near Destin is a must-see for visitors to the area. Soft white sand and crystal clear waters create a paradise perfect for a relaxing day in the sun.
The beach is also clean and offers many amenities, including restrooms with showers and picnic areas. Beach chairs and parasols are available for an extra fee.
4. Boat landing restaurant
A favorite place for guests and tourists to grab a bite to eat in Valparaiso is The Boathouse Landing restaurant. The menu has something for all ages and tastes, including seafood, pasta, steak and grill options. Lunch and dinner are served in a relaxed atmosphere with outdoor seating.
5. Go paragliding with Just Chute Me Parasail
Soar 400 feet above Destin for breathtaking views of the Emerald Coast when you book a paragliding adventure with Just Chute Me Parasail. After a thorough safety demonstration, take off from the deck of the boat and stay above the water for 10 to 12 minutes, with an optional submersion along the way.
6. Kelly Plantation Golf Club
Golf is a popular activity in Florida, and Kelly Plantation Golf Club in Destin is a well-known course. Acclaimed for its meticulously manicured and stunning views of Choctashic Bay, this 18-hole golf course is set in a former plantation with estuary and palm trees.
7. Go on a pirate cruise
Play as a pirate for two hours as you leave HarbourWalk Village on a 100-foot motor boat for a pirate cruise. Children and adults alike take part in sword fights, water gun fights and scavenger hunts.
When the action gets too much, sit back and enjoy the sights of a snack or drink purchased on board while listening to stories and songs about adventures on the high seas and rampaging pirates.
8. Inland experience
Any visit to Florida ends with a fishing adventure in the deep blue sea. The Intracoastal Experience offers inshore fishing charters for both experienced fishermen and novices. The waters around Destin are rich in a variety of fish, so you’re sure to catch a big one.
You’ll spend four to six hours on the water led by skilled captains and anglers. Includes fish cleaning and bagging.
9. Destination Segway Tour
Segway is a unique and fun way to get around, and Destination Segway Tours in Destination offers adventurous travelers the chance to see the sights while gliding on two wheels. You don’t have to be an experienced segway user, as tours are suitable for all skill levels.
Along the way, you’ll stop at various attractions around the city, including Harbor Walk Village and Clement Taylor Park. There are many places to take pictures.
10. Big Kahuna Water Adventure Park
When the weather is hot and sunny, everyone seems to head to the beach, but if you want to try a different way to cool off in the midday heat, an exciting day awaits at Big Kahuna’s Water Adventure Park.
There are more than 40 thrilling water rides and attractions in this park for all ages. Some attractions include water slides, a lazy river, mini golf, and a Honolulu halfpipe and wave simulator. There are several restaurants on site, and cottages are available for rent.
11. Destin History and Fishing Museum
The best way to learn about any place is to visit a museum that describes the history of the place and its people. The best thing about the Destin History & Fishing Museum is that it covers two main aspects of the area’s history – general history and the area’s fishing history.
This can be shown through a number of exhibits featuring old photographs of pioneers, a 100-foot-long fish caught at sea, an antique fishing boat and an assortment of antique fishing rods, including Ernest Hemingway One owned by Ernest Hemingway.
Visitors can walk through the museum and explore the exhibits on their own, or take a guided tour.
12. Henderson Beach State Park
Henderson Beach State Park is more than a mile of beautiful sand on the Gulf of Mexico: it’s an outdoor lover’s paradise in a peaceful setting away from the more crowded beaches and parks near the hotel.
Visitors wishing to sunbathe, swim and fish on the beach can access the beach area via the boardwalk leading to the beach. If water isn’t your thing, you can hike on picturesque nature trails.
Other on-site facilities include restrooms, showers, a children’s playground and a picnic area with a BBQ. It is also possible to spend the night in this park as there are campsites with water and electricity connections.
13. Explore the Destin Harbor area
Visitors are looking for a leisurely stroll through a sunny Florida afternoon or a laid-back approach to a low-key evening in the Destin Harbor area. The Destin Harbor Boardwalk stretches for a quarter of a mile along the Destin Harbor.
Well-designed landscaped promenades, ambient lighting and comfortable seating create a relaxed and vibrant atmosphere. Locally owned restaurants, cafes and businesses are located in this area. If you happen to be in the area in October, the Destin Seafood Festival and the Destin Fishing Rodeo are highly anticipated events by locals and tourists alike.
Harbour Walk Marina is home to The Crab Island Convenience Store, where you can grab a snack and take a stroll around the harbour. Find the perfect souvenir or gift for a loved one at Nautical Treasures. Restrooms are provided and free parking is just a short distance away.
14. Spend the day shopping at Destin Commons
Destin Commons’ outdoor mall has a wide selection of stores and is a great place to find the perfect souvenir or gift. Choose from local and national retail stores, including Forever 21 and Bass Pro Shops.
After a long day of shopping, catch a movie at the mall’s AMC Theater, or enjoy a meal and drink at one of the many on-site restaurants. Playgrounds and water parks are available for children to play, and miniature trains run multiple times a day.
15. Flipper Adventures
Travelers of all ages who prefer to spend an afternoon or evening on the water have several options when booking a cruise with Flipper’s Adventures. Head to a popular snorkeling spot and spend an afternoon observing the marine life lurking beneath the waves.
Spend time on the water looking for friendly dolphins. Float in the bay to enjoy the fireworks display, or leave before sunset to watch the sun go down. You don’t have to have snorkeling skills to participate, as the well-trained crew will assist you and are also trained in safety procedures.
Depending on the tour you book, it takes 1.5 to 3 hours; some tours offer free drinks.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Valparaiso, FL (FL)
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