History & Heritage


Story by Courtney Murray

Destin, Florida is home to some of the most stunningly beautiful beaches in the world. The Emerald Coast is filled with crystal clear water and sugar white sand that attracts sun worshipers from all over. Destin is as rich in history as it is in beauty. Destin may be a major tourist attraction today, but it’s history dates back to the seventh century A.D. when American Indians lived here and survived off of the marine life. Destin’s heritage is surrounded by fishing. The area traces its immediate history to a fisherman, Leonard Destin, who hailed from New London, Connecticut and planted his roots in Northwest Florida around 1845.

In 2009 Destin celebrated its 25th anniversary as an incorporated municipality. Fishing, watersports and a love of seafood have created the foundation for our seaside city. This October will mark the 39th year celebrating the Annual Destin Seafood Festival. This festival features fun for the entire family with games, live music, shopping and seafood to enjoy in every shape, size, type and flavor. If you have not had enough seafood after the festival, you can indulge in even more in the many delicious locally owned restaurants throughout Destin. If purchasing fish isn’t your style, you can catch your own during the Destin Fishing Rodeo. This exciting annual event features a high stakes fishing competition in which the entire community joins in on the fun. Crowds gather each day along the docks at AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar to witness the exciting weigh-ins. With a 5K run, a Miss Destin Pageant, a mini fun fishing rodeo for children, it is easy to see why the Destin Fishing Rodeo is a beloved tradition. A lot has changed over the years, but the spirit of Destin remains the same as we continue to thrive as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.”


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