Destin photo spots

Filled with photo opportunities, the Emerald Coast in Florida is equally perfect for both romantic, and family beach holidays. It sprawls across the state’s northwestern coast, embracing great parks, beautiful beaches of white sand, and five different cities. One of them is Destin, also known as “the world’s luckiest fishing village.” 🎣  It’s easy to understand the “lucky factor” – head to the Destin jetties, one of the great locations in America for snorkelling, and admire the plentiful fish through the clear waters, jump on a pontoon boat to explore Crab Island, or hop on a dolphin cruise to see these friendly mammals in their natural habitat. On land, the Destin Harbor exudes the city’s bustling life and has more photo ops for you. Ready for some Destin fun? Here’s a list of the top 5 places to take photos in Destin. 

Don’t forget your swimwear, flip-flops and sunscreen! 👙

Photo: Mary in Destin for Flytographer. Racheal and their family capture memories on a custom route in Destin on a family photoshoot.

1. Henderson Beach State Park

With powdery white sand and crystalline turquoise waters, Henderson Beach State Park lives up to its fame as a slice of heaven on the Emerald Coast. If you’re up for some light exercise, you can hike its natural trails, have a closer look at the unique dune ecosystem, and take great pics.

Just want to chill under the warm Florida sun? A picturesque boardwalk — also full of photo ops — leads to the seaside, where you can bask while strolling the sugar-like white sand, admiring the mesmerizing sea, and feeling the fresh coastal breeze. This beach is also an excellent location for swimming as the waves are gentle and the water temperature is ideal all year round.

Keep your eyes open for the impressive fauna: from pelicans and plovers to turtles making their way to the water and dolphins jumping on the horizon.

Can we ask for anything else from a Florida paradise? 🐬

Photo: Mary in Destin for Flytographer. Stephanie and family capture memories in Destin on a family photoshoot.

2. James Lee Beach

Together with Henderson Beach and Miramar Beach, James Lee Beach is one of the best Destin beaches. A favourite for family portraits, it follows the norm of the beaches on the Emerald Coast: translucent waters and soft white sand. It’s true: anywhere you look, there’s an opportunity for a spectacular beach photo which makes it one of the best places to take photos in Destin.

You can stroll along the beach, go for a swim, or relax under an umbrella, feeling the peaceful magnetism of this place. If you get hungry, the famous Crab Trap restaurant, a James Lee institution, is right opposite the ocean. 

The venue’s picturesque seaside architecture gives the beach its famous nickname, Crab Trap Beach. From its terraces, you can get even more amazing views and the best photo angles of the Gulf of Mexico — and not to mention, exquisite Florida seafood. 🦀

If you want to swap outfits before dinner, the public amenities at James Lee Beach is excellent, with facilities such as restrooms, shower areas, and changing rooms.

Photo: Mary in Destin for Flytographer. Marcia and family capture memories in Destin on a family photoshoot.

3. Destin Gulfgate

Located in the heart of Destin, near several world-class dining, shopping, and entertainment options, and facing a mostly empty and beautiful beach, you’ll find Destin Gulfgate, the city’s favourite luxury vacation rental option.

Besides being a great place to stay and enjoy the breathtaking Florida coast vistas, Destin Gulfgate is a fantastic stage for great pics, especially beach photography and family photos, since the space is secluded from any crowds. 

The friendly staff will help you book any activities you wish, like a dolphin cruise or a pontoon boat ride. Another fabulous option is to find a lounger under an umbrella and have a delicious cocktail by the seaside pool facing the stunning ocean. 😍

Photo: Mary in Destin for Flytographer. Katie and their family capture memories in Destin on a family photoshoot.

4. Grayton Beach State Park

Between Destin and Panama City Beach, Grayton Beach State Park is another hotspot for outdoor lovers. The beach itself is considered a favourite spot by locals and one of the best beaches in the US, but there’s also Western Lake — one of the few coastal dune lakes in the world. 😮

This geological gem is surrounded by beautiful nature, trails cutting through the dunes, and a coastal woodland composed of scrub oaks and magnolias. Unlike other parts of the Emerald Coast, any new real estate developments in this area are limited, giving you fantastic photo opportunities with a natural backdrop providing a beautiful place to take photos in Destin.

Other popular activities in the park are fishing, biking, stand-up paddling, camping, and bird-watching. You can also rent a kayak or canoe to explore the backwaters of the lake. 🛶

Photo: Mary in Destin for Flytographer. Jorja and family capture memories in Destin on a family photoshoot.

5. Fort Walton Beach

With activities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts and fabulous beaches, the small town of Fort Walton Beach sits just a short drive from Destin, between Pensacola and Panama City Beach.

Fort Walton’s Island Pier is famous for panoramic ocean views. This idyllic spot is perfect for a photo shoot during the golden hours (around sunrises and sunsets) with the silhouettes of seagulls and pelicans as props. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get dolphins in the background.

Don’t miss Okaloosa Island, a narrow and long island connected to Fort Walton by a short bridge where you’ll find more great beaches, parks, and wildlife. To walk through the Okaloosa boardwalk is a delight: fantastic restaurants, adorable shops, and many family activities, festivals, and live events. 👌

For a chill experience, John C. Beasley Park is a beachside park offering quiet spots for sunbathing and swimming and a great place to take photos in Destin.

Photo: Mary in Destin for Flytographer. Jorja and family capture memories in Destin on a family photoshoot.

Capturing memories in Destin

Destin really checks all the boxes, doesn’t it?

For more travel insights, check these Destin travel tips from our community of travellers, and while you’re in town, book one of our local Flytographers to take some unforgettable beach portraits. 😉

In Destin, you’ll understand why some call it Florida, and others call it heaven.