Pros and Cons of Living in Destin, Florida

Pros and Cons of Living in Destin, Florida

Destin on the panhandle of Florida, along the clear green waters of the Emerald Coast is truly amazing. Situated between the historic streets of Pensacola and the spring break capital of Panama City Beach, it boasts of some of the most scenic coastal real estate you will ever set your eyes on. 

While you read this article, I assume you are seriously considering moving to Destin, Florida. And that may make you curious to know whether everything about the city is fair and clean. Fortunately, we’ve compiled the pros and cons of living in Destin, Florida. 

We researched the city in detail, covering every bit of it and we are confident that by reading this, you will be able to make the right call. 

Let’s walk ahead to check the pros and cons of moving to Destin.

Hold on! Before we proceed further, let’s take a look at the basic facts about the city and some interesting information that can add value to your findings.

Read Our Florida Moving Guide before moving to Florida

Destin Facts

  • Area: 7.66 square miles
  • Population: 13,931        
  • Density: 1,859.201/sq mi
  • County: Okaloosa     
  • State: Florida  
  • Median income: $66,324
  • Median age: 39.5
  • Median home price: $490,400

Here are a few interesting facts about Destin

  • Destin got its name from Leonard Destin, a fishing captain who settled here between 1845 and 1850.
  • Destin has the largest fleet of fishing vessels in Florida.
  • Destin was once an island. 
  • Destin’s beautiful white sand comes from the Appalachian Mountains. 
  • Destin became an official city only in 1984.

Here are the major pros and cons of living in Destin.

  The Pros of Living in Destin The Cons of Living in Destin
1 It is home to Emerald Coast Beaches High cost of living
2 Fishing is big here Hurricane risks exist
3 The weather is amazing There is overcrowding 
4 The economy is highly diverse Traffic is terrifying
5 Above-average income No good hospitals nearby
6 Top-quality schools Limited college options
7 Plenty of restaurants A poor public transport system
8 Vibrant nightlife  
9 Plenty of golfing options  
Pros and cons of living in Destin Florida

Let’s see the pros and cons of moving to Destin, Florida in detail. 

The Pros of Living in Destin

It is home to Emerald Coast beaches

The 100-mile Emerald Coast on the Florida panhandle got its name from the pristine white sand beaches that sit along the beautiful emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. One of the prettiest attractions in Florida, the Emerald Coast, and its beaches draw about 4.5 million tourists annually and about 80% of them come to live in Destin. 

Fishing is big here

Destin was a fishing village from the beginning and since tourism boomed here, it has become one of the most popular activities. The area is home to some of the best fishing spots in Florida. Interestingly, you will find hundreds of people here fishing from the shoreline surf, from piers, and bridges. Destin is home to many fish species including grouper, snappers, amberjack cobia, tuna, sailfish, wahoo, tarpon, and many more.

Here is a list of the best places to fish in Destin.

  • The Destin Bridge
  • East and West Jetty
  • Coast Guard Station
  • Norriego Point
  • Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier

The weather is amazing

One of the major pluses of Destin is the weather. It gets 226 days of sunshine and also 66 inches of rain, which is twice the national average. And the combination of sun and rain keeps the area lush with green. Summers are too hot but winters are warm and when the northern parts of the US sleep under the white blank of snow, thousands of snowbirds flock to Destin.

The economy is highly diverse

Normally, tourism is the major driving force in most beach towns but it is quite different in Destin. The economy is diversified here due to its proximity to the Pensacola Naval Air Station. This military base trains many of the Navy’s best pilots, is home to the famous Blue Angels, and is nicknamed “The Cradle of Naval Aviation”. In addition, education, medicine, local & federal governments are also major job providers in Destin and surrounding areas. 

Above-average income

While we discuss the pros and cons of moving to Destin, we should not miss out on the lifestyle here, probably complemented by the above-average income. A resident of Destin has an average income of $40K versus the US average of $31K. The median household income in Destin is $71K versus the $57K average.

Top-quality schools

Destin boasts of its quality education, especially at the school level. There is an elementary school and a middle school, both ranking among the top schools in the country. Earlier, there was no school in the Destin town limit and children had to travel outside the city but this changed after the authorities opened two schools in recent years. 

Plenty of restaurants

Considering the little population, it is a surprise that Destin has about 275 restaurants, mostly local. A major reason for this is the huge influx of tourists to Destin. There is a restaurant to meet every craving and every budget. And considering the availability of fish of all types, seafood is the main catch served here.

Vibrant nightlife

In Destin, the real fun starts after the Sunsets. There are hundreds of family-friendly and adults-only entertainment options. But the only challenge is you need to battle tourist crowds to enter the venues in the peak season.

Plenty of golfing options

Florida is the golfing capital of the US and just like every part of the state; Destin too has many places to try the sport. There are 8 top-quality golf courses within the Destin area and another 17 golf courses within 20 miles of the town. Avid golfers will never be bored in Destin.

As we are discussing both the pros and cons of moving to Destin, we cannot stop with the pluses of living here. Let us move to see some of the drawbacks of living in Destin.

Tip: Here is an awesome car moving checklist while you move to another state

The Cons of Living in Destin

High cost of living

Though Destin is highly mesmerizing and would make everyone think about moving there, you need to be ready to shell out high for it. The coastal city is highly expensive. While the cost of living is about 18% higher than the US average, the housing costs are a whopping 62% higher than the US average. If you are serious about moving to Destin, be ready to spend high.

However, the brighter side is that the average income in Destin is 25% higher than the national average. 

Hurricane risks exist

Just like any part of Florida, the risk of hurricanes is high in Destin as well. The city is ranked the 10th highest risk of hurricanes in the US, which is higher than any location. As per the flood maps, the major portions of the Destin peninsula could be covered with storm surge should a major hurricane make a direct landing.

There is overcrowding

Though the population of Destin is too low, it is always crowded as tourists flood to the coastal town year around. The size of the city is just 8 square miles and its density is 1,800 people per square mile. Now imagine what will happen if about 3 million tourists flock to the city every year. There will be hardly any place to keep the feet and that’s what is happening in Destin, which most residents are not happy about. 

Traffic is terrifying

In Destin, every resident owns a car and every tourist prefers a taxi. As a result, roads are always choked. Only two main bridges are connecting the mainland and when about 3 million tourists flock to Destin in summer, it is all hell broke loose. 

No good hospitals nearby

The Florida Panhandle lacks top-ranked hospitals. Though local hospitals might be enough to meet your basic medical requirements, you may need to drive 3 hours to Tallahassee, or 5 hours to Jacksonville, or 6 hours to Orlando. 

Limited college options

The Destin area lacks a good college and the only one community college, the Northwest Florida State College is ranked low nationally. To study in a good college, you need to drive to Pensacola, where the University of West Florida is located. 

The poor public transport system

Destin’s public transport system is so poor that the residents do not depend on it to commute to different areas. Instead, almost every home has a private vehicle, which makes the roads too choked. If you are serious about moving to Destin, you need to think about owning a car. 

Tip: While you move home, the safety of your household belongings will be the priority. A trustworthy moving company at your side can make you relaxed during the process. Here are the top-rated movers in Florida.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Destin a safe place to live?

Destin records a low crime rate (14 per 1,000 people) and it is much safer than most US cities. Violent crimes and property-rated crimes are much lower than the national average. Your chance of being a victim of property crime is 1 in 86 and the city is safer than 45% of US cities.

What is the coldest month in Destin?

The coldest month in Destin is January when high temperatures reach the low 60s and can drop down to the 40s at night.

What are the best beaches in Destin, Florida?

Here are 5 best beaches in Destin, FL:
Henderson Beach State Park
Miramar Beach
James Lee Beach
Crab Island
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park