Locals and snowbirds alike have plenty to choose from when they celebrate the holidays in Destin and 30A.  It’s a season of peace, gratitude, and reflection, and what better place to celebrate than on the beautiful Emerald Coast?!  With its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and plenty of activities, it’s no wonder why so many people flock here for their holiday getaways. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a fun family vacation, there are plenty of things to do in Destin & 30A during the holidays. From Christ-centered festivities to visiting with Santa, below are a few family-friendly holiday activities we love.  All of them are worth checking out in the area this season!

This weekend, December 10-11th is the Mistletoe Market at Harborwalk and December 11th is the Boat Parade! The market will host a variety of vendors with options for gift wrapping, holiday drink samples, a performance by the Northwest Florida Ballet, & the Boat Parade all in ONE weekend!  The Boat Parade will start at 6 pm and will be followed by a fireworks finale and fire spinning.

Also, all month long you can enjoy a festive light show at The Village of Baytowne Wharf every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday leading up to Christmas!  Watch three dazzling shows on the Village Christmas tree and Event Plaza Lawn at 6:00pm, 7:00pm, and 8:00pm on their NEW tree!  It’s a great way to end the evening following their special holiday edition of the Wednesday Night Concert Series.

Friday & Saturday nights from 5 pm – 8 pm through December 17th & All week December 19th – 23rd from 5 pm – 8 pm – Enjoy free horse-drawn carriage rides around the Town Center at Grand Boulevard while taking in the Coastal White Christmas lights and the Festival of Trees display. To add to the festivities, get a photo with Santa while listening to the seasonal sounds of the Emerald Coast Theatre Company’s Dickensian Carolers singing popular holiday carols.

Worship Services

He’s the reason for the season and in addition to Sunday services, this month there are some special options around Christmas. In Destin, you can checkout Shoreline’s Church online at 9 am or in-person at 9 am or 10:30 am on Sundays through December.

Slow afternoons and Local Meals

There’s nothing better than having relaxed and family-filled days.  Black Bear Bread Co in Grayton Beach is our go-to for coffee and breakfast.  A lunch option we love is Pazzo Italiano in Destin. Dinner options are endless. Several local restaurants offer special holiday meals and takeout options through the end of the year!  You can find more of our favorite local restaurants in a previous blog post here.


Santa’s already been spotted again at the Destin Commons Bass Pro Shop (he’ll be there through Christmas Eve) and on weekends at Harborwalk Village (he’ll be there through December 18th).  December 11th, 17th, 18th, and 19th you can have breakfast with him at the Emerald Grande.  He’ll also be at the Henderson Beach Resort December 10th, 11th, & 15th-18th from 5-9 pm in the lobby. You can also find festive holiday displays in nearly every community along 30A. For added fun take a drive through some of our favorites – Alys Beach, WaterColor, and Seaside, all known for magical holiday light displays! 

Baytowne on Ice

Baytowne Wharf is the perfect place to take the family for active fun.  The ice rink is open in the afternoons through February 5th.  In addition to ice skating, 12 nights of lights is running now through December 22nd. They also have a Wednesday night concert series ending December 15th with the Matt McCarty Band.

Capture the Memories

The holidays are a great time to get family portraits you can cherish long after the season has passed.  We have 3 more sessions available in December! Reach out today to secure your preferred date!  


Most of all, we love to plan time to just relax and celebrate the holidays in Destin & 30A!  As the year comes to an end, it’s the perfect time to take a break, reflect, and appreciate all that you have.  Even more so in the company of your loved ones! 

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What do you always do to celebrate the holidays in Destin or 30A that we didn’t mention?  Drop us a comment so we can add it to the list!