If you are an art enthusiast or a history buff there are several museums in Destin, FL, and by visiting each of them, you’ll learn so much about Florida’s remarkable history.
Destin is a town on the Emerald Coast of Western Florida known for its lovely white beaches, fishing, military forces, and great museums.
It’s the perfect solution to pass the time on those gloomy days during your stay. In fact, regardless of what the weather is doing, museums in Destin Fl, are undoubtedly well worth it.
Destin Florida museums are a little bit quirky, but this is precisely what makes them so unique.
A Little Bit Of Destin’s History
Before becoming a top-rated destination with tourists, Destin was referred to as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.”
Destin’s history can be traced back to Captain Leonard Destin, who was a fisherman. He arrived from New London, Connecticut, in 1845, and he settled in Florida’s Northwest.
For decades, he and his ancestors fished and navigated Destin’s East Pass, the only channel passage to the Gulf of Mexico in the middle of Panama City and Pensacola.
Must-Visit Museums in Destin, FL
I’ve put together a list of 5 amazing museums in Destin, Florida. Come with me as we explore how you can make the most of your next trip away.
- Destin History and Fishing museum
- Air Force Armament Museum
- The Zoo Gallery
- Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum
- Indian Temple Mound Museum
1. Destin History And Fishing Museum
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If you want to learn more about this charming beach town, visit the Destin History and Fishing Museum. Did you know that Destin didn’t have electricity until the 1940s?
Visitors will learn about the city’s origins and native people, the fishing industry’s history, and the road to becoming an official city in 1984.
Exhibits explain the science underlying the stark white sand on Destin’s beaches, as well as the ocean’s 75 species of fish. The museum’s highlight is the awe-inspiring collection of all the artifacts that relate to the fishing industry.
Make sure you watch a short video about the Destin Fishing Rodeo, which is a popular tradition.
Just outside is the Museum Heritage Park. Here is where you’ll find restored historic boats, one of which is called “Primrose.” This was the last seine boat used by the first fisherman in Destin.
Something The Kids Will Love
Another huge hit, and a perfect picture moment, is the replica Megladon Shark jaw.
Children can participate in scavenger hunts, and adults can take guided tours.
I have to praise the museum’s experienced personnel, many of whom have lived in Destin for a long time and are familiar with the area’s ins and outs. The museum has a very cozy, family-friendly environment.
Located off Highway 98 across from the Destin Community Center, it is a convenient stop for visitors. This is one of the best museums in Destin, FL.
There is free on-site parking; however, spots are limited.
Location: 108 Stahlman Avenue, Destin, FL 32541
Contact: +1 850-837-6611
Opening Hours: 10.00am – 4.00pm Tuesday to Saturday.
$5 for Adults
$4 for Military Personnel
$3 for Students
Free for Children Under 6 Years Old
Visit their official website for more information.
You can also follow them on Instagram.
2. Air Force Armament Museum
Just a quick 30-minute drive from Destin, off Highway 85 South, you’ll find Air Force Armament Museum. Founded in 1975, and is the nation’s only museum dedicated to preserving and displaying air force armaments.
We chose to visit the Museum because we had a few hours to kill and there are more artifacts on show now, compared to the last time I visited.
The museum is very popular among military veterans. It has a unique exhibition with several indoor galleries and an outdoor airpark with various restored historic airplanes. There are rockets, missiles, and a vast gun collection.
You’ll even get to see aircraft that were used in Iraq, Korea, Vietnam, and World War II!
Throughout the day, there is a fascinating 30-minute film showing the history of Eglin Air Force Base and its role in the development of military weapons.
While a few repaired planes are within the structure, most aircraft are outside in the surrounding area.
Something for the Kids to Enjoy
Air Force Armament Museum is the perfect place for kids to come and enjoy being fighter pilots in the flight simulator. Bring the dogs too and have a picnic outside under the pines.
It is not necessary to have a pass to access the Museum because it is located outside the airbase gates.
It is arguably one of the most famous museums near Destin, FL, and it is easy to see why people love it.
Location: 100 Museum Drive, Eglin Air Force Base, FL 32542
Contact: +1 850-882-4062
0pening Hours: 9.30am – 4.30pm. Monday – Saturday
Entry Fee: Admission is free
Visit their official website for more information and upcoming events.
3. The Zoo Gallery
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Are you a lover of art and craft? Well, this is the perfect Destin museum to visit and experience the art of handcrafted furniture to artisanal jewelry. This is a quirky museum with a little difference.
Chris and Roxie Wilson founded the museum. They have been pursuing their passion for collecting arts of all kinds since 1979. They have also converted their hobby into a full-fledged business.
The couple owns two businesses, one in the Santa Rosa Beach neighborhood and another in the Grand Boulevard at Sandestin shopping complex. Both boutiques include a diverse selection of paintings.
The Zoo Gallery also exhibits work by artists and designers from across the country, intending to showcase the artistry in daily art.
When entering The Zoo Gallery Museum, you’ll see the fantastic range of items on display.
There are mirrors, furniture, paintings, lights, and clothing in bright colors and designs. You’ll be in absolute awe of the array of brilliant and even some weird items.
Many objects are handcrafted from various materials, including metal, glass, stone, recycled materials, and other natural elements. Candles, hygiene goods, cards, soap wallets, T-shirts, and books are among the various items produced by many different artists.
Grayton Beach Store
The Grayton Beach store, like the one in Sandestin has a large floor design that allows the pieces to stand out, so tourists can browse around freely.
Sticks Object Paintings & furniture is one of the highlighted artists at both stores. The handcrafted furniture is a lot like Frida Kahlo’s art. All are carefully crafted and in a class of their own.
Other artists include Sugarboo, Laurie Pollpeter Eskenazi, Jill Schwarz, along with superbly constructed timepieces from Witchcraft Watches, and local artists too.
Every item is unique, and this store is like no other, especially when looking for the ideal gift or souvenir from your trip to the Florida Panhandle shores.
Grand Boulevard Store: 500 Grand Blvd 3104, Miramar Beach Fl 32550
Grayton Beach Store: 89 Hotz Avenue Fl, 32459
Frame Shop and Office: 1209 Airport Road Number 1 Destin, Fl 32541
Grand Boulevard Store: +1-850-837-9233
Grayton Beach Store: +850-231-0777
Frame Shop and Office: +1-850-837-0100
10.00am – 9.00pm. Sunday – Saturday
Entry Fee: Admission is free
4. Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum In Destin Fl
Next on my list of amazing museums in Destin FL, is Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum.
Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum is a historical building. It was the first school built for the students of Camp Walton, which would later become Fort Walton Beach.
In 1911, local residents constructed the school out of native pine and oak. When the school first began in 1912, there were only a few students.
The original building only had one room and later expanded to a second for the higher grade students. Today, it functions as a museum of the local culture and early education in the area from that time.
The Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum was relocated to Heritage Park in January 2006, joining the Indian Temple Mound Museum, the Fort Walton Temple Mound, and the Garnier Post Office Museum.
However, it was originally across the street from the current Chamber of Commerce on Main Street (Highway 98). The museum has been relocated three times now.
The facilities are currently open to the public six days a week. The Museum Division of the City of Fort Walton Beach is in charge of the educational programs.
Location: 127 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
Contact: +1 850-833-9575
10:30am – 2:30pm. Tuesday – Saturday
$3.18 to $5.30 Depending on age or Military Status.
Free for Children Under 4 Years Old.
You can visit the Fort Walton Beach Official website for more information.
5. Indian Temple Mound Museum In Destin Fl
This one is a definite must for all the history buffs! The Indian Temple Mound Museum in Destin is one of the few museums in the Southeast that focuses on Native American culture, artifacts, and lineage.
It is a must-visit site if you’re in town and just a minute walk from the Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum. There’s a chance you might have spotted this unique burial mound when driving along Highway 98 in Fort Walton Beach.
It was erected by the Pensacola culture Indians who resided here in 800 AD, the exact dates are not certain.
The Indian Temple Mound Museum site was once a hub of religious, economic, and social activity and is now a hallowed burial ground.
This mound has a footprint of roughly 50,000 square feet, 12 feet high, and 223 feet wide, making it one of the largest mounds discovered by saltwater.
Peaceful Atmosphere In The Heart Of The City
Even though the museum is located in the heart of the city, you won’t experience any of the rush, noise, or tension when you enter.
Beautiful, garden-like grounds feel miles away from the city, creating a peaceful, holy environment that you can’t help but notice.
Camellia bushes form a beautiful and potent natural sound barrier so that you won’t hear the city traffic or noise – absolute bliss.
Outstanding Ancient Ceramics Collection
One of the world’s most extensive and most outstanding collections of ancient ceramics, produced by contemporary Pensacola people, can be found here. As you stroll through the museum, you will encounter relics dating back to 25,000 B.C. to as recent as the 1950s.
From intricately crafted pottery to early maize agriculture, these artifacts cover a wide range of topics.
Hands-on exhibitions showcasing techniques such as basket weaving and hand drilling are ideal for both younger and older visitors.
Automobiles, electric light, aircraft, television, and radio were all 1,000 years away for the people who lived here.
They had no idea that in 1513, Spanish explorers would arrive, that conflicts would erupt over their country and that a new nation would emerge from this shore to the Pacific Ocean.
Imagine their faces if they knew that the place where they lived, worshipped, worked, fished, and hunted was now located in the heart of a business center.
If you want to visit museums in Destin, FL, that have a lot of cultural and historical artifacts to see, you must add the Indian Temple Mound Museum to your itinerary. It is very fascinating.
Location: 139 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
0pening Hours: 10.00am – 2.30pm. Tuesday – Saturday
$5.00 + Tax Adults 18+
$4.50 + Tax for Seniors 55+
$3 for Children 4-17 Years Old
Free for Children Under 3 Years Old
You can visit the Fort Walton Beach Official website for more information and any forthcoming events.
As you can now see, the Emerald Coast has a variety of impressive museums that are ideal for a perfect vacation. So, regardless of what the weather is doing, these museums in Destin, Florida, are well worth a visit.
Traveling is crucial to us as humans as it helps us connect through learning about music, new sites, food, culture, and how people live their daily lives in various parts of the world in the present and past.
Visiting a new place for the first time is a fantastic experience that cannot be replaced by anything else and exploring museums is certainly the perfect way to learn about that culture’s history.
Which of the museums in Destin, FL, are you going to visit first? If there is anything I’ve left off this list, please do share it with us. Let us know which museum is your favorite and why.
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