Destin FL in December - Weather, Events, Things to do

Destin FL in December: Weather, Events, Things to Do

December marks the beginning of winter and you may be asking yourself:

“Is it worth visiting a beach town when temperatures begin to drop? Will there be enough activities when lying on the beach isn’t the primary attraction?”



Should I visit Destin in December?


Destin beach pictures

Surprisingly enough, Destin FL in December is one of the best times to visit! There is a plethora of special events and things to do, bearable temperatures, and it gets the charm of the holiday season. What’s not to love?

Let’s start with the weather:


What’s the weather like for Destin in December?




Destin FL temperature in December

The average temperature in Destin FL in December is a high of 62ºF and a low of 47ºF. It definitely gets colder as the month goes on but it doesn’t dip below freezing much. The wind chill on the beach will significantly affect these temperatures and is not calculated here.




The average rainfall in December for Destin is 4.6 inches. Snow has happened in the past but is a rare commodity. You have a better chance of experiencing sleet and frozen rain.


Sea Temperature


The temperature of the ocean in Destin averages about 66.7ºF in December. Not quite as cold as February (62.2ºF) but still quite cold.


Is it warm enough to swim in the water?


No, it is definitely not warm enough to swim in the waters of Destin unless you have a wetsuit! Though I am sure there are some Arctic individuals who will disagree with me.




December marks the least amount of daylight for the year in Destin. At 10.5 hours of daylight, the sun goes down 4 hours sooner than it does in June. If you’re looking to take family beach portraits, sunset beach sessions will be conducted much earlier than normal.

maternity beach silhouette


Destin Events in December


There are some great annual events in Destin for the month of December with a few brand new events, as well. Unfortunately, there are too many events to list them all! Here are six events that you should definitely consider (check out the Destin Chamber to see every event sponsored in Destin).


12 Nights of Lights


Located at Baytowne Wharf, the 12 Nights of Lights is an annual light show every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday in December leading up to Christmas. Head over to the big tree in the courtyard to see the show and enjoy the holiday music! The lights usually begin around 6:00, 7:00, and 8:00 PM.


Destin Christmas Tree Lighting


Now on its 33rd year of this tradition, the Destin Community Center is holding a Christmas Tree Lighting on December 5th at 6PM. Santa will make an appearance for the kids and there will be local choruses, music groups, food, and drinks. They also hold a can drive to benefit families in need during the holiday season.


It’s an outdoor event so dress accordingly!


Breakfast with Santa at the Emerald Grande


The Emerald Grande is holding a Breakfast with Santa event for the kids on December 7-8 and 14-15. There are breakfast options for both kids and adults, with the option to design and top your own donut at the donut dressing station.


Arts and crafts will also be offered for children and a visit from Santa! Each child will receive a special treat after breakfast, as well.


Emerald Grande breakfast with Santa

If you are interested, reservations are required and this event sells out quickly!


Destin Holiday on the Harbor – Destin Boat Parade


One of Destin’s most popular traditions, the Destin Boat Parade takes place at the Destin Harbor, beginning at Boshamps and finishing their route around the East Pass. Boats are adorned with festive lights, lighting up the Harbor. The parade will end with a grand display of fireworks originating between the East Pass and Noriega Point.


If you want the best viewpoint of the boats, check out Margaritaville, Jackacudas, Harry T’s, and Tailfins. If you can get a seat on the upper floors then your vantage point will be excellent. The 2nd floor of Harry T’s is my personal favorite spot so get there early!


The parade is held this year on December 15th at 6 PM.


Destin Boat Parade

Destin Commons Jolly Jubilee Celebration


Destin Commons Jolly Jubilee Celebration actually takes place from November 22nd to December 22nd. It consists of events ranging from a parade to welcome Santa (November 22nd) to the Sinfonia Youth Concert (December 20). The mall will be decorated with lights, a 50′ Christmas tree in the mall center, and reindeer topiary shrubs to commemorate the holiday season.


You can also get a free picture with Santa at Bass Pro Shop in the Destin Commons between November 16th and December 24th.


New Years Eve – Baytowne Countdown


One of the final parties of the year! The Baytowne Countdown at Baytowne Wharf takes place on New Year’s Eve, with kids activities kicking off the event at 6 PM. Expect live music and a DJ as the night prepares for the new year. There are also two fireworks shows, one beginning at 8 PM and the last one commencing the new year at midnight.


The celebration ends at 1 AM. After 10 PM, you must be 21 and over or have a parent or guardian accompany you.

Baytowne Wharf fireworks


What Are Some Things to Do?


Go to the beach!


Yeah, it’s chilly, but the sunsets are breathtaking. At this time of year, the sun sets over the water and creates spectacular colors and silhouettes.

sunset beach family photos


Like shopping? Get in your Christmas gifts at some of the malls of Destin, like the Destin Commons or Grand Boulevard. Harborwalk Village is also a great place to shop and explore.


Check out the restaurants! Destin has some incredible local places, offering fresh local seafood and crab legs. They aren’t quite as busy as during the summer months (like Boshamps!) so now is a good time to go.


If you like craft beer and wine, check out the bars and breweries of Destin, FL. There are some unique and charming spots with great views.



Destin in December may not be the warm, tropical paradise most people imagine when they think of the beach but it is far from unenjoyable. The beach is beautiful in the winter and sunsets are over the water. Destin turns into a festive holiday experience with breakfasts with Santa, Christmas parades, New Years’ Eve celebrations, and more. There is plenty to do, like shopping, checking out local restaurants, breweries, and bars.


What else do you do in Destin for the month of December? Let me know in the comments!

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