9 Things to Do in Northwest Florida for Adventurists

May 28, 2024

Although you might not know it, beyond its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, Northwest Florida is a prime launchpad for adventure! From jet skiing and parasailing to scuba diving and spearfishing, you’ll find no shortage of thrilling Northwest Florida activities to keep you entertained. If excitement and adrenaline are what you’re looking for, or even if you’re just itching to try something new while on vacation, here are some of our favorite things to do in Northwest Florida!

Discover Kite Surfing

Learn how to harness the wind and water while kite surfing! Also known as kiteboarding, this dynamic watersport combines surfing, wakeboarding, and paragliding into one exhilarating experience, and it’s one of our favorite things to do in Northwest Florida. Along the Gulf of Mexico waters, kite surfing enthusiasts will find the perfect playground to unleash their skills and ride the wind and waves. Book a single or group kite surfing lesson with Emerald Coast Kite Surfing in Fort Walton Beach, or surprise those in your group with a 3-hour beginner lesson. Then kick back, catch some rays, and let the fun begin! 

Take a Surfing Lesson

While not widely known as a surfing spot, the water along the Emerald Coast is perfect for learning the sport. Beginners and experienced surfers will find plenty of opportunities to hone their surfing skills in our beautiful emerald waters! Ride On Surf School in Destin offers surfing lessons for all skill levels and ages and will have you surfing like a pro in no time. Kids and adults can join their summer surfing camps, book group lessons, or get one-on-one instruction with private lessons. 

With surfing school services from Destin to 30A, you’ll find a location that works for you at All-A-Board Surf School. The staff has extensive experience in the water and is happy to teach you the ropes! You bring sunscreen, water, and snacks, and they’ll provide the instructor, surfboard, and leash for their camps, private, and semi-private lessons. With some help, you’ll be off and enjoying one of our favorite Northwest Florida activities!

Try Efoiling

An electric hydrofoil is a personal watercraft that uses battery power to help riders glide effortlessly over the water. Better known as Efoiling, this water sport is gaining popularity, and it’s a fun way to get on the water. There’s no need to swim or paddle —the electronic propeller does all the work by lifting the board out of the water. All you need is a little enthusiasm and balance. Anticipate falling off a few times, but rest assured, even those new to the sport will catch on quickly. Slather on the sunscreen, grab your shades, and book a two-hour lesson at XL Kites in Fort Walton Beach to learn the basics.

Go Parasailing

If you’re looking for more exciting things to do in Northwest Florida, try parasailing for a fun-filled adventure and a bird’s-eye view of the Gulf of Mexico. Soar above the crystal-clear waters and feel the wind in your hair while taking on the panoramic views of the stunning coastline in Panama City Beach! Paradise Water Sports offers parasailing over Shell Island, a beautiful, seven-mile barrier island accessible only by boat.

If you’re in Destin, Gilligan’s Watersports and Wet-N-Wild Watersports offer fantastic parasailing experiences, whether you prefer going solo or riding tandem with friends or family. Start your adventure at the Destin Harbor and head to Crab Island for Instagram-worthy views!

Ride a Jet Ski

Explore the crystal clear waters and lively surroundings of Destin Harbor by renting a jet ski or a waverunner. Zip along the coastline, explore secluded beaches, and discover hidden coves along the way! Whether cruising alone or exploring with friends, you’ll have a thrilling time. Power Up Water Sports in Fort Walton Beach will get you and your crew on the water in no time with stable, comfortable equipment. Blue Crab Water Sports in Destin offers jet ski rentals all year round so that you can enjoy the experience anytime!

Explore Spearfishing

If you’ve never tried spearfishing, you’re in for an unforgettable adventure! With a reputation as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” where better than Destin to try your hand hunting for snapper, grouper, cobia, and more? Destin Spearfishing and Benthic Ocean Sports offer unique spearfishing tours for both beginners and experienced spearfishers, where you can explore the depths of the Gulf and catch dinner while you’re at it! For those with more experience, book a charter with Panama City Diving in Panama City Beach and explore the natural reef habitats!

Book a Helicopter Tour

Explore Northwest Florida on a helicopter tour! You’ll get a unique perspective of our local communities and delight in the breathtaking views of the pristine beaches and stunning landscapes. You might even see a few of our playful dolphins! The best part is these tours are suitable for adventure seekers of all ages, making it a fun activity for the whole family.

Panhandle Helicopter offers tours along Panama City Beach and 30A. A great way to see the beautiful coastline, you’ll also note other unique features, including coastal dune lakes, artificial reefs, and more. Destin Helicopters provides exceptional service and expert pilots who will ensure you have the experience of a lifetime. With over a half dozen tour options, you’ll quickly find one of interest!

Learn to Scuba Dive

Dive beneath the waters and discover a new world brimming with vibrant marine life. Whether you’re a beginner in scuba diving or a seasoned divemaster looking for your next adventure, Northwest Florida offers exceptional scuba diving opportunities for divers of all levels. Explore the area’s natural and artificial reefs teeming with colorful corals, discover underwater vessels, and see sea turtles, dolphins, and other marine life!

Explore Local Cuisine

Beyond experiencing new things to do in Northwest Florida outdoors, you’ll find a wide variety of cuisine that extends far beyond seafood to satisfy your taste for exploration. After an exhilarating day of new experiences, treat yourself to a delightful meal at one of the many restaurants in Destin, 30A, and beyond! Whether traveling solo, as a couple, or with your family, you’ll find something to tempt your taste buds.

Northwest Florida is truly a wonderful place for various activities, and after days filled with adventure, you’ll want a comfortable place for your whole crew to relax. Whether you’re looking for a spacious beachside retreat or a cozy cottage off the beaten path, Scenic Stays has you covered with beautiful vacation homes and condos throughout Northwest Florida!


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