Mattie Kelly Arts Center's Music on the Lawn

Events Along Destin and 30A You Won’t Want To Miss

June 21, 2021 by scenicstays30a

The sun, sand, and emerald waters along Destin and 30A are undoubtedly great reasons to visit the Gulf coast. Spend lazy days at the beach, embark on a water adventure, explore hiking and biking trails, and indulge in local cuisine on outdoor patios. But why not plan your trip around one of the many events scattered throughout the year for a memorable, fun-filled vacay? 

We’re covering the top events along Destin and 30A that occur throughout the year. So no matter when you visit, you’ll be sure to catch at least one, if not more, of these annual happenings!

Annual Events Along Destin & 30A

30A Songwriters Festival January

This three-day event showcases local, established musicians performing in varied locations throughout 30A. From blues and alternative to folk and country, don’t miss this collaborative affair and the chance to discover new artists with sneak peeks into the songwriting process. 

Gumbo, Wine, Parades, and More – February

The temps may be plummeting in other parts of the world, but winters on the coast are mild and pleasant and offer plenty of exciting events along Destin and 30A to enjoy!

  • A trip to the South wouldn’t be complete without gumbo, and there’s no better place to experience it than the Sandestin Gumbo Festival, complete with children’s activities, music, and contests for the area’s best gumbo and tastiest bloody marys.
  • For a unique experience in a beautiful setting, the 30A Wine Festival offers mixology seminars, crafted cocktails and beer, live music, and a host of events at local venues in the idyllic community of Alys Beach.
  • Benefitting the Seaside School, one of Florida’s oldest public charter schools, the Seaside School Half Marathon and 5K encourages friendly competition and exercise. Watch or participate to receive a commemorative t-shirt and Vera Bradley giveaways!
  • The Mardis Gras Parade at Harborwalk Village on the Destin harbor livens up the community with carnival-themed floats, music, street performers, and beads for the crowd!

Mac-N-Cheese FestivalMarch

There’s a festival for that? Absolutely! Enjoy this favorite southern staple as presented by local chefs at this one-of-a-kind event in Destin. Bring the kids, taste the offerings, and cast your vote for the best mac-n-cheese in town!

Sandestin Wine FestivalApril

Showcasing hundreds of wines, celebrity chefs, gourmet food tents, and special guests, this four-day event at the Village of Baytowne Wharf is packed with activities, each day bringing new culinary delights and wine tastings! 

Digital Graffiti FestivalMay

Alys Beach hosts this one-of-a-kind drive-through experience bringing filmmakers, artists, designers, and photographers from all over the world to compete for cash prizes. Digital artwork displays are projected onto the community’s signature white walls, bringing a myriad of colorful and thought-provoking visual presentations to life. 

Summer Events Along Destin and 30A – May thru August

  • Enjoy carnival celebrations and brass bands during Fat Tuesday Celebrations at Harborwalk Village on the Destin Harbor. Grab a frozen libation, catch beads thrown from fabulous floats, and settle in for a festive time!
  • WWII-era fighter planes soar during Let Freedom Ring, a unique vintage air show commemorating all things Americana. Enjoy live music, browse the shops, grab a table at a dockside eatery, and catch the air show and fireworks over the Destin Harbor.
  • Whether it’s an outdoor movie night, a dance party, or live entertainment, The Hub on 30A is always an excellent choice for family fun. Swing by for live music, plentiful dining options, and shopping in a friendly, open-air environment. You’ll find plenty of outdoor seating, so sit back, chill, and take in just a tiny sampling of all that 30A has to offer!
  • The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation hosts Concerts in the Village all year long, but we find them particularly enjoyable during the summer. Pack a picnic, a favorite bottle of wine, and let the kids play on the sprawling lawn while enjoying the sounds of local artists.

Smoke on the Coast BBQ and Fireworks FestivalJuly

In addition to numerous firework displays throughout Destin and 30A, the Destin Commons is a great place to ring in the Fourth with activities the whole family will enjoy. Sample BBQ, vote for your favorites and experience an incredible fireworks display.

Emerald Coast Poker RunAugust 

Boaters from all over gather for this week-long party traveling along the Emerald Coast with numerous stops along the way, including Navarre, Fort Walton, and Destin. A highly anticipated annual event, participants enjoy camaraderie, great prizes, special events, and awesome swag! 

Burgers, Bourbon, and Beer FestivalSeptember

Burgers, bourbon, and beer…what’s not to love? Spend an afternoon along the Destin Harbor and savor bourbon, craft beers, and signature gourmet burgers from local restaurants. Enjoy the sounds of local bands and watch the boats come in while sipping a cold brew or spirit.

Fishing, Beer, and Art Events Along Destin and 30A – October

October brings cooler temps, fewer crowds, and a host of events along Destin and 30A you won’t want to miss!

  • The Destin Seafood Festival is a favorite with locals and visitors alike. Enjoy seafood, music, arts, and the community at this fun-filled three-day event on the Destin Harbor.
  • A hugely popular saltwater fishing tournament, The Destin Fishing Rodeo is an entire month packed with events beginning with a kick-off party followed by daily weigh-ins, free to the public. A boat parade, a 5K run, and a host of other activities commence, culminating in Halloween on the Harbor, marking the end of the festivities.
  • Held at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and featuring hundreds of domestic and international craft beers for sampling, the Baytowne Beer Festival provides an opportunity to learn more about lagers, ales, ports, and more while enjoying the beautiful fall weather.
  • The Festival of the Arts exhibits over 65 artists celebrating a myriad of art forms, including pottery, sculpture, mosaics, and jewelry, to name a few. Browse the tents, meet the artists, and add to your collection at this fabulous two-day event supporting artists from around the country.
  • ArtsQuest Fine Arts and Music Festival on Grand Boulevard features over 150 artists showcasing their artwork for view or purchase. You’ll find something for everyone here, including live music, local cuisine, and ImagiNation offering up hands-on activities for the kids. With over a dozen categories, this juried art show awards $10,000 in prizes!

30A 10K Thanksgiving Day RacesNovember

With a 10K, 5K, and one-mile fun run, both novices, and experienced runners anticipate this festive event occurring along scenic 30A. The website is an excellent resource for race preparations with a training guide, nutrition suggestions, and healthy recipes to prepare for the big day!

Rosemary Beach UncorkedNovember

This event does not disappoint, featuring crafted wines, great food, and delicious local fare; all served up at the Town Center in picturesque Rosemary Beach. Local restaurants pair signature dishes with featured wines as guests sample, savor, and move onto the next!

30A Half Marathon and 5KDecember

Traveling through the beautiful communities in South Walton, this fast, flat, USATF certified event has gained a strong following. Enjoy the lively post-race after-party and a medal, t-shirt, and swag bag for all race participants.

Be it the farmer’s markets around 30A occurring throughout the year, small events that happen nightly,  or the host of annual events listed above, Destin and 30A are loaded with fun things to do year-round. Still craving some ideas to level up your next trip to Northwest Florida? Read up on why we love Destin and where to frequent along 30A for the inside scoop!

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