pros and cons of living in destin fl

Destin is a thriving suburban beach resort town located on the panhandle of Florida, along the green waters of the Emerald Coast. Its population of 13,469 residents enjoys scenic coastal real estate, great weather all year-round, incredible dining experiences, and some of the world’s best beaches.

Destin is definitely a location worth considering if you are looking to move to the county of Okaloosa.

To help you make the right call, in this article, we cover the pros and cons of living in Destin, Florida.

The pros and cons of living in Destin, Florida


  • Nature and lifestyle
  • Low crime and poverty rates
  • Desirable weather
  • Diversified economy
  • Good schools
  • Dining and nightlife


  • High cost of living
  • Hurricanes
  • Overcrowding
  • Inadequate public transportation system
  • Poor health facilities

The pros of living in Destin, FL

If you are thinking about moving to Destin, here are some of the reasons why it could be just the place for you.

Nature and lifestyle

Destin is situated on one of the most beautiful attractions in Florida, the Emerald Coast. Nothing can beat the true beauty of the sugar sand white beaches sitting along the deep green waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The suburban lifestyle in Destin is ideal for families looking for more space to raise children.

Destin is also attractive for people who enjoy the outdoors and an active lifestyle. It is big on golf and fishing. There are eight upmarket golf courses located in Destin, with another seventeen golf courses within 20 miles of the town.

Destin is home to the best fishing in the Gulf and Bay, with deep waters only 25 miles away. There are more than 24 species of fish caught from the shores of Destin, including wahoo, tarpon, tuna, and much more.

Low crime and poverty rates

Destin has a lower crime rate than in other suburban areas, both national and statewide. So if you are thinking about moving to Destin, crime shouldn’t be a concern.
Citytsitics rate the livability of Destin at 71, with an A+ in safety.

Destin also has a lower poverty rate compared to other cities in the United States. The average poverty rate among American cities is between 10% and 13%. Destin has a remarkable poverty rate of only 7.4%.

Desirable weather

One of the best qualities of living in Destin is its weather. Its residents experience 226 days of annual sunshine but also 66 inches of rain, which is twice the national average. The combination of rain and sunshine keeps the area lush with greenery.

Summers in Destin are hot and humid, and temperatures can reach 90 degrees. Its winters are cool and dry at 60 degrees, but still warmer than the northern areas of the United States that experience snow.

Diversified economy

Usually, beach town resorts solely rely on tourism to survive, and when winter approaches and storms come, these towns get a blow to their economy.

However, Destin has maintained a diversified economy throughout the seasons. This is mostly because the Pensacola Naval Air Station is nearby. This military base trains the best Navy pilots and is home to the Blue Angels.

Other major job providers in Destine include education, medicine, and local and federal governments.

The diversified economy allows Destin residents to enjoy an above-average income. Its residents have an average income of $40,000, which is higher than the national average of $31,000. In Destin, the median household income is $71,000, versus the United States average of $57,000.

Good schools

Destin boasts top-quality education at the school level. It is home to one elementary school and one middle school, both of which rank among the top schools in the country.

The test scores of the schools in Destin are above national averages. Its public school system is in the top 85% of American schools.

In August 2021, Destin opened its first high school. Right now, it is too early to give a ranking, but it will most likely match the high quality of the schools nearby.

Dining and nightlife

As Destin is a tourist hotspot, receiving 80% of the Emerald Coast’s tourists, you can expect outstanding restaurants and nightlife.

Destin offers a variety of dining experiences with more than 275 nationally and locally-owned restaurants. There is a restaurant to suit every taste bud and every budget.

Destin is renowned for its sport fishing, so you will have a range of affordable, fresh, melt-in-your-mouth seafood to choose from. Because its on the Gulf Coast, you will also get a taste of the Cajun influence.

Destin has a vibrant nightlife with a variety of things to do. Whether you are out with your family or some friends, you are sure to have a good time. Destin nightlife offers family-friendly options as well as adult-only entertainment.

During peak season, you will have to battle through tourist crowds to enter the venues.

The cons of living in Destin, FL

Let’s explore some of the reasons why Destin might not be the place for you.

High cost of living

Destin is absolutely breathtaking and can make anyone want to move there, but its beauty does come with a premium price tag.

Living in a coastal city is very expensive. The cost of living in Destin is 18% higher than the national average. Real estate is a massive 62% higher than the United States average.

On the bright side, the average income in Destin is 25% higher than the United States average, which helps offset the high costs.


Just like the rest of Florida, Destin also has a high risk of hurricanes. The Gulf Coast faces a higher risk of severe hurricanes than the East Coast because the warm waters of the Gulf turbo-charge incoming storms.

Destin has the 10th highest hurricane risk in the United States, which is higher than any other area.

According to flood maps, if a severe hurricane makes a direct landing, major areas of the Destin peninsula could be covered by storm surges.


Overcrowding is the most common complaint from Destin residents.

Even though the population of Destin is fairly low, with only 13,469 residents, the area is eight square miles. This means that there are 1,800 people per square mile.

Even during winter, the town will feel overcrowded with such a high population density. It becomes even worse when three million tourists visit the coastal town in summer.

Inadequate public transportation system

Destin residents do not rely on public transport to commute to different areas because the public transport system is so poor.

Almost every household in Destin has a private vehicle, which results in bad traffic and overly choked roads. There is only one road going through Destin, Route 98. There are also two main bridges going to the mainland.

During peak tourist seasons with three million visitors, you can imagine how bad the traffic is. There are so many people and too few roads and bridges. You are very likely going to be stuck in beach traffic full of tourists while trying to get to work.

If you consider moving to Destin, it’s best to have your own car.

Poor health facilities

The Florida panhandle lacks good quality hospitals. Ascension and Baptist, the local hospitals are sufficient to meet your basic medical requirements.

But suppose you require top-quality treatment at a nationally ranked Florida hospital. In that case, you will need to drive three hours to Tallahassee, five hours to Jacksonville, or six hours to Orlando.

Things to consider for living in Destin, Florida

Now that you know the pros and cons of living in Destin, FL, let’s look at other frequently asked questions.

Is Destin, FL a good place to live?

Destin is one of the most sought-after locations to live in Florida. Most of its residents are conservative and own their houses in the urban beach town. Destin is home to plenty of young professionals and families

Is Destin, Florida, expensive to live in?

Destin is 1.2 times more expensive than other areas in Florida. Destin ranks as the 1,979 most expensive places in Florida.

Is Destin, FL a good place to retire?

Yes, Destine is among the top 2% of America’s best places to retire. The beach town offers a variety of retirement communities to choose from. Retirees who can pay the premium price of living in Destin will enjoy the best of the state’s beaches and good weather.

In summary

If you are seeking good weather throughout the year and are willing to pay a premium to live in this suburban area, then Destin could be the place for you.

Its diverse economy, world-class scenic beaches, good schools, and outdoor activities make it a family-friendly town.

Destin is a great place to live if you can work around the excess traffic during the summer and make do with its poor-quality hospitals.

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Filip Poutintsev, the Chief Editor of Honest Pros and Cons, is a long term business writer, who has been featured in various online publications such as Forbes, CoinTelegraph and HackerNoon. Now he writes exclusively for Honest Pros and Cons.