History of Destin


Located in the Florida Panhandle, the City of Destin has a rich historical heritage dating back to American Indian inhabitants as early as the seventh century A.D. Spanish explorers surveyed Florida in 1538. Don Francisco Tapia was commissioned to survey the Florida coast and in 1693, drew the first known map of East Pass and its shores.

Immediate History

Destin traces its immediate history to a fisherman, Captain Leonard Destin from New London, Conn., who began sailing and fishing the gulf waters around 1835 and, through series of mishaps, permanently settled in Destin in about 1850-1852. Captain Destin pioneered the fishing industry and Destin has maintained this heritage to the present.

Read "... And The Roots Run Deep" - a short story history of Destin by Vivian Foster Mettee and Associates.

Growth & Development

With the growth and development of Destin from a small fishing village to a major tourist resort came the need for a local government structure. The City of Destin was originally chartered as a municipality under the laws of the State of Florida in 1984. However, the community of Destin, in existence for more than one hundred and fifty years, has a long history as a fishing village and premier resort destination.

Fishing & More

Destin is known as the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village." The city houses the largest and most elaborately equipped fishing fleet in the State of Florida. In addition to fishing, recreational opportunities include golf, tennis and water sports, including diving and snorkeling. The 100 Fathom curve draws closer to Destin than any other spot in Florida providing the speediest deep-water access on the Gulf.


The City of Destin is home to 14,077 full-time residents (2018 U.S. Census).

For More Information

For more information on the history and development of Destin, visit the Destin History & Fishing Museum.