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Destin, Florida is a beautiful coastal town located in the Panhandle region of the state. The town is known for its sugar-white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, which attract tourists from all over the world. But Destin’s history is just as rich and interesting as its present-day offerings. Let’s take a look at how this charming coastal town came to be.

Native Americans and Early Explorers

Destin was originally settled by the same Native American tribes that inhabited much of the southeastern United States. These tribes used the area as a seasonal fishing camp due to the abundance of seafood in the Gulf of Mexico.

Spanish explorer Don Francisco de Taps surveyed the coast of Florida in 1538. In 1693, he drew what is considered to be one of America’s first maps of the Destin area. His map is the first known document of East Pass and its shores.

However, the area was not officially named “Destin” until around 1845 when Captain Leonard Destin, from New London, Conn., moved to the area and deemed it a perfect place for fishing.

Fishing History

Fishing has been an important part of the economic life in Florida for centuries. With so many fishermen operating from such small boats, it’s no wonder that there are some very old vessels still around! One such example is The Primrose – a 1920’s era boat (built by Captian John Maltezo and Captian John Melvin Sr.) that has been restored and resides at Destin’s History and Fishing Museum. At the museum, you can see how fishing methods changed over time with seines being replaced by rods & reels as well as larger ships coming onto the scene due to better technology making them more productive.

Destin quickly became a thriving fishing community, thanks in part to its strategic location. Situated at the very end of a long peninsula, Destin was (and still is) a prime spot for deep-sea fishing. Over the years, many fishermen from all over the world have made the journey to Destin in hopes of reeling in a big catch.

Into The 1900’s

In the 1900s the favored form of transportation became the automobile. So, construction on the East Pass Bridge began in April 1933. The East Pass Bridge was 3,210 feet long and was completed in April 1935. In 1937, Gulf Power brought electricity to the area. This contributed to the growth of the community.

In 1953 Destin was named “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village, on the Gulf Coast.” at the start of the annual fishing rodeo. Later in 1977, The filming of Jaws II was conducted. In 1978, the first traffic light was installed on HWY 98 and Gulf Shore Drive. The population quickly rose to over 3,500 in 1980.

In 1984, Destin officially became a city. Today, it is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Florida, attracting millions of visitors each year. And despite all of the growth and development that has taken place over the years, Destin has managed to retain its small-town charm.

Destin Today

Today, Destin is home to about 13,000 permanent residents and welcomes millions of visitors each year. The town has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a small fishing village, but its rich history remains an important part of its identity.

Destin, Florida is a place with a long and rich history. It’s a place that has been inhabited by Native Americans for centuries and later settled by Europeans. Today, it is still known as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” and is a popular vacation destination for families from all over the world. Thanks for taking the time to learn about the history of this charming coastal town!

Do you want to read more about the history of Destin, FL. Check out Destin History… And The Roots Run Deep by Vivian Foster Mettee and Associates

Or visit Destin History and Fishing Museum

Are you looking for fun things to do in Destin? Check out this article that highlights local attractions.