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Artificial Reefs near Destin, Florida

Did you know: “Since July 2015, South Walton Reef Association has deployed approximately 700 artificial reef structures at 16 different evenly-distributed sites along the coast of Walton County, Florida. All reef sites are conveniently located near public beach accesses with parking and restrooms. Each reef structure is made of a combination of steel, concrete, and Florida limestone.​ The Snorkel Reef towers are anchored by fiberglass pilings driven into the sand.​ SWARA reef structures are specially designed to provide shelter and, with healthy marine growth, a sustainable food source for a wide range of species.”- (South Walton Artificial Reef Association). Artificial reefs are popping up all over the Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Miramar Beach, 30A, and Pensacola Florida areas. Pensacola Beach is actively in the process of implementing a brand new artificial reef. Throughout this blog, we are going to go through a few of our favorite snorkeling artificial reefs as well as a few of our favorite fishing and diving reefs along with the brand new artificial reef being built in Pensacola.

Snorkeling Artificial Reefs in the Destin, Florida Area

Destin is home to a variety of snorkeling reefs! Looking for a serene vacation experience that the whole family can enjoy? Pack up the family and head on down to Destin! Picture this: You rent a few canoes or kayaks, load your family and friends in, and start paddling towards the reef. Once you arrive you all dawn the snorkeling gear you rented from one of the many friendly local businesses. Then the real fun begins! You all hop into the water and are looking down at the diverse and abundant marine life that lives in and around the reef. The colorful schools of fish dart in and out of the crevices created by the reef as you and your travel companions take in the truly remarkable ecosystem. We highly recommend visiting and snorkeling at a reef with your family and friends that is near shore before taking it to the next level diving down to the deeper artificial reefs in the Destin area. 

There are plenty of snorkeling reefs in and around the Destin area for everyone to enjoy, but we are just going to highlight a few of our favorites here! Dolphin Reef located near Miramar Beach is considered by many as the must-see artificial reef in the area. With its signature design in the shape of a dolphin, this man made wonder is surely something you and your family won’t forget. This is what our friend Joe Godar said about Dolphin Reef: “I consider myself lucky that the county has picked this location for a new reef! This is in front of our condo, DESTIN PALMS, that is a 3 bedroom condo in Pavilion Palms. This is the public beach and parking lot that is located to the west of Pompano Joes.” Another one of our favorite snorkeling reefs in Destin is Turtle Reef, which is located in Grayton Beach State Park. Located a mere two-hundred and fifty feet off of the beach in the breathtaking Grayton Beach State Park this reef is shaped like a turtle and due to its proximity to the beach is one of the easiest reefs to get out to. Spice things up and hop on a paddleboard to make your way to Turtle Reef. While there are many more snorkeling reefs all around the Destin area, these are a few of what we consider the “must-visit” snorkeling reefs in the Destin area!

Diving and Fishing Artificial Reefs in the Destin, Florida Area

Ready to take things to the next level? While the snorkeling reefs in the Destin area are a great way for the entire family to get a peek at the unique marine life, diving and fishing reefs take it to the next level! Keep in mind to scuba dive at these artificial reefs you along with your travel companions are expected to be scuba certified. We also highly recommend that you prepare for weather changes and the ever-evolving climate of the Gulf. Imagine grabbing a few of your closest “scuba certified” friends and taking your water vessel of choice out for a day of deep-sea scuba diving. The sheer population of colorful marine life that dwell within and around the reef is sure to mesmerize even the most experienced divers! In the case that you are not scuba certified, don’t worry, many of these reefs can also be experienced by taking a local fishing charter out to them and spending the day fishing for many different types of local marine life. Imagine gathering your group and hopping on a local charter, catching an abundance of fish, then heading back to your Destin, Florida vacation rental to cook up a feast with your freshly caught bounty! MMM, we are getting hungry just thinking about it!

There are so many great artificial reefs that are conducive to both fishing trips and scuba diving in the Destin area! One of our favorite artificial diving and fishing reefs in the Destin area is Fish Haven #1 located a few miles off of Santa Rosa Beach. If the name didn’t give it away, this man made reef is truly a “Mecca” for fishing advocates. Pull in all sorts of delicious seafood while fishing this reef including one of the most sought after and delectable fish in the Destin area, grouper! For the experienced divers in your group, we highly recommend White Hill Reef, located approximately 5-6 miles southwest of Destin’s East Past. Dive down deep at this magical reef and check out the schools of vibrantly colored tropical fish that call the reef and its surrounding area home! With such a unique and diverse tropical fish population at this reef, it is also known as one of the best fishing reefs in the Destin Florida area. 

Planning a trip to Destin, Florida? May we offer a little advice? When visiting the Destin, Florida area we implore you to visit a few of the spectacular artificial reefs! Using the content above we encourage you to decide which reef and how you would like to explore it fits into the abilities of your group. For families with younger children or elderly members, we recommend visiting a few of the charming snorkel reefs. These reefs accompanied by snorkeling gear offer a family-friendly way to experience the breathtaking schools of marine life that live within and around the reefs. Experienced divers are encouraged to head out to the much deeper waters and explore a few of the diving and fishing reefs. For those with the proper certifications, there is a new better way to experience the vast population of tropical marine life than by diving down and exploring a few reefs. Don’t forget you can also hire local fishing charters to take you out to some of these deeper reefs for a day of deep-sea fishing and an evening of feasting on your bounty! Now that you know all about the reefs in the Destin area, there is only one thing left to do, book a Destin, Florida vacation rental. We recommend visiting to find the perfect accommodations for your group! Traveling with a small family or group of friends? Book a condo vacation rental from our friends at Traveling with a large family or group of friends? Consider booking a larger vacation rental home from our friends at not only features a plethora of vacation rental options but it also has a wealth of information on local restaurants, fishing charters, shopping centers, and so much more! Check out to book your vacation rental today as well as hire a local fishing charter to take you out to one of the gorgeous artificial reefs for a day of fun in the sun!