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Buying an Airbnb Vacation Rental in Destin

Buying an Airbnb Vacation Rental in Destin

Located on the Gulf Coast, Destin is a resort town laying claim to white sandy beaches, bustling nightlife, great shopping, and peaceful neighborhoods. It’s also an affordable destination for most travelers and together with year round sunshine makes it a great location for an Airbnb vacation rental. If you are looking in Destin to buy an Airbnb vacation rental property, you are already ahead of the curve.

Destin as a Tourist Destination

Destin provides a variety of offerings attractive to a wide swathe of travelers.


Known as the luckiest fishing village in the world, Destin is a great place for deep-sea fishing. In fact, it is named after Captain Leonard Destin who settled in the area in 1845 for fishing. Tourists can opt for private group charters or share excursions out into sea.


Located on the Emerald Coast, Destin is popular among tourists for its beaches that stretch for miles along the Gulf of Mexico.


Voted ‘Best Place to Shop’ by readers of Emerald Coast Magazine, Destin offers a fantastic shopping experience for the retail therapy minded traveler. Destin Commons, for example, houses over 90 businesses across half a million square feet. From one of the handful of Southern Living Stores in the US to great places to grab a quick bite as well as underwater themed bowling alley, it offers a full shopping experience.

Water Sports

From wave running and kayaking to paddle-boarding, parasailing snorkeling, scuba diving, and snuba diving, Destin offers visitors a plethora of water sports options, making it a great market for sports tourism. There’s also dolphin watching and riding in a glass-bottom boat for the less adventurous. Destin is home to many water parks such as HarborWalk Village and Big Kahuna Water & Adventure Park, catering to families, couples, and friend groups. Visitors can also shop for beach fashions and nautical souvenirs.


Fishing is more than a sport in Destin. All those fresh catches end up grilled, baked, broiled, tempered and fried in butter, herbs, and other delicious ingredients to deliver a mouthwatering dining experience. Great dining options can be found throughout the city, from along the beaches to the heart of the city and inner suburbs.

Beach parks

Destin’s Henderson Beach State Park is over a mile-long beach of soft, sugar-white sand that stands in contrast to the emerald green waters and glows in the brilliant light at sunset. The park is the only stretch of natural coastal dune terrain and provides wonderful eco-friendly experiences. Travelers can enjoy the wildlife while hiking on the dunes, camping in the park, or playing in one of its 6 pavilions or playground.


Destin Airbnb Market

According to AirDNA, the short term rental analytics enterprise, the data for Airbnb vacation rentals in the city of Destin is promising. In July 2021, AirDNA reported:

  •      An average daily rate of $388
  •      An occupancy rate of 97%
  •      Average monthly revenue of $8,714

Best Destin Neighborhoods for an Airbnb

1. Downtown Destin

The throbbing heart of the city, Downtown Destin is where you can find the hustle and bustle of an amazing nightlife scene with bars, clubs, live entertainment, and even fairground rides all night long. It is also home to the iconic Destin landmark Crab Island, a large sandbar where locals and tourists congregate for fun under the sun. Downtown Destin combines the best of Destin, from beach fun and delicious dining to entertainment all night long including magic shows and comedy clubs. The neighborhood also hosts a number of spectacular annual events that attract loads of visitors. It caters to families, couples, friend groups, and even campers with a few campgrounds available in the north.

2. Crystal Beach

Crystal Beach is a more upmarket and romantic neighborhood that is a great destination for couples of all age groups. Named after its shimmering crystalline shore, Crystal Beach is a more residential community with luxurious condominiums, cozy cottages, and beachfront mansions boasting a variety of architectural styles. Visitors can enjoy golf at the two biggest courses in the city – Kelly Plantation and Emerald Bay, stroll along the vast beach, ride horses at the Southern Cross Equestrian Center, and shop at the nearby Destin Commons. At night its shoreline comes alive with cocktail bars and romantic restaurants that provide plenty of ambiance.

According to AirDNA, Airbnb vacation rentals in Crystal Beach enjoy an average monthly revenue of $5,670.

3. Holiday Isle

A three-mile-long peninsula between Destin Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico, Holiday Isle is a coveted area in Destin. A more peaceful retreat, it is known for low traffic and high privacy. It is particularly attractive to longer term travelers with boaters able to enjoy ‘finger’ canals and man-made canals with many properties coming equipped with their own dock. Visitors can also enjoy both shore fishing as well as deep-sea fishing - right in the harbor.

Buying Airbnb Property in Destin

Destin can be a great place to invest in an Airbnb vacation rental property in Florida. Here are some things to consider when doing so:

Property Taxes

The median property tax in Okaloosa County where Destin is located is $1,322.00 per year. This is based on a median home value of $204,400 and a median effective property tax rate of 0.65% of property value.

Property Price

According to Redfin, the full-service real estate brokerage, the median sale price of a property in Destin in September 2021 was $600,000. The median sale prices of single-family homes in the same month were $825,000, townhouses $391,250, and condos/coops $493,000.

Airbnb Properties

According to AirDNA, of the over 5,000 active short term rentals in the city, only 99% are entire homes. Most Airbnbs in Destin were 2 bedroom homes, followed by 1 and 3 bedroom homes.

Condos vs Homes

If you are thinking of purchasing a condo over a house, consider HOA fees as well as condo board rules that may constrain your ability to provide a great Airbnb experience. Condo Airbnbs however are not required to register with the city. If you are considering taking out a loan to pay for your condo purchase, always check with your bank first as they may have issues providing a loan for certain types of developments. On the other hand, houses are more expensive than condos. And condo fees can cover insurance and routine maintenance which if good can offset those costs associated with operating an Airbnb.

Destin Airbnb Condos


Being a coastal city and located in Florida, Destin always runs the risk of floods and hurricanes. Make sure your condo or home insurance covers hurricanes, floods, and high winds in addition to the basics, or opt for a vacation rental insurance policy that does.

Destin Airbnb Rules

  1. The city of Destin defines a short term rental as any occupancy of a single-family dwelling unit for a period of time between 1 day to no more than 6 months. These include houses (duplex) and townhouses (triplex).
  • Condos and apartments in Destin are not required to register as short term rentals with the city.

  • The city of Destin only permits Airbnb and other short term vacation rentals in specific zones.

  • To register your Airbnb vacation rental with the city you require the following documentation:

  • Destin imposes maximum occupancy limits: 2 people per bedroom, plus 4 additional people.

  • A named emergency contact resident within a 30-mile radius of the property who will be contactable at all times and arrive at the property within 1 hour of any complaint being made.

  • Ensure proper signage is prominently displayed on the property per city ordinance within 7 days of completing the registration process.

  • Upon approval, display the city-issued annual decal on the top right corner of the signage.

  • Maintain compliance with all regulations and standards including but not limited to parking and obstruction, noise levels, and trash collection.

  • Renew registration each year.


If you are looking to buy an Airbnb vacation rental property in the United States, check out our blogs on buying an Airbnb property in Lake Tahoe, Crested Butte, Myrtle Beach, Park City, Breckenridge, and Jackson Hole.

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