Located on the stunning Emerald Coast of Florida, Destin is a popular vacation destination for US citizens and foreign tourists alike.
Its white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and year-round warm temperatures (the average yearly temperature is 68 degrees Fahrenheit) make it not only an appealing location to visit, but also to make the move to permanently.
In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at the cost of living in Destin, FL.
The Cost of Housing in Destin, FL
Arguably the biggest expense you will have if you decide to move to Destin is housing. Whether you decide to rent or to buy a property can also make the price vary, but either way it is going to cost a significant amount of money to do either.
The average price for a house (to buy) in Destin is around $475,000, which is higher than the national average. A few factors play into this: it is a prime location to live in, and the yearly warm temperatures mean many people enjoy spending winter vacations here. In addition, because of the high demand for houses, and a lower supply than the demand, this means the house prices are higher than the national average.
If you choose to rent an apartment instead, you are looking at around paying $1,500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. This is the price in the city center, so you can expect to pay less for the same size apartment in the suburbs, where you will be looking at around $1,200 per month.
How Much Will My Utilities Cost?
Another factor to consider when moving to Destin is not just your rent or mortgage per month, but your house utilities.
In Destin, they are higher than the national average, and on gas, electric, cooling, heating, water and garbage disposal, you can expect to pay about $150 per month. Adding an internet connection on top of that can bring the total to around about $220 per month.
The reason that these prices in Destin are higher than the national average is due to the hot, humid Floridian summers, so you will need to use more air conditioning and cooling than you will in other areas of the United States.
For instance, thanks to Destin’s semi-tropical climate, the months of June, July and August see as much as 5 inches of rain per month (combined with tropical storms thanks to the humidity), with temperatures rarely dipping below 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
For some people this muggy, humid climate is unbearable, but with the correct cooling systems installed in your home, it will not only be bearable, but enjoyable and certainly livable.
On the other hand, you will hardly spend a cent on heating, because the temperature hardly ever goes below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
When compared to other coastal cities in Florida, food costs in Destin are generally about the same.
For instance, a gallon of milk will cost you around $4.50, while a loaf of bread is about a dollar cheaper.
Fruit and vegetables vary in price, but with many fruits being grown in Florida (especially oranges) you can save quite a lot of money by buying fresh, seasonal produce.
Potatoes and onions come in at around $1.25 per pound, while the same amount of oranges is only $1.30. Apples are much more expensive as they are often transported in from elsewhere, and a pound of these can cost you as much as $7.
Other foodstuffs are generally reasonably priced: a dozen eggs will cost about $4, with a pound of chicken fillets coming in at the same price. Rice is priced at about $5 per pound, while beef is slightly more expensive, with prices generally upwards of $7 per pound.
Eating out is another viable option in Destin. There are a multitude of restaurants catering towards any cuisine, from Asian, to Italian to American and everything else in between. A three course meal for two people will generally cost about $50 in a mid range restaurant, while fast food is considerably cheaper. For instance, a set meal at a McDonald’s restaurant or similar establishment will cost about $11.
As for beer, you are likely to spend $5 per pint on local, draught beer with imported bottled beer (in 12 ounce bottles) more expensive – usually upwards of $6 per bottle, if you are in a bar.
Coffee is also quite expensive in Destin – both in chain coffee shops and independent cafes – with a regular sized coffee costing around $5 per cup.
Transportation Costs in Destin
Because of its small size (for a city), transport in Destin is relatively cheap. A one way ticket on the bus will cost about $2.50.
As for gasoline, a gallon is slightly cheaper than the national average, with the price being about $3.90.
However, because of its small size, parking can be a bit of an issue – so parking fees are something you will need to budget for. These tend to range anywhere from $2 to $10 per hour, depending on the time of day, the location of the parking lot and more.
Like with any city worldwide, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself entertained in Destin. The fact that it is also a favorite destination for tourists definitely helps when it comes to finding different types of entertainment, often without breaking the bank.
If you would like to go to a movie theater, you can expect to pay between $10 to $15 for a ticket – significantly cheaper than in many other places, even some other cities in Florida like Miami and Orlando.
There are also a few local theme parks within driving distance from Destin, so you can enjoy a day out with your family or friends at these. You can expect to pay around $70 for an all day pass to a theme park near Destin.
Similarly, if you enjoy outdoor activities, you can go on a half-day fishing excursion and pay roughly $30 for the experience, as long as you bring your own equipment. If you need to rent the equipment, the ticket price can be higher. Some even let you keep what you catch, so you know that dinner is sorted once you go home and fire up the barbecue!
There are also plenty of ways to entertain yourself without spending a single cent. There are plenty of parks in Destin, lovely for a walk around with friends and family, or perhaps a morning jog while the temperatures are slightly cooler. You can see some lovely native Floridian flora and fauna while you’re at it, too!
Florida is known for having some of the best beaches in the United States, and Destin is no exception. A day at the beach costs as much as you want it to – the public beaches are free to access, so as long as you bring a cooler full of drinks and snacks (don’t forget your beach towel either!) you can be sorted for a fun-filled day at the beach for next to no cost at all.
Saving Money While Living in Destin, FL
We all want to save money where we can – particularly in tough times like we are currently living in – so we want to make sure that every cent we save counts towards something.
We have outlined a couple of ways below how you can save money while living in Destin.
As was mentioned earlier in this article, the cost of coffee in Destin is more expensive than the national average for the United States, coming in at about $5 per cup.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with a trip to Starbucks or a local, independent coffee shop and treating yourself to a coffee every now and then. However, let’s say you’re used to buying one every day on your way into work, up to 5 days a week. That’s $25 a week you are spending on take out coffees. To put that into perspective, that’s $100 per month, or $1,200 per year – almost as much as car insurance costs in Destin!
That’s a lot of money to be spending just on coffee, right? To save money to ease the cost of living in Destin, you could always invest in a quality coffee machine. You can purchase them from $100 upwards (although really good quality ones are likely to cost in the region of $250 to $350).
Although it seems like a big investment at first, you’ll soon come to appreciate getting up five minutes earlier for work, and taking the time to make your own coffee at home, especially when you’re saving almost $5 for every cup that you make.
On top of that, if you buy a reusable cup, you are not only saving yourself money, but you are also helping the environment at the same time, too. What’s not to love about that?
- Eat Seasonally
We all have our own favourite foods that we could eat on any day of the year at any given time.
However, because of Destin’s semi-tropical climate, it is important to note that some foods are cheaper than others at given times of the year. In the summer, for example, some fruits are cheaper than others when they are in season – think oranges, bananas, mangoes, raspberries and strawberries for example.
It is a good idea to stock up on these fruits in the summer when they are in season, and freeze them for use in the winter, so that you don’t have to pay more for them when they are out of season.
You can still use them in recipes, or blend them together in a healthy smoothie to start the day with.
Overall, the cost of living in Destin, FL, is slightly higher than the national average. This is largely down to the higher cost of housing, and the high demand versus the short supply of it.
However, the city offers plenty of entertainment and outdoor activities – helped by its temperate year-round climate – which makes it a popular location for tourists and locals alike.
With its stunning beaches and gorgeous weather, Destin is an excellent place to call home, but you will need to budget accordingly to make the most of your time in this Emerald Coast city in the Sunshine State.