3 Closest Airports to Destin and Miramar Beach, Florida (2023)

Are you looking for the closest airports to Destin, Florida? Wondering which airport is the best choice to fly into for your upcoming vacation to the Emerald Coast?

3 Closest Airports to Destin and Miramar Beach, Florida (1)

This post will help you choose which airport to use depending on where you are staying, which airline you prefer, and several other factors.

3 Closest Airports to Destin and Miramar Beach, Florida (2)

Whether you are staying in Destin, Miramar Beach, Sandestin, Okaloosa Island, or anywhere on the Emerald Coast of Florida, you have three nearby airports to choose from.

There is another airport that is actually the closest airport to Destin called the Destin Executive Airport but it is only for private planes, not for commercial flights.

Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS)

The Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport is located in Valparaiso, Florida which is to the northeast of Fort Walton Beach, Florida. This is the smallest of the three choices but also the closest airport to Destin and most surrounding areas.

  • Number of Gates at VPS Airport = 5
  • Distance from VPS Airport to Destin = 19 Miles from Destin
  • Commercial Airlines Serving VPS: Allegiant, American, Delta, Southwest, & United
  • VPS Onsite Rental Car Companies: Avis, Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, and National

The VPS Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport is the best choice in most cases if you are staying in Okaloosa Island, Destin, Miramar Beach, or Sandestin.

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If you are planning to take a shuttle or a ride-share such as Uber or Lyft to your Destin area vacation then VPS is the best airport option. ECP and PNS are too far for shuttles and ride shares to be a reasonable option.

I recommended renting a car over a ride-share option in most cases though because Uber and Lyft are still somewhat unreliable with inconsistent availability on the Emerald Coast.

Nonstop Flights to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS)

Thanks to Allegiant Airlines, the Destin-Fort Walton Beach VPS Airport will have the most options for nonstop flights. The other airlines also have a few nonstop options.

Cities with Nonstop Flights to VPS

Asheville, NC (AVL), Atlanta (ATL), Austin, TX (AUS), Baltimore, MD (BWI), Belleville, IL/St. Louis, MO (BLV), Bloomington, IL, (BMI), Boston, MA (BOS), Charlotte, NC (CLT), Chicago, IL (MDW), Chicago (ORD), Cincinnati, OH, Clarksburg, WV (CKB), Cleveland, OH (CLE), Columbus (Rickenbacker), OH (LCK), Concord, NC (USA), Dallas, TX (DAL), Dallas, TX (DFW), Dayton, OH (DAY), Denver, CO (DEN), Des Moines, IA (DSM), Evansville, IN (EVV), Grand Rapids, MI (GRR), Houston, TX (HOU), Houston, TX (IAH), Huntington, WV (HTS), Indianapolis, IN (IND), Kansas City, MO (MCI), Knoxville, TN (TYS), Las Vegas, NV (LAS), Lexington, KY (LEX), Little Rock, AR (LIT), Louisville, KY (SDF), Memphis, TN (MEM), Milwaukee, WI (MKE), Minneapolis, MN (MSP), Nashville, TN (BNA), New York City/Newark, NJ (EWR), Northwest Arkansas/Bentonville (XNA), Oklahoma City, OK (OKC), Omaha, NE (OMA), Peoria, IL (PIA), Pittsburgh, PA (PIT), Raleigh-Durham, NC (RDU), Rockford/Chicago IL (RFD), Shreveport, LA (SHV), Springfield/Branson, MO (SGF), St. Louis, MO (STL), Tulsa, OK (TUL), Washington DC (DCA), and Wichita, KS (ICT).

While there are a lot of cities with nonstop flight options to VPS, many are only operating seasonally during peak times of the year and only on certain days.

Where is VPS Airport?

VPS Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport Website

Panama City Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP)

The Panama City Northwest Florida Beaches Airport is located on the northwestern part of Panama City, Florida. This is the second smallest airport of the three choices but also one of the closest airports to Destin.

  • Number of Gates at ECP Airport = 7
  • Distance from ECP Airport to Destin= 49 Miles from Destin
  • ECP Commercial Airlines: American, Delta, Southwest & United
  • ECP Onsite Rental Car Companies: Avis, Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, and National
3 Closest Airports to Destin and Miramar Beach, Florida (4)

Panama City Beach Airport is the best choice if you are going to Panama City Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, or the 30a area but it is also within a reasonable driving distance to most areas of Destin.

Nonstop Flights to Panama City Beaches International Airport (ECP)

Panama City Beaches International Airport does not have as many nonstop flights to VPS but they do have a few offerings. Again many are seasonal or only offered on certain days of the week.

Cities with Nonstop Flights to ECP

Atlanta, GA (ATL), Austin, TX (AUS), Baltimore, MD (BWI), Charlotte, NC (CLT), Chicago, IL (MDW), Chicago, IL (ORD), Dallas, TX (DAL), Dallas, TX (DFW), Denver, CO (DEN), Houston, TX (HOU), Houston, TX (IAH), Kansas City, MO (MCI), Nashville, TN (BNA), Philadelphia (PHL), and Washington DC (DCA).

If you are staying anywhere east of Destin such as Miramar Beach, Sandestin, or Santa Rosa Beach, then I recommend VPS as your first choice and Panama City Beach as a good second choice.

I would not recommend the Panama City airport as much if you are staying in the more western areas of Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach or Navarre.

Where is Panama City ECP Airport?

ECP Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport Website

Pensacola International Airport (PNS)

The Pensacola International Airport is located on the northeast side of Pensacola, Florida. This is the largest airport of the three choices.

  • Number of Gates at PNS Airport = 12
  • Distance from ECP Airport to Destin= 54 Miles from Destin
  • ECP Commercial Airlines: Southwest, American, Delta
  • VPS Onsite Rental Car Companies: Ace, Avis, Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, and National
3 Closest Airports to Destin and Miramar Beach, Florida (5)

Pensacola is the best airport choice if you are going to Pensacola Beach or Navarre but it is not the closest airport to most areas of Destin out of these three. Still it is within reasonable driving distance if it’s your best flight option.

Nonstop Flights to Pensacola International Airport (PNS)

Pensacola International Airport also does not have as many nonstop flights to VPS but it does have more options than Panama City Airport (ECP). Many are seasonal or only offered on certain days of the week.

Cities with Nonstop Flights to PNS

Atlanta, GA (ATL), Austin, TX (AUS), Baltimore, MD (BWI), Charlotte, NC (CLT), Chicago, IL (MDW), Chicago, IL (ORD), Dallas, TX (DAL), Dallas, TX (DFW), Denver, CO (DEN), Dulles, VA (IAD), Houston, TX (HOU), Houston, TX (IAH), Indianapolis, IN (IND), Kansas City, MO (MCI), Miami, FL (MIA), Nashville, TN (BNA), Orlando, FL (MCO), Philadelphia (PHL), Salt Lake City (SLC), Tampa, FL (TPA), and Washington DC (DCA).

If you are staying in the Destin Harbor area, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, or Navarre then the Pensacola Airport could be a great second option for you if you can’t fly into VPS.

I do not recommend flying into the Pensacola Airport if you are staying in the eastern areas of Destin such as Miramar Beach and Sandestin because the traffic could be bad getting through in all those popular beach towns along the way.

The shortest route would take you through Navarre, Okaloosa Island and also through the Destin harbor and mid-bay bridge area, not to mention the 3-mile bridge in Pensacola which can have a lot of traffic, especially now being still under construction from Hurricane Sally.

Where is Pensacola PNS Airport?

PNS Pensacola International Airport Website

Sometimes your airport decision will also come down to personal preference. I live in the Destin Harbor area and I use the Panama City Beach airport about 60% of the time I travel.

VPS is closest to me while the Panama City Airport is 54 miles east and the Pensacola airport is 54 miles west. I typically have the best prices and options from Panama City with Southwest going to Denver, which is where I travel to most.

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I also prefer the Panama City ECP Airport because it never feels as crowded as VPS and I always find the parking fast and easy. There’s also always someone on a golf cart driving around the parking area to help me since with my heavy snowboard bag.

I hope this post helps you choose the best airport to use when flying into Destin, Miramar Beach, Sandestin, Okaloosa Island, or anywhere on the Emerald Coast of Florida.

Before you book your flight, be sure to check out this post I wrote to help you choose the best time to go: The Best Times to Visit Destin, Florida

Be sure to comment below if you have any questions or feedback. I love hearing from you and prefer to answer questions on here so my answers can help others as well. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list so you don’t miss any posts!

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