I'm noticing that the environment is heavily destructible. Is there any benefit for me to blowing everything up? (beside looting gold)
Yes, you can earn a "Destruction" experience bonus, a small amount of XP that varies with both level and number of objects destroyed.
The more you destroy, the larger the bonus. Since the bonus scales with level, it'll always be as (relatively) useful as you reach higher and higher levels.
Finally, there is an achievement for destroying 50 objects at once.