Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is a year round destination that is great for family vacations or couples looking for a romantic weekend getaway. Located on the Northwest coast of Florida, the 2,400 acre resort is situated between Pensacola and Panama City along the Intercoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico.
Visitors can choose from more than 1,300 rental accommodations including single family homes, condominiums, one-to-four bedroom villas, and hotels. On a recent stay, my husband and I made a weekend reservation at one of the resort’s condominium hotels–Elation.
Before our drive to the resort, I downloaded the complimentary “Explore Sandestin” app and previewed our room online. As we drove through the immaculately landscaped resort, it was easy to find the hotel and its underground parking garage. After loading our bags on a luggage cart, we took the elevator to our third floor room.
The one bedroom/one bathroom wheelchair-accessible unit is designed to accommodate up to four guests with a queen sized sofa sleeper in the living room. Our room had a balcony overlooking the grounds and a dining room table for four. The bathroom with a roll-in shower had double sinks–perfect for a couple. Televisions were located in both the living room and bedroom. The kitchen included a refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, dishwasher, blender, toaster, coffeemaker and all the necessary tools to whip up a meal. The full size washer and dryer are an especially attractive feature after a day at the beach.
Given that we had 750 square feet of space, our “room” felt more like a small apartment. Because it is a hotel condominium, guest can choose to have daily housekeeping service.
Guests of the resort can indulge in a long list of complimentary amenities that include: four hours of bicycle usage per day, outdoor swimming pool, mini-golf course, one hour of tennis court time per day, one hour rental of a kayak or boogie board per day, and use of the on-site trams.
Sandestin also offers 72 holes of golf on four championship courses. Additional recreational activities include: beach volleyball, hiking, bicycling, canoeing, catch-release lake fishing, waverunner rentals, pontoon boat rentals, sailing instruction, sailboat rentals, sailing charters, sunset cruises, and Solaris dinner cruises.
The Elation is just steps away from the the Village of Baytowne Wharf. Known as the “heart and soul” of Sandestin, the Village is composed of more than a dozen restaurants, 15 retail shops and several nightlife venues, as well as, a gathering place for a variety of fun events like the free Wednesday Night Concert Series that runs from March through October. Bring a blanket, sit on the grounds, and enjoy a range of music from Bayou funk to country-rock. Popular annual events are the Sandestin Wine Festival, the 4th of July Red, White and Baytowne celebration, the Baytowne Wharf Beer Festival, and Baytowne Art Walk.
Even though our guest room had a kitchen, we prefer dining on property. Serving a scrumptious breakfast all day (open 7 a to 2 pm) is Another Broken Egg Cafe. The affordably priced menu draws huge crowds. Order one of the seven types of Eggs Benedict or a more traditional omelet. Enjoy Gulf views and fresh seafood at the Elephant Walk. Our entree pick is the Grouper Elizabeth topped with lump crabmeat. Plan a late night dinner at Graffiti & The Funky Blues Shack where live bands take to the stage. For an appetizer, order the Southern specialty Fried Green Tomatoes topped with spicy crawfish and crab meat.
If you still have room for dessert, stop by San Gelato Cafe for a delicious lemon gelato or after dinner coffee. Afterwards, take a moonlit stroll back to the hotel. During our entire weekend, we never needed a car (the resort has onsite trams). We could lounge beside a private pool beside our hotel or ride the tram to the beach. Our favorite time to visit Sandestin is early fall when the crowds are gone and emerald-colored Gulf waters are still warm enough for swimming.
IF YOU GO
To make a reservation, call 1-800-622-1038 or visit www.sandestin.com.
Sandestin can be reached by flying into Fort Walton Beach, Pensacola or Panama City airports.