The 9 Best Resorts in Sunny Destin Florida

Fishermen call Destin, Florida the “happiest fishing town on earth” because Florida Governor Leroy Collins caught a 30-pound kingfish here in 1950, just minutes after wetting his line. However, most of us know it as one of the most popular beach destinations in the Sunshine State.

Located on the Florida Panhandle in a region aptly named The Emerald Coast, Destin has become one of the top five most visited beach resorts in Florida. Even as the city’s population swells to over 25,000 during the summer, Destin still retains its cozy, friendly seaside vibe.

When planning a Destin vacation, you need a place to stay; A place where you can just unpack, switch off and be carried away by the sea breeze and the sound of the surf. The city offers many different holiday destinations for all tastes and budgets. Here are nine of the best resorts in Destin, suitable for whatever vacation experience you’re looking for.

Beach life at its finest

When you’re in Destin, you want to spend most of your time right on the pristine white beaches and sweeping views of the emerald Gulf waters. Destin offers many resort options that put you just steps away from the surf.

1. Compass Resorts at Silver Beach

Silver Beach’s two magnificent towers offer over 90 luxury vacation rentals on 600 feet of private beachfront. There are numerous options to choose from, from cozy two-bedroom, two-bathroom units to gorgeous five-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom units. Each unit is fully furnished and the resort has all the amenities you could want: two beachfront pools, tennis court, BBQ grills, hot tub, covered parking and free WiFi. Each rental also includes two umbrellas and chairs for your use during your stay.

Ocean Front Suite at Crystal Sands

Ocean Front Suite at Crystal Sands

Photo credit: Crystal Sands

2. Crystal sands

Crystal Sands offers an intimate and tranquil retreat for couples and families. Each unit at this three story resort has a balcony where you can relax with a morning cup of coffee and enjoy a brilliant sunrise before hitting the beach. Accommodations also include a full kitchen, washer/dryer and spa bath. The resort also offers an on-site tennis court and seasonally heated pools.

3. Destin Holiday Beach Resort

At the Destin Holiday Beach Resort, the only thing standing between you and the emerald Gulf waters is 500 feet of pristine white sand. Choose from a cozy one-bedroom unit or a more spacious three-bedroom unit that sleeps eight. Each unit has a fully equipped kitchen. The resort also features a full range of amenities, including fitness rooms, swimming pools and tennis courts.

4. Pelican Beach Resort

With 340 condominiums, the 19-story Pelican Beach Resort is a true tropical beach paradise. Pelican Beach offers one, two and three bedroom units including gulf view condos with spectacular balcony views. The resort is equipped with all the amenities you could wish for – two pools for adults and a children’s pool for the little ones, an arcade, gym, tennis courts and a beach and pool bar. If you’re hungry, grab a bite to eat at the Pelican Beach Cafe.

Sterling Shores entrance

Sterling Shores entrance

Photo credit: Sterling Shores

Spend some family time

While some of these resorts are not located directly on Destin’s beautiful white beaches, these welcoming resorts are affordable for a family vacation and are close to all of the area’s family-friendly attractions and restaurants.

5. Emerald Grande at Harbor Walk Village

While not directly on the Gulf of Mexico (actually on an inlet that connects Choctawhatchee Bay to the Gulf), the Emerald Grande at HarborWalk offers a fantastic family-friendly vacation destination. It’s known for its proximity to great restaurants like McGuire’s Irish Pub and Dewey Destin’s Seafood, history at the Destin History and Fishing Museum, and numerous water activities like dolphin cruises, snorkeling, jet skiing and more at the Destin Harbor Boardwalk and Village.

There are four different condo-style rooms at the Emerald with full kitchens and numerous on-site services including a spa, fitness center, on-site dining rooms and a heated pool. Each room has a spacious balcony with a view, and vacationers can take advantage of the complimentary boat shuttle to the hotel’s private Gulf beach.

Sterling Shores oceanfront suite

Sterling Shores oceanfront suite

Photo credit: Sterling Shores

6.Sterling Shores

Another great option for family reunions is Sterling Shores, with accommodations ranging from one-bedroom suites to the Grand Amelia Room, with over 2,300 square feet of living space consisting of four bedrooms and three bathrooms. Each room features a large, fully equipped kitchen, a washer/dryer, and a balcony with a view. Guests have access to a 4,300-square-foot lagoon pool, as well as a beachfront pool and family fitness center. Sterling Shores is a short walk from shopping malls and Gator Beach, billed as “the world’s largest alligator park.”

A romantic getaway

7.Henderson Park Inn

If you are looking for a romantic getaway for two, make a reservation at the Henderson Park Inn. This adults-only resort is consistently voted one of the top destinations in the Panhandle, and with good reason. Upon arrival, you will be greeted with complimentary Florida citrus, wine and chocolate.

The Henderson Park Inn has 36 spacious, elegantly furnished and well-appointed rooms, each with a private bathroom. Many also feature kitchenettes, spa baths, fireplaces, and balconies with gulf views. The resort is named for the state park just one mile east of US Highway 98, which features one of Florida’s best beaches.

A paradise for golfers

In addition to the stunning Gulf beaches, Destin is world-renowned for its many golf courses. Destin is home to many world-class golf courses, some of which are located in these premier resorts that golfers will love.

8. Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

This 2,400-acre golf resort has 1,250 rental units ranging from simple studio apartments to spacious villas, condos and penthouses. There are even detached homes in four separate properties: Beachfront and Gulf Front, Coveside on Choctawhatchee Bay, Lakeside’s wooded natural homes, and Village’s sumptuous accommodations, located near the property’s entertainment complex.

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort features four immaculately maintained 18-hole courses that offer challenging play over rolling hills (the only elevation change in the area) and stunning scenery among the area’s swamps, wetlands and Choctawhatchee Bay.

Sandestin also offers 20 dining options as well as kayaking, biking, paddleboarding and tennis.

9. Hilton Sandestin Beach, Golf Resort and Spa

Adjacent to Destin in the city of South Walton, the four-star Hilton Sandestin Beach, Golf Resort and Spa is the largest resort in the Florida Panhandle. Each room at the Hilton features fully furnished, spacious balconies, many with full or partial Gulf views.

For golfers, there is little better than the four golf courses to be found here, all designed by world-renowned golf course architects such as Robert Trent Jones. Each was listed as one of Conde Nast Traveler’s The 20 best golf courses in Florida. Your stay at the Sandestin includes free private cabanas, free beach chairs, use of beach volleyball equipment, and kayaks and paddleboards. It also features two outdoor pools and one indoor pool and a full-service spa, and is adjacent to the beautiful high sand dunes of Topsail State Park.

Leave a Comment