Florida: Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort

When one opts to spend a few days at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort a bit of planning is advised — simply because seeing and doing all Sandestin has to offer on a short visit is tough (if not impossible). I learned this for myself not too long ago.

Sandestin is spread across 2400 acres along Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, It boasts more than seven miles of white sugar beaches, blue-green waters and a pristine bay front.Sandestin also has four golf courses, 15 tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a 98-ship marina, fitness center and spa, 65,000 square feet of meeting space and programs for children, as well as Baytowne Wharf, a unique pedestrian village with both old- and new-world charm.Sandestin is truly the complete resort — perfect for any season and for all ages.

Accommodations
Sandestin is divided into 30 charming neighborhoods. They feature hundreds of condos, villas, town houses and a wide variety of hotel accommodations. Clearly, Sandestin has something special for every taste and need, and each can be the perfect spot to rest, relax and rejuvenate. 

During my visit, I stayed in a private condo at the Grand Sandestin. It was large, luxurious and beautifully appointed. The panoramic views from its windows and balcony were great! (Admittedly, I spent a good deal of in-the-condo time enjoying all of them!)

The Village of Baytowne Wharf
I loved the condo’s location in The Village of Baytowne Wharf. It was situated just steps away from boutique shops, casual and fine dining establishments and nightlife venues. Daily, I would walk over to The Wharf for breakfast and eat at the Another Broken Egg Cafe. Always, I struggled with the menu - never knowing what to order. There were so many delicious options at this unique and cheerful spot, and I wanted to taste them all! Imagine, six different benedicts, awesome omelettes and traditional brunch dishes! 

In the afternoons, I would walk back to The Wharf and stop in at Starbucks for a vanilla or mocha latte. A treat - just like home!

At both places, I found “people watching” a pleasant and popular pastime!

One afternoon, while strolling around The Wharf I came across a number of “fun” outdoor activities for old and young alike. I spotted many guests looking up and toward a zipline. It spanned the width of the property and hung high above a refreshing body of water. Feeling a bit more adventurous than usual, I told myself, “You can do that!”

So, slowly and cautiously, I climbed the three-story wooden structure that took me to the launching platform. For me (who suffers from a fear of heights), this was a feat in itself. 

When I got to the top, I realized immediately that retracing my steps was scarier than death. So, I put on the harness and reached for the zipline. Almost too soon, I was soaring through the air at breakneck speed.

Finally, and thankfully, the “eagle” landed safely. I took a deep breathe, thanked God for delivering me from evil and laughed out loud as strangers standing nearby applauded my “aplomb.”

Golf 
If you are a pro, skilled amateur or duffer, Sandestin is must-play for you. It has 72 holes on four championship courses, designed for all levels of play and by world-renown architects. 

The courses of Rees and Robert Trent Jones Jr. sit next to each other on the Burnt Pine Club and the Raven Golf Club. And, Tom Jackson has created a pair of clubs with beautiful water views — the Baytowne Golf Club and the Links Course. 

The Sandestin Golf Academy offers private lessons and group clinics year-round. All are taught by PGA Professionals and include in-person training and the latest technological training, based on the needs of the golfer. 

I had not “planned” to play golf at Sandestin on this trip, but after cruising around one of the beachside courses in a golf cart, I decided I simply had to squeeze in nine holes to an already jam-packed schedule. Luckily, Sandestin had an open tee time and rental clubs to accommodate me.

Tennis
Sandestin is great for tennis players too. It boasts 12 clay courts and three hard courts, and four of the 15 are lighted.

There is a state-of-the-art tennis center with a clubhouse complete with dressing rooms, showers and a tennis shop with all the best equipment and apparel. Sandestin’s tennis staff keeps active tennis players busy with a full schedule of daily activities and special events. And, as you would expect, tennis lessons by certified staff are offered for individuals and groups — and for adults and children — at Sandestin.

Guests of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort are entitled to one hour of court time each day. For those who show up without a racquet or a partner, Sandestin can provide both the equipment you need and a partner that matches your skill level. 

Dining

Dining out at night is a special treat in Sandestin. There are so many great restaurants, all with impressive menus.

Bistro Bijoux is a quaint, French-style bistro. It features authentic “nouvelle” New Orleans cuisine, including fresh seafood and prime steaks. I ate there one night, and thoroughly enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. It is elegant with French influences, including wine racks brought over from France and a cozy wine bar with a fireplace. There is an outside terrace with seating overlooking the lagoon and The Village of Baytowne Wharf’s Events Plaza. 

Another favorite of mine, also located in The Village of Baytowne Wharf is the Marlin Grill. It offers upscale, fine dining and, again, great atmosphere. It is open for dinner and offers catch-of-the-day specials, seafood and grilled steaks. It also features a two-level terrace for dining outside. 

Finz, another favorite, is located on Miramar Beach. Only its cuisine outshines its views. This is a great place to have a cocktail, watch the sunset and then enjoy a really nice meal. Finz specializes in fresh seafood and steaks. When I was there, I ordered the filet, and loved it. But, I after one bite of my friend’s grouper, I knew I would order that next time. Delicious!

Special Events

In recent years, Sandestin has become well-known too for the  many special events it hosts throughout the year. Among them are the Sandestin Wine Festival. This popular event is held in April and is the picture-perfect event. It features white tents, flowing wine, gourmet food, ladies strolling in hats and live music.

The Sandestin Beach Bicycle Tour is a weekend event in May,  designed for all road cyclists. Participants enjoy a scenic bike ride alongside beautiful beaches, a rest stop in charming Seaside and post-ride activities and mechanical support.

Memorial Day Weekend festivities in Sandestin take place in The Village of Baytowne Wharf. Live music begins on Friday night and continues all weekend.

The Village of Baytowne Wharf is also the site of Sandestin’s annual Red, White & Baytowne event. Activities on the Fourth of July include fun stuff for the family and a lavish fireworks show that evening.

The last of the summer events is the annual Sandestin Music Festival in August. It takes place on multiple stages in The Village of Baytowne Wharf. The festival is the place to be for music lovers of all ages.

How to Get There
Southwest Airlines now provides non-stop service to Panama City, Florida. From there, Sandestin is a 30-minute drive west, located at 9300 Emerald Coast Parkway in Destin.  To get more information, visit www.sandestin.com.

To make a reservation for your next visit to Sandestin, call 1-855-232 0261.
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