Vacation Home Community Snapshot: Sandestin

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Sandestin as the top hotel in Destin.

Photograph courtesy of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

Location: Technically located in Miramar Beach, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is often confused with a town—perhaps because of the name’s similarity to the city of Destin, located 10 miles west. Created more than four decades ago, Sandestin is the state’s only such development with waterfront access to both beach and bay and is the largest resort on Florida’s Panhandle.

Price Range: With dozens of neighborhoods, prices range from $120,000 for one-bedroom, 350-square-foot high-rise studios to more than $2 million for five-bedroom, 6,400-square-foot homes. There is a robust rental program, with resort staff on-site 24/7. More than 75 homeowners associations coordinate pest control, trash pickup, and landscaping.

Activities: The resort features seven miles of waterfront, 15 tennis courts, a 113-slip marina, a spa, and the pedestrian-oriented Village of Baytowne Wharf—a Disney-like commercial district with themed restaurants and bars, outdoor activities (from zip lines to a rock-climbing wall), and resort-style shopping. On the water, visitors enjoy kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, or parasailing. Three of Sandestin’s four golf courses are among Golf Digest’s top 75 public courses in Florida. The newly renovated fitness center has a view of the bay. And all of these activities are reachable via free tram service.

What’s unique: Major annual events attract crowds year-round. The Sandestin Wine Festival, which will hit 30 years this April, is the longest-
running wine event on the Florida Panhandle. The Mardi Gras Dog Parade and Gumbo Festival are held each February, and the Baytowne Wharf Beer Festival features more than 60 craft brewers and 200 beers each October.

Nearby: Located between Pensacola and Panama City, Sandestin is in the heart of the Panhandle. Just west are Destin and the Silver Sands Premium Outlets (110 stores, including Kate Spade and J.Crew), and just east are the swanky new urbanist neighborhoods of Highway 30A (Seaside, Water­Color, Rosemary Beach).