As my eyes adjusted to the rays of sunshine bouncing off the bright white Sandestin Beach sand (a color that should have its own paint shade), the other colors in the spectrum began to drift into focus. The cottony white clouds, puffing like steamships across the horizon, accentuated the azure sky and deep blue-green sea.
My first visit to Sandestin in northwest Florida made a vivid impression that is still imprinted in my memory. I had never experienced sand so white and soft. Powdered quartz, it's the result of a buffeting, pulverizing and fluffing process that begins in the Appalachian Mountains and ends here like a miracle to lay the groundwork for what I've decided is the perfect beach.
What makes the perfect beach, besides silky sand, turquoise water and near-constant sun? A perfect beach is where everything comes to you – where you don't have to work at keeping you, your partner and your kids entertained.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, voted Destin’s number-one resort, offers vacation savings from sunrise to sunset with a full slate of complimentary events and activities that take guests from day to evening and Beach to Bay in style. And, getting there is even easier with new direct routes from carriers including Vision Airlines, Southwest, Delta, USAir and American from many major cities.
Resort accommodations – 1,300 units that vary from single rooms to four-bedroom villas – are otherwise dispersed along the resort’s four golf courses, gulf front, bay front and village.
Once at Sandestin, complimentary activities encourage exploration of the resort’s 2,400-acre playground. Select activities including bicycle rentals; one hour of kayak, canoe or boogie board rentals; tennis court time; golf for children at Baytowne Golf Club with a paying adult; and Fitness Center time are also all free and included with each reservation.
The Village of Baytowne Wharf
That hometown feel is especially strong at The Village of Baytowne Wharf, with its Main Street atmosphere and local waterfront flavor. Shopping, dining, entertainment and adventure are all easy finds at The Village of Baytowne Wharf, a 28-acre pedestrian village with a family friendly New Orleans feel. Take a ride on the zipline, participate in a magic show and feast on pizza or oysters with the kids. With events happening throughout the year, enjoy fireworks, live music and kid's activities all summer long. Enjoy a wine-tasting, dine gloriously New Orleans style or order a $10,000 martini (one carat engagement diamond included) at Marlin Grill. Then dance the night away!
Time spent on Sandestin’s world-famous beaches, with their white sand and warm, emerald Gulf waters, is priceless! And, with a full array of beach services, it is effortless as well. No need to have dad strap boogie boards, umbrellas and beach chairs to the roof of the car for the trip, Sandestin provides all of this and more.
Beyond the beach, Sandestin offers enough to stay all week and play a different sport everyday. Four championship golf courses, 15 world-class tennis courts, a 98-slip marina for deep sea or offshore fishing, YOLO Boarding, bicycling, canoeing and kayaking and the Wibit WaterPark tempt those who want to leave the sanctity of the seashore. New this year, Club KZ gives kids the chance to escape from parents — and enjoy a ropes course, zipline, bike ride around the resort and more. Club KZ is available to children from three to 12 and is fully-supervised.
Its temperate climate allows visitors to enjoy Sandestin year-round. And while spring break and summertime remain the most popular times to visit, special treats abound no matter the timing of your stay.
Sandestin also offers unique ways to celebrate New Year’s, Mardi Gras, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving, with countless festivals, fishing tournaments and more peppered in between. Add miniature golf, seasonally heated swimming pools and beach volleyball; there’s too much fun to mention it all.
Neighboring Beaches and Attractions
Just a few-minute drive to the west, Destin upholds its reputation as the “World's Luckiest Fishing Village” – particularly for its billfish catches – and the region's high standards for bodacious beaches. Henderson Beach State Park is a favorite. Besides fishing charters, outdoor enthusiasts will find snorkeling, diving, sailing, sightseeing, parasailing and jet-ski adventures, not to mention pristine beaches for sunbathing and swimming. On land, Big Kahuna's amusement and water park and Silver Sands Factory Stores entertain families and couples alike.
East of Sandestin, a string of beach communities ranging from artistic havens to surfer hangouts to cutting-edge towns pioneering the philosophy of New Urbanism and architectural excellence stretch for 26 miles in South Walton. Along this sweep, visitors can find escape in the form of raw nature, cultural enclaves and quirky Southern-fried character.
Back in Sandestin, the beachfront continues to heave in majestic dunes of white sand edged by emerald waters. Slow to emerge, this pristine coastline has developed wisely, keeping intact its pineland forests, shimmering tidal lakes and beach sunsets as delicious as orange parfait. Plage parfaite, as the French would say: Beach perfect.