Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Florida’s Emerald Coast Gets Better & Better
Story and Photos by Ed & Fran Stone

ABOVE: The newly renovated Bayside Inn Boutique Hotel overlooking the Choctawhatchee Bay.
BELOW: Bedroom of the Bayside Inn.
No. 3 green of the Raven, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.

Sandestin® Golf and Beach Resort on the Emerald Coast of Florida continues to grow better with age. For instance, Sandestin’s first multi-story structure, known as the Bayside Inn, has been completely renovated with the latest in technology and upscale room accoutrements. Here you can experience and enjoy a contemporary boutique hotel experience and play four outstanding golf courses. Bayside Inn is located on the bayside of the Sandestin Resort overlooking the beautiful Choctawhatchee Bay. On a recent visit, we took a tour of this newly renovated and decorated boutique hotel to see what it offers. The management has created a perfect place for those wanting to be pampered and be part of the spa located next door.

The Elation is a 100-unit luxury condominium is a perfect place to base your activities.

Sandestin is all about the outstanding golf, recreation programs, cuisine, accommodations and beautiful beaches. These offerings continue to make Sandestin one of the top resorts in the Southeast. On a recent visit, checked out not only the Bayside Inn, but we also had the opportunity to play the Raven and Baytowne Golf Courses, both in excellent condition and still very challenging, especially the Raven, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Baytowne is a great course for the high handicapper, yet offering the more seasoned golfer a good test of skills.

 Staying in Elation a 100-unit luxury condominium is the perfect place to base your activities. Just out your backdoor is The Village of Baytowne Wharf. Just about anything and everything for the family is available in this recreated village offering a variety of foods from upscale dining to casual meals offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. There seems to always be activities taking place for children and adults in this area featuring a lake in the center of these events with zip-line, concerts, merry-go-round, and much more.

Here’s a thumbnail sketch of facilities and programs readers might enjoy knowing about Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort.

Just out your backdoor is Village of Baytowne Wharf.
ABOVE: The 168-unit Grand Sandestin and the Baytowne Conference Center.
BELOW: The Village at Baytowne Wharf offers shopping, dining, entertainment and play activities. This is a pedestrian village covering some 28 acres.
  • Situated on 2,400 acres including 30 charming neighborhoods with 1,300 condominiums, villas, townhomes.
  • Offers more than seven miles of sugar white sand beaches and pristine bay front.
  • 72 holes of golf on four championship courses
  • 15 world-class tennis courts
  • 19 swimming pools
  • 113-slip marina
  • One of the top certified children's programs you can find, Club KZ
  • Fitness center and spa
  • 65,000 square feet of meeting space
  • The Village of Baytowne Wharf, a notable pedestrian village featuring nightlife venues
  • Events including the acclaimed Sandestin Wine Festival. This is no ordinary Wine Festival. The events start on Friday and run through Sunday. This annual festivity is usually held the last week of April. Wine novices are able to learn more about wines and sample from a comprehensive selection including the finest from all major producing countries in all varieties, styles and price ranges. Wine aficionados enjoy meeting winemakers, asking detailed questions and acquiring hard-to-get selections.
  • Sandestin’s Christmas on the Coast Holiday Celebration is held the last Friday and Saturday of November each year. This event takes place at the Village of Baytowne and includes a magical fireworks show over the lagoon as Santa makes his grand entrance around 6 p.m. A choir is on hand to excite your Christmas spirit.  


  • Sandestin offers a variety of accommodations, including the 168-unit Grand Sandestin and the Baytowne Conference Center. This facility features the largest ballroom in Northwest Florida on the Gulf Coast. The resort also offers the 97-unit Lasata, Elation a 100-unit luxury condominium and the 112-unit Bahia, all located in The Village of Baytowne Wharf. In mid-2000, the resort opened the beachside Luau, a truly beautiful mid-rise hotel with views of the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The Village of Baytowne Wharf, as already mentioned, offers shopping, dining, entertainment and play activities. This is a pedestrian village covering some 28 acres and showcasing a collection of specialty merchants, over two-dozen boutique shops, eateries and nightclubs. Most days you can watch or participate in candy-making or such things as lessons in tea etiquette, etc. The best part of this development is the accommodations are only a very short walk to all the activities. We dined at Graffiti’s & The Funky Blues Shack for dinner and it was as good as we remembered it being in downtown Destin.

Guests staying at Sandestin are given a wide variety of complimentary activities including:

  • Bicycling – Adult and children’s single-speed coaster bicycles are free for four hours a day by showing the Resort Card. Helmets, baskets, child seats, training wheels and locks are also available.
  • Tennis – A free hour of tennis court time a day is available with guest stay, based on availability.
  • Fishing – Resort guests can land bass and other pan fish from one of the 72 stocked ponds included in Sandestin’s catch and release program.
  • Watersports – Cruise around Choctawhatchee Bay and enjoy complimentary use of canoes from Sandestin's Baytowne Marina with a Sandestin Resort Card. For extreme play on the Bay or Gulf of Mexico, check out the complimentary kayaks too.
  • Beautiful Beach Walks and Explorations – People of all ages love the sugar-white sand beach at Sandestin for a peaceful rest, building a sandcastle or even nighttime crab hunting. It’s a great way to relax, spend time together and recharge.
  • For our readers, Sandestin offers 72 holes of championship golf on four courses. On a previous visit, I had the opportunity to play the Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Raven Golf Course along with the Rees Jones Burnt Pine Golf Course. I might add this is the only place you will find both brothers golf courses playing along side each other. The 11th hole of the Raven plays next to the 18th of the Burnt Pine. And, I might add, if your ball is hit into either fairway, it is out of bounds. The Links Course is the original course built at Sandestin and continues to offer a challenge with 14 holes playing over or near water. The Baytowne Golf Course is a wonderful course to play and offers vistas of the Gulf of Mexico. For honing your golf skills, Sandestin has its Golf Academy for instruction in private and small group formats…no matter your skill level.
  • The tennis player is certainly not forgotten with 15 tennis courts, 12 hydro grid clay and three hard courts. The resort's state-of-the-art tennis facility includes an excellent clubhouse, complete with dressing rooms, lockers, showers and the latest in tennis apparel. Their professional tennis staff keep active players busy year round with daily activities and a variety of special events.
  • And not to forget the meeting planner, Sandestin has 65,000 square feet of flexible meeting space to accommodate groups from 10 to 1,600, including 3,000 square feet of Gulf views. The Baytowne Conference Center features the largest ballroom in Northwest Florida. There is also a 12,600 square-foot Linkside Center Exhibit Hall, 24 breakout rooms including four ballrooms and four boardrooms, two business centers, and an oversized pool deck ideal for casual outdoor receptions. Sandestin is also easily accessed from the Panama City-Bay County International Airport and from Northwest Florida Regional Airport.

With golf, tennis, water sports, beaches and activities for the entire family on a year-round basis, you can now see why Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is one of our favorites. Not only is this a special property to visit, the people who work and make your stay extra special are some of the nicest people in the world. When planning your next vacation, be sure to consider one of our favorites places.

    Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
    9300 Emerald Coast Parkway West
    Destin, FL 32550-7268
    Phone: 1-866-91BEACH1-866-91BEACH

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