by Tonya Kerr
photos courtsey of Hilton Sandestin
GETTING TO HILTON SANDESTIN:
- Drive from Houston approx. 600 miles/9 hours
- Airport ride-share approx. 30 miles/$35
- Free on-property shuttle every 30 minutes
Family-Friendly Features of Hilton Sandestin:
- Kids under 10 eat free at Sandcastles
- Free soda refills all day
- Kids Krew Club & Kids Night Out for kids ages 5-12
- Bunkbed Rooms and Junior Suites
Family-Friendly Features at Sandestin Resort:
- Bike rentals and miniature golf
- Marina Activities
- Zip Lining, Rope Courses & playscapes at Adventure Zone
- Outdoor movie nights, fireworks, magic shows, live music and weekly festivals
Nearby Kid-Oriented Attractions:
- Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park
- Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
- The Track Family Recreation Center
Every year, thousands of Houstonians flock to beach resorts along the white sand beaches of Florida’s Emerald Coast. Hotels line the shores and entire cities roll out the red carpet for tourists.
But nestled near Florida’s 30A, is one of the area’s best-kept secrets.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is a picturesque 2,400-acre community with secluded beaches and five-star amenities. Not to be confused with Destin a few miles down the road; Sandestin is a destination resort in Miramar Beach, sandwiched between the lush pine forests of the Choctawhatchee Bay and the palm trees show the way to the beautiful Gulf beaches.
My home base was the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa, the property’s only official hotel, with 600-plus rooms and several family suites with bunkbeds and junior suites. Multimillion dollar renovations and menu changes featuring favorites at all five Hilton restaurants was all the buzz. From fresh sushi to the only AAA Four-Diamond Steakhouse for miles, you won’t go hungry. The dining experience at Seagar’s was a multicourse, three-hour feast.
A free shuttle runs the entire property every 30 minutes and connects you to four golf courses, miniature golf, tennis courts, and a marina packed with activity options. A bike livery and golf carts are most popular, if you don’t walk the miles of trails on foot.
An eclectic lagoon is surrounded by shops, eateries, and tons of fun play areas for kids of all ages at the Adventure Zone and the Wharf of Baytowne. Other activities include movie nights, live music and fireworks during the summer. Another shuttle stop will take you to the upscale Grand Boulevard Town Center with art galleries, restaurants, and retail stores.
I was traveling with a group of bloggers, who talked me into leaving the property with a limo ride to the Shops of Grayton (who would refuse?), a quaint and vibrant artist community in South Walton. The Shard Shop invited us to create our own masterpieces.
Outlet shopping with family-friendly playgrounds and a picnic at Eden Gardens State Park, near the infamous Kissing Tree, were our only other excursions to give us a flavor of the area.
And what else would you do on a girls-getaway, but end all those exhausting explorations at the Serenity by the sea Spa at Hilton Sandestin. The Hilton had incredible staff, amenities, sunrise yoga, and a massage by one of the area’s “voted best” masseuses, Lenny. And a champagne bonfire capped off this trip.
Finding time to travel without my kids was a juggling act, but so worth the discovery and the self-care we all need to rejuvenate and be ready for what life throws our way.
Sitting on that beach with the sugar-white sand between my toes, I imagined planning a week-long vacation here with my kids and extended family. Escaping real-world reality doing things you love is what a dream vacation is all about.