7 Best Resorts in Destin, Florida
Home to some of the finest beaches in the country, Destin is a popular spot for vacationers. Its sands glow white and its waters are deep shades of teal and emerald green, making for stunning scenes where Florida's Panhandle meets the placid Gulf of Mexico - there's a reason this stretch of land is called the Emerald Coast.
Located in northwest Florida, Destin is an easy drive from much of the southeastern United States, and the beautiful beaches and plentiful golf courses draw millions of visitors each year.
Aside from the famous beaches, other popular attractions in Destin include Big Kahuna's Water & Adventure Park, the Indian Bayou Golf Club, and the Destin Harbor Boardwalk. The wild dunes and untouched nature trails of Henderson Beach State Park are another favorite.
Wondering about the best resorts in Destin, Florida for your next beach vacation? Read on for a guide to the best places to stay.
Related: More beach hotels
A Destin favorite, The Henderson, A Salamander Beach & Spa Resort has 170 guest rooms designed to serve as a comfortable home away from home. The rooms have flat-screen TVs, sitting areas, minibars, tea and coffeemakers, and of course, free WiFi. Best of all, each has a furnished balcony, perfect for a view of the Gulf of Mexico if you have an ocean-facing room.
The Henderson is not located directly on the beach but sits across the road, with just 200 paces between the pool gate and Destin's famed white sands, according to a former guest. The 208-acre Henderson Beach State Park, with its 6,000 feet of natural coastline, sits adjacent to the hotel, making for a peaceful stretch of beach to enjoy on your visit.
Parking is free and The Henderson has five dining options onsite, including a beach grill and bar. There's also a pool with a lazy river, plus a spa and fitness classes. In short, The Henderson has all the amenities you may need for an upscale beach vacation - but it's up to you to pry yourself away and actually make it to the beach!
Sure, the beach is a main attraction in Destin, but those who long to be in the heart of the action should book a room at Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village. It's a little further from sand and sea, but take a look over the turquoise Destin Harbor from your room and you won't miss it - and best of all, every room at the Emerald Grande has a spacious balcony with a beautiful view.
There are four different room categories, so the hotel can accommodate all sorts of families and groups, but all are condo-style with full kitchens. Onsite amenities include something to please everyone, from a full-service spa to a fitness center to heated pools overlooking the Gulf. There's also numerous restaurants and a full-time concierge - but don't forget to take advantage of the hotel's central HarborWalk Village location by exploring the nearby restaurants, activities, and entertainment.
Note that the Emerald Grande also offers a free boat shuttle to the harbor and nearby beaches.
Silver Shells Beach Resort & Spa
Want a trip to the beach and a seat in the lap of luxury, all in one go? Silver Shells Beach Resort & Spa, with its six Gulf-front buildings spread across 31 acres and 1,000 feet of beachfront, is your answer. There's a variety of accommodation types on offer, from Gulf-front penthouses to renovated two-bedroom condos, and a whole host of luxurious amenities - think beachfront dining, a relaxing spa, a rental service on the beach, a fitness center, and even an onsite Ruth's Chris Steak House.
Located near Destin Harbor and adjacent to Henderson Beach State Park, the location of Silver Shells is also a big draw, but perhaps the pièce de résistance of the resort is the 7,500-square-foot Gulf-front lagoon pool. It has a waterfall, whirlpools, and a kiddie pool located nearby, an inviting place to spend the day (if you can draw yourself away from that gorgeous beach).
The Palms of Destin Resort & Conference Center
The Palms of Destin Resort & Conference Center is an all-condo hotel and conference center located in central Destin next to Henderson Beach State Park and a mile from Indian Bayou Golf Club, making it great for groups and meetings. Since it's not located directly on the beach, the hotel offers a free five-minute shuttle to Calhoun Beach, but those who want a seamless day in the sun can head right down to the lagoon pool, which features waterfalls and bridges.
Accommodations at The Palms include one- to three-bedroom condos and two-bedroom villas. All have your typical hotel room amenities plus washers and dryers, full kitchens, and private balconies, with some also offering stunning Gulf views. Guests can enjoy three onsite eateries: The Palms Bistro, a coffeehouse, and a bar.
If you're looking for condo-style, family-friendly vacation rentals, The Islander on Holiday Isle is a great option. It's a seven-story condominium that was built in the 1980s and underwent a $3.5 million renovation in 2010; all units are two-bedroom, two-bath.
Rooms offer mind-blowing views of the Gulf of Mexico and the Destin Pass, but there's also a private beach, two pools, and two hot tubs available to guests - plus outdoor sports facilities including tennis courts, a basketball court, shuffle board, and pickleball courts.
While The Islander is a great vacation spot, it's also a pretty cozy home base for extended stays - which you'll likely be tempted to consider once you get a taste of the island life.
To book: orbitz.com
Pelican Beach Resort
Located directly on a stretch of picture-perfect beach in Destin, Pelican Beach Resort is a 340-unit, 19-story condo-style resort with killer views and unbeatable beach access, plus a beach cafe and tiki bar for midday snacks and drinks.
When you've had your fill of vitamin D and sand, there's other amenities to enjoy off the beach, including various pools (three adult pools and a shallow kiddie pool) plus tennis courts, fitness centers, a game room, and two spas. It's a great spot for families seeking a laid-back beach vacation.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
While technically located in nearby Miramar Beach, not Destin, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is worth considering for a Destin vacation because this 2,400-acre resort is a destination unto itself: There's a huge variety of accommodation types as well as golf, shopping, dining, and a ton of things to do, from beach and water sports to a resort-planned events calendar. There's also a marina as well as boutiques and entertainment at the Village of Baytowne Wharf. When it comes to a beach vacation that truly has it all, if you can dream it, Sandestin probably has it.