The Best Destin Resorts in Florida’s Panhandle Paradise

Adina Keeling Avatar
Miramar Beach FL

Wondering where to stay in Destin, a charming beach town located in the Florida Panhandle? If you want to splurge, choose our #1 pick – the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. It’s so special, we gave it a spot on our top Florida luxury resorts list.

Depending on the type of vacation you’re planning, there are great resorts that will be a perfect match for you. The top picks of our SheBuysTravel experts include:

  • Best for Couples: Hotel Effie at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort
  • Best for Multi-Gen Families: Emerald Grande’s four-bed/four-bath condos
  • Best for Nature Lovers: The Palms of Destin, walkable to Henderson State Park
  • Best Travel Point Option: Holiday Inn Resort (IHG One Rewards)
  • Best Kids’ Club: Henderson Beach Resort

Our list breaks down each Destin resort by location and amenities so you can find the best value based on your vacation needs. Budget-conscious travelers will appreciate condo rentals with full kitchens for money-saving meal prep. Luxury travelers looking for beach concierge service and pampering spa treatments have options too.

Wherever you choose to stay, you’ll be close to Destin’s sugary white sand beaches (they squeak when you walk on them!), crystal clear waters and amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico. Here are our 10 favorite Destin resorts.

One of two outdoor pools at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa in Miramar Beach, FL
One of two outdoor pools at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa in Miramar Beach, FL. Photo credit:, Cindy Richards

1. The Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

While the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is definitely a family-friendly option — rooms in the tower have bunk beds and a pull-out sofa to sleep up to 6! — it’s also a great spot for an adults-only trip. You can book a bonfire on the beach to watch the sunset with your sweetie or spend a luxurious day at the Serenity Spa with its variety of treatment options, sauna, steam room and zero gravity relaxation chairs.

It’s the only area resort located right on the beach. Plus, there are two outdoor pools, one indoor pool and a relaxing sunbathing deck. For rainy days, there is a 24-hour fitness center. Beach chairs, umbrellas, towels and poolside cabanas are available. Water sports enthusiasts can take advantage of the resort’s paddleboards and kayaks.

SheBuysTravel Editor-in-Chief Cindy Richards is still raving about her meal at Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, one of the resort’s onsite dining options. She recommends booking your dinner reservation for the last night of your trip because every other dining experience pales in comparison. Read more about it in her complete review of the Hilton Sandestin.

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Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa Amenities:

  • Beachfront luxury resort with indoor and outdoor pools
  • Onsite dining includes Seagar’s, a AAA Four Diamond steakhouse
  • 24-hour fitness center and Serenity spa
  • Beach chair/umbrella rentals available
  • Complimentary shuttle service to Village of Baytowne Wharf entertainment district
  • Earn/use Hilton Honors points
A view of the sand dunes in Destin, Florida
Photo credit: Visit Florida

2. Henderson Beach Resort

Looking for an ultra-luxurious stay with stunning ocean views? Look no further than the Henderson Beach Resort. The resort gets its name from the neighboring Henderson Beach State Park. Stretching along more than 6,000 feet of shoreline, this state park is the ideal destination for guests looking to hike, swim, bike or go fishing.

Guests can expect spacious bathrooms, timeless decor and unparalleled views in each of the resort’s 170 guest rooms. The resort also boasts a full-service spa, a lazy river, yoga classes and a 24-hour fitness center. There is a private beach and complimentary bike, kayak or paddleboard rentals. Kids can play the day away at Poppy’s Kids’ Club.

Those who worked up an appetite can grab a bite to eat at one of five different on-site dining options, including a rooftop bar, a café and a five-star restaurant.

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Henderson Beach Resort Amenities:

  • Classic beach resort hotel with 170 rooms and suites
  • Five onsite restaurant/bar venues
  • Private beach with chair/umbrella setups
  • Poppy’s Kids’ Club offers day and evening supervised childcare
  • Fitness center and yoga/wellness classes available
  • Complimentary bike, kayak and paddleboard use

3. Silver Shells Beach Resort & Spa

If proximity to the Henderson Beach State Park is a must but the Henderson Beach Resort is out of your price range, consider the slightly more affordable Silver Shells Beach Resort & Spa. This 30-acre resort also borders the state park, where guests can enjoy sprawling sand dunes and unspoiled beaches.

The resort is made up of five towers, each named after a different one of the Caribbean Virgin Islands. The resort’s 435 condominium units are equipped with whirlpool tubs, washer and dryer units, movie rentals and large bathrooms.

Luxury amenities include a lagoon pool, a poolside bar, an on-site gourmet steakhouse and a spa, offering an array of services including massages and facials. Guests can rent beach chairs, umbrellas, jet skis and book a ride on a banana boat.

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Silver Shells Beach Resort Amenities:

  • Two-, three- and four-bedroom fully-equipped condo units available
  • Full-service spa with half- and full-day pampering packages
  • Fitness center
  • Indoor/outdoor heated pool and private white-sand beach
  • Tennis and basketball courts
  • Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Restaurant on-site

4. Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort spans a whopping 2,400 acres and is one of the most popular destinations in the area. Guests at this luxury resort won’t find a reason to leave, unless, of course, they want to.

Choose from a list of different housing options, including studio apartments, villas, traditional hotel rooms, penthouses, condos and cabins. Hotel Effie, the resort’s new 250-room luxury hotel, features a full-service spa. Those traveling with furry friends will find pet-friendly options.

The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort offers endless attractions, including an arcade and Lazer Maze, a zip line, an 18-hole golf course, a carousel, tennis courts, a spa, a fitness center and swimming pools. Guests can even get out on the water on a dinner cruise or go on a snorkeling trip.

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Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort Amenities:

  • Massive resort community with 30 different neighborhoods
  • Pet-friendly accommodations available
  • Four championship golf courses
  • Full-service spa
  • Family-friendly activities include Blast Arcade, Lazer Maze, carousel and treehouse playground.
  • Beach chair and umbrella rentals available
Walton Beach is one of the best Florida Panhandle beaches.
Photo courtesy of VisitFlorida.

5. Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach

If you’re looking for a slightly more budget-friendly option, the Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach is the perfect choice. The 152-room resort is located on the beach, close to popular shopping, dining and entertainment destinations.

In addition to its ideal location, the resort offers all the amenities of a luxury resort, including a heated pool, a lazy river, a fitness center, a game room for kids and dive-in movies. Guests can dine at the on-site seafood restaurant or enjoy a drink at the beachfront tiki bar.

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Holiday Inn Amenities:

  • Earn/use IHG One Rewards points
  • 152-room beachfront resort
  • Full-service on-site restaurant and tiki bar
  • Family-friendly amenities include seasonally heated pool, lazy river, game room and dive-in movies
  • Fitness center

6. Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village

The Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village is the ultimate destination for luxury and relaxation. Located directly on the beautiful Destin Harbor, the Emerald Grande offers breathtaking views, which guests can enjoy from private balconies.

The resort’s location is a huge draw for those interested in dining and shopping at the lively HarborWalk Village. This center is also packed with entertainment, from zip lines to magic shows to jet ski rentals.

Accommodations at the Emerald Grande are condo-style, complete with fully equipped kitchens and laundry facilities. Amenities include a private beach, heated pools, hot tubs, world-class dining and a spa.

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Emerald Grande Amenities:

  • Condo rentals range in size from one-bedroom/two-bath units to massive four-bedroom/four-bath waterfront units
  • Located in HarborWalk Village, Destin’s premier entertainment district with dining, shopping, water sports and adventure activities
  • Full-service resort spa
  • Indoor and outdoor pools, fitness center
  • Beach shuttle to private resort beach with chairs/umbrellas

7. Pelican Beach Resort

Located right on the beach, Pelican Beach Resort is close to all the best attractions in the area. With condominium-style rentals that come in a variety of sizes, families of all sizes are accommodated at this resort.

Dining options include an oceanfront restaurant, a lounge and an ice cream parlor. Other amenities include a 500-foot private beach, several pools and hot tubs, a sauna and a restaurant. Kids will love the onsite arcade and game room.

Be sure to check out the resort’s daily calendar to learn about upcoming concerts, yoga classes, drink specials and family-friendly activities like games, scavenger hunts or bingo.

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Pelican Beach Resort Amenities:

  • Waterfront location with five pools
  • Condo-style accommodations
  • On-site dining
  • State-of-the-art fitness centers

8. The Islander Resort

If you’re on a family vacation and looking for beachfront condo-style vacation rentals, The Islander Resort is the place for you. These condominiums are equipped with a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi and full kitchens. To accommodate everyone’s budget, condos are sorted into four categories, Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze, from most expensive to least expensive.

Located near Destin Harbor, guests can take advantage of nearby water sports rentals and enjoy snorkeling, parasailing or paddleboarding. Enjoy a list of free beach services, including two beach chairs and an umbrella for each guest.

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Islander Resort Amenities:

  • Beachfront location on the Gulf of Mexico
  • Condo-style accommodations with full kitchens offered at four price points
  • Two pools, two hot tubs and fitness center
  • Complimentary beach setup includes two chairs and umbrella

9. The Palms of Destin Resort & Conference Center

Blooming with palm trees and lush vegetation, The Palms of Destin is a tropical paradise. The resort is located near Henderson State Park, a seven-minute walk from the beach. The resort’s complimentary beach shuttle will take guests to the water in even less time.

Accommodations include poolside villas, or condo-style apartments with stunning views. The resort’s three-bed condos can accommodate up to eight guests.

The resort has two on-site dining options, The Good Vibes Bar and The Palms Coffeehouse. There are four different pools, a hot tub, a fitness center, a playground, community grills, a basketball court and a tennis court.

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The Palms of Destin Resort Amenities:

  • Splash pad and three pools including a large Lagoon pool
  • Condo-style apartments or poolside villas with fully-equipped kitchens
  • On-site dining
  • State-of-the-art fitness center
  • Playground, community BBQ grills, basketball and tennis courts

10. SunDestin Beach Resort

This 18-story condominium is located in central Destin right on the beach, where guests can easily walk to nearby restaurants, shops and attractions including Big Kahuna’s Waterpark. Guests can enjoy a cocktail or a bite to eat at the on-site restaurant and a tiki bar, or relax at one of the resort’s heated pools.

Accommodations include one, two or three-bedroom condos, all boasting a private balcony and washing machines. The apartments are luminous with bright decor.

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SunDestin Beach Resort Amenities:

  • Condo accommodations feature one-, two- and three-bedroom units with fully equipped kitchens and private balconies
  • Beachfront location with ocean views
  • Many family-friendly dining options within walking distance
  • Stays include four complimentary admission tickets to a local attraction
  • Indoor and outdoor pools, splash pad, hot tub, restaurant, gift shop, fitness center
  • Summer programming for kids
Adina Keeling is a freelance travel writer from San Diego, CA. She worked in local news for a year until her wanderlust drew her to Costa Rica, where she is now based while freelancing and traveling the world. She has lived in three different countries and traveled to 27. An avid solo traveler, Adina wants to empower other women to safely travel alone.
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