Happy Monday/back to reality! We spent the last week at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, which is located on Miramar Beach near Destin, Florida. It was one of the best weeks of my whole life, truly. We were up at sunrise every morning, first in line for the breakfast buffet (more on that below, but it was so delicious!), first at the beach to get our umbrella and baby tent setup (Emi napped every single morning in it!), ate the best lunches at Barefoot’s by the pool, snoozed hard in the afternoon, then were back out for more fun around 3pm. Around 5pm, we’d head back to the hotel, all take baths/shower, then get dressed and eat dinner, either at the resort, or taking the free shuttle to Baytowne Wharf nearby. We were relaxed the whole time, and I couldn’t imagine it going more smoothly. I have some tips for beachin’ with baby below as well – we learned some things during our first time doing it! Isla was about 20 months old when we took her to the beach the first time, so her eating the sand was not a concern of ours! Ha.
In short: I would totally recommend that anyone to stay at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa! I outlined specific aspects of the hotel that we loved below. Please feel free to email me if you have any additional questions. I’m currently digging myself out of my inbox, so I can’t promise a super quick response, but I will get back to you!
Favorite Aspects of Hilton Sandestin Beach
- The ease/convenience of beachfront access, plus multiple pool options as well. There are two ramps taking you from the hotel deck down to the beach. It took about five minutes to get out of our room, get three towels, reserve an umbrella and be on the beach. No joke! Rental for umbrella and chair setup (from 9am to 5pm) is $49.99, which we received complimentary for a few days, then also paid for just the umbrella ($19.99), since all we were after was the shade! I recommend at least getting the umbrella if you have kids because the sun was so strong. There are two big pools on the deck, plus a hot tub and a shallow baby pool. Lots of options!
- Good restaurants on the property. We typically ate at Sandcastle’s for the breakfast buffet, Barefoot’s for lunch, and either Sandcastle’s or Hadashi Grille for dinner. One night, we took the free shuttle from the hotel to nearby Baytowne Wharf for dinner, and another night, when we were all exhausted, we ordered delivery Asian food! The only negative I could come up with for the hotel was that there aren’t a huge number of vegetarian options as entrees on the menus (would’ve loved one or two tofu or quinoa-type dishes); however, everyone was really accommodating in helping make certain dishes vegetarian. I loved our servers (especially Taras!). The breakfast buffet was so good – Isla would eat a chocolate chip waffle, I would get the best oatmeal/granola/raspberry preserve combination, Emi ate scrambled eggs and Sasha ate a bit of everything. We would get the red pepper hummus for lunch at Barefoot’s, then I would get the Fresh Catch Salad and have the fish come on a side plate, and that’s what Isla ate for lunch every day. There is also a portobello cap burger at Barefoot’s, which was delicious. For dinner, I would get the Baby Spinach Salad from Sandcastle’s (dinner menu here) and once, we ordered the Margharita Pizza (which is on the lounge menu). One evening, we ate at Hadashi’s Sushi (menu here), and we got edamame and seaweed salad. They also had a vegetarian roll, but I’m not a big sushi fan. We never tried the raved-about Seagars (steak restaurant) because it’s fancy and we had the kids, but they do have the same spinach salad, as well as a caprese one.
- Snack options also available! Located right beside the pool, there is a little snack-type shop, called Picnix, which is where we got frozen yogurt a few times. They also have sandwiches, pizza, etc. There is also a coffee shop inside the hotel (not far from the pool), which brews Starbucks Coffee. I got oatmeal there twice, and Isla ate a donut (hello, happy girl).
- BYOB was totally acceptable. I was mortified when Sasha came home from Specs the day before our trip with wine, prosecco, St. Germain, mixers, limes, and gin! I thought we would look so cheap bringing our own cocktails! But this was very commonplace. Coolers aren’t allowed on the deck, but almost everyone had one on the beach. We did buy a margarita, but other than that, it was Sasha’s mixed concoctions for most of the trip!
- Free shuttle to nearby Baytowne Wharf. Right outside the doors of the hotel, a free shuttle will pick up people to take them to Baytowne Wharf, which is a boardwalk type place with lots of kids activities, a play park, carousel, ice cream shop, oyster house, etc. We ate at Agaze Azul, which was so delicious.
- Kid-friendly suites with bunkbed options. Our room was a total dream. We were on the 15th floor of the Emerald Tower, with views of the ocean, pool, etc. We were in the junior suite with bunkbeds, which Isla loved. Emi slept in her BabyBjorn Travel Crib. There is also a kids club for children five or older. There were so many kids on the beach, so Isla had a lot of fun making friends every single day.
- Complimentary water bottles with daily cleaning and turn-down service. This was so nice!! Two water bottles in the morning, two in the evening. Oh and chocolates, which Isla managed to scarf down every night.
- Amazing spa. The Serenity by the Sea Spa facility is unreal. It’s so relaxing, and they have every feature you could ask for. I got the Serenity facial and loved it.
- Location, location, location. It is only 27 miles from Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS), 62 miles form Pensacola International Airport, and less than a 9 hour drive from Houston. We stopped twice on the way there and back (once for gas, once for food), and it honestly flew by.
- Last, but not least – one of the the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to. Seriously, that white sand and blue water cannot be beat. I’ve been to beach all around the world, and Destin beats Bali, Brazil, Hawaii, Sydney, Melbourne, Spain, etc. The only rival would be Antigua, which is equally stunning.
Quick Travel Tips for Babies and Toddlers at the Beach
- We bought a wagon, baby tent, fan, Honest reusable diapers, and toys that wipe down easily that they can play with (we loved this one, which we used at the restaurants too) to the beach. Emi typically only uses her pacifier when she’s going to take a nap, but I referred to it as the “sand plug” during the trip, as she kept trying to eat the sand! Ha. The baby tent was so valuable in that bright sun, not only for the shade, but to zip her up when it was nap time and let her fall asleep!
- Load up on sand buckets, boogie boards, noodles, inflatable balls/floats, etc. The more toys the better. At first, Isla was too nervous to approach other kids to play, so I’d walk over with her and chat with the parents (we made sweet friends this way). By the end of the trip, she was happy to do it herself. Bring lots of water and snacks for the kids down to the beach too, so that you don’t have to keep going back to the room for food.
What We Brought to the Beach
Favorite Beach Photos
I already shared some of our family photos that our photographer (and now friend!) Lauren Folk of Folk House Creative Co. took for us here. I also took a few photos every day before zipping my camera up and putting it away, which I’m sharing below. I did an Instagram takeover of Hilton Sandestin Beach’s Instagram account, which Lauren took photos for as well, and I’ll share some more of those tomorrow! Lots of photos. What else would you expect from me?! Right?