I’m sharing my recent trip to Sandestin Florida with you today, along with an amazing Beach Vacation Giveaway! Make sure to enter below!!
Spring is a busy time for me. It seems the kids’ activities pick up in a major way. I’ve got more projects on my plate than I do most months. Plus I’m usually working ahead in preparation for the summer months when the kids are home and I want to play.
So it’s no surprise I feel a little frazzled this time of year.
Fortunately for me, a good friend of mine Amanda (from KevinandAmanda.com) planned a short girls getaway so we could relax in the sun and refresh a bit.
This was my first time visiting South Walton on Florida’s panhandle coastline. South Walton is a narrow peninsula with the Gulf of Mexico on the south side and the Choctawhatchee Bay on the north side, so there is literally water everywhere you look.
South Walton is made up of 16 prestine beach neighborhoods, each with its own flavor. Some are quiet and romantic, while others are family-friendly with uncountable activities. All the South Walton neighborhoods line the Gulf with plenty of places to bury your toes in the powder white sand, and splash in the alluring aqua waves.
We were able to walk to shops, restaurants, and attractions in minutes, then ride the free tram, or take a complementary bike all over the property. With the spa, beach, pools, water sports, golf courses, tennis, the marina, a theater, arcades, ziplines, and nature parks right in Sandestin Florida, there’s never a reason to leave!
We girls spent most of our time, shopping, lounging, and of course eating.
Actually, I’m a little embarrassed at how much time we spent eating, but that’s the nature of the beast when you write about food.
Highlights of our dining in Sandestin Florida
Although we ate at quite a few places, there were four meals that were near and dear to my heart.
Breakfast at Sunset Bay Cafe. By far our most memorable breakfast! This poolside cafe overlooking the bay is open for breakfast and lunch, with a tiki bar that is open until midnight. We sat outside overlooking the water and enjoyed decadent dish after dish of specialty pancakes, french toast, chicken and waffles, omelets, and the “Southern Fries” loaded with white gravy, bacon and fried cheese curds.
Yes, I ate them for breakfast. Yes, I felt a little guilty. Yes, I would totally do it again.
Lunch at The Beach House. Located right on the beach (next to the Hilton) this cozy cafe was a delightful surprise. The Beach House serves classic beach fare with a southern twist, fabulous tiki drinks, and amazing desserts in a jar.
We tried the Grouper Tacos, Calamari, the Seafood Basket, the Blue Crab Dip, Crab Fritters, Nachos and more. My favorites were the Blue Crab Dip, the Buttermilk Calamari, and don’t forget to save room for the Key Lime Pie!
This is the perfect casual lunch and dinner spot to walk off the beach and enjoy a memorable meal. No shoes, no problem! PS – The Beach House has an upstairs event space for private parties and receptions overlooking the water.
Dinner at Marlin Grill. Right in the heart of the Village of Baytowne Wharf, is an elegant eatery perfect for open-air romantic dinners. We sat out of the veranda and enjoyed surf and turf with southern sides. The seared tuna and baked brie appetizers were divine, and I devoured my petit fillet topped with a flash fried kiwi lobster tail.
This is another spot to make sure to save room for dessert. The bread pudding, key lime pie, and creme brulee were my personal favorites!
Dinner with Chef Javier Rosa. Our most memorable meal of all was enjoyed right in our condo. Sandestin’s Executive Chef Javier Rosa came over and prepared a 5 course tasting menu with wine pairings called “A Taste of Sandestin” that was truly an experience I will never forget.
Our private menu included Fried Green Tomato Salad, Gumbo, Braised Pork Confit with Cheese Grits, Crawfish Ravioli, Grouper with Gulf Shrimp with Beet Pudding, and Sweet Peach Souffles. This menu captured the flavors of the region, with nuances from Chef Rosa’s personal history.
Other than eating… We shopped in the outlets and quaint shopping centers, visited the spa, and relaxed on the beach. However two activities were my personal favorites.
Yolo Board – Stand Up Paddling. Let it be know that I’ve always, always, wanted to try Stand Up Paddling, or SUP as some call it. Yet every time we visit a place on the water I tell Lt. Dan that I will be Stand Up Paddling on this trip, and every time extraneous circumstances cause me to miss it.
However, our girls trip to Sandestin Florida provided an opportunity to Stand Up Paddle and I was NOT going to be denied. After a brief lesson, we headed out on the bay (in very shallow water) to practice our strokes.
I found Stand Up Paddling to be a relaxing, yet adventurous activity, that gives you the opportunity to explore the coastline and waterways from a unique perspective. Plus, you get a little core workout while you’re paddling.
Yolo Board’s location on the bay was the perfect place to paddle board for the first time, because it’s protected from the rougher waters on the gulf. After paddling to a nearby beach we ventured down a canal into gassy areas dappled with blue crabs, clams, and native birds. This up-close nature experience was a true pleasure. I would SUP again in a heart beat!
Beach Bonfire. One of the unique attributes of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is that you can schedule your very own private Beach Bonfire in the evening. Our first night in Sandestin, we headed out on the beach where a special fire pit had been prepared for us with lounge chairs and s’mores. (Of course, Amanda brought additional s’mores fixin’s to liven things up.) We had our own bonfire attended to keep the fire in check while we watched the sunset and laughed in the cooling ocean breeze.
We prepared s’more after s’more with various concoctions. This one has Ritz Crackers, Reeses Cups and Salted Caramel.
Whether you’re visiting Sandestin with your sweetheart or your family, the Beach Bonfire experience is a must!
Need help planning your trip to Sandestin Florida?
Visit Sandestin.com where you can checkout accommodations, connect with Sandestin on social media, or call to ask questions.
One lucky reader is going to win a trip to Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. A prize package worth over $1000!
This prize package includes:
- 3 day / 2 night stay for 2 (See official contest rules for details.)
- 1 Round of Golf for 2 (Baytowne, Raven, or The Links)
- 2 Breakfasts for 2 at Sunset Bay Café (1 entrée + 1 Bloody Mary or Mimosa per person)
- Beach chair + umbrella set up for 1 day
- $100 Gift Certificate to Marlin Grill
To Enter: Follow the prompts in the automated entry form below.
Disclosure: We were hosted by Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. All opinions are my own.
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