Last Updated on December 28, 2023 by Katrina

Photo credit: Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

Travelers love the Florida Panhandle shoreline for its white-quartz sands, turquoise Gulf waters, and easy access to golf and shopping. Make your base around the barrier island town of Destin, attached to the mainland by a bridge. Here are five great beach hotels in the Destin area—some in Destin itself, and some in neighboring beach communities.

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa (4000 S. Sandestin Blvd.; 850-267-9500) Miramar Beach

The 509-room Hilton along the 30A highway is a crowd-pleaser: Three pools, a kids club, a spa, and a nice perch on a mile-long beach. “We stayed in a suite with a king-size bed and bunk beds for the kids with their own small television,” says one Google reviewer. “We had a balcony with a partial view of the beach.” A Tripadvisor reviewer loves the service, plus some classic Florida dessert: “The staff is friendly and amazing, and the food is fantastic, especially the Key lime pie. Don’t forget to take the shuttle to the outlet stores.”    >> Book this hotel for less

The Henderson Beach Resort & Spa (200 Henderson Resort Way; 855-702-3087) Destin

This stately, 170-room resort sits across the road from the beach and Henderson Beach State Park. “It’s just 200 paces between the pool gate and Destin’s famed white sands,” writes Travel+Leisure. Forbes says that the resort exudes “a hushed sense of attentiveness once common to the stately manor homes of days gone by.” Rooms come with flat-screen TVs, sitting areas, and furnished balconies. “The condo-style lofts are super comfortable,” says a Tripadvisor user. “There is no other place like this in Destin or the surrounding area if you are looking for a luxury getaway as a couple or as a family—they have something for everyone.”    >> Book this hotel for less

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort (9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy.; 850-267-8888) Miramar Beach

This 1,300-lodging resort spreads across 2,400 acres—a little world unto itself with a marina, restaurants, shops, golf, tennis, loaner bicycles, water sports, and a tram that takes you to the beach and anywhere else within the resort. “There’s a huge variety of things to do, including a resort-planned events calendar,” says Travel+Leisure. “If you can dream it, Sandestin probably has it.” For everyday needs, there’s a “Publix and shopping nearby so you can stock up your kitchen and save on restaurants,” says one Tripadvisor reviewer. “The Tram drivers were great! They shared more tips than anyone at front desk or guest service.”    >> Book this hotel for less

Emerald Grande (10 Harbor Blvd.; (844) 651-9124) Harborwalk Village

This condo-based resort sits right on the water of Destin Harbor and Choctawhatchee Bay. While it’s not technically on the sand, there’s a free boat shuttle to the nearby beaches. “Those who long to be in the heart of the action should book a room at the Emerald Grande,” says Travel+Leisure, thanks to the nice mix of restaurants and shops in Harborwalk Village. Online reviewers raves about the condo units’ balconies for both harbor views and people-watching. “Nice rooms, clean and well maintained,” says a Tripadvisor user. “Not on the beach, but accessible with a little effort. Just avoid the timeshare presentation at all costs.” >> Book this hotel for less

Pelican Beach Resort (1002 US-98; 850-654-1425) Destin

This 19-story condo-style resort is “picture-perfect, with killer views and unbeatable beach access,” says Travel+Leisure. “It’s a great spot for families seeking a laid-back beach vacation.” Amenities include three adult pools and a kiddie pool, tennis courts, fitness centers, and a game room. Choose your room from the two towers, the Pelican Beach Resort or the Terrace at Pelican Beach. “We stayed at the Terrace,” says a Google reviewer. “It was fantastic. The only thing that would have made this better is if this tower was the one closest to the beach but the little walk through the parking lot to the beach was just fine. Everything we wanted or needed was within blocks.” >> Book this hotel for less