Gay Travel – Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort – Sandestin / Destin, Florida

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort / 9300 Emerald Coast Parkway West / Destin, Florida 32550 /1-800-277-0800

My partner, Jennifer, and I recently had the pleasure of staying at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort located on Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, between Pensacola and Panama City, eight miles east of Destin.
A member of Beaches of South Walton, Sandestin is the only resort on both the Intercoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico and is accessible via three airports, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City and Pensacola. 
Visiting Sandestin is like entering another world. Every little detail has been thought out at this 2,400-acre premier destination resort.
Sandestin consists of 30 charming village neighborhoods which feature condominiums, villas, town homes and wide variety of hotel accommodations. 
The resort boasts more than seven miles of sugar-white sand beach and bayfront property, four championship golf courses, 15 world-class tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a 113-slip marina, water sports, children’s programs, a fitness center and spa, 65,000 square feet of meeting space and a pedestrian village featuring a host of boutique shops, casual and fine dining restaurants, nightclubs and bars that come alive with strolling musicians, street performers, dancing fountains and lively festivals and events. 
And YES, Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort is VERY gay & lesbian friendly!
Sandestin is a complete vacation world where you can create your own one-of-a-kind experience.
Jen and I stayed at The Grand Sandestin, Sandestin’s beautiful signature hotel that offers on-site check in, concierge, a sweeping two-story veranda, fountains, lushly landscaped pool and a lobby bar.
We were immediately impressed by the hotel’s grandeur! Opulent, yet laid back, Grand Sandestin will impress you from the moment you arrive. 
The Grand Sandestin is located in The Village of Baytowne Wharf, the heart of resort activities.
One of the best features of Grand Sandestin was being able to walk outside and be steps for the bustling village! 
We were assigned a sprawling 1 bedroom suite with 2 flat screen TVs, 2 baths, full size kitchen, living room, dining room, washer/dryer and private balcony.
The unit was absolutely stunning! 
We appreciated the small touches, like towel art on the bed, welcome chocolates, free Wi-Fi, soft lighting, in-room washer/dryer and turn down service. 
The view from the balcony was amazing.
Jen and I didn’t have a ton of time to take in all of what Sandestin has to offer, but in the 2 full days we were there we certainly got a taste of it’s magnificence!
The beach at Sandestin (and the beaches on the Emerald Coast in general) will literally take your breath away.
As a New Englander, I am not use to witnessing such clear, turquoise/emerald green water and snow white sand. I felt like I was on some tropical island in the Caribbean or Tahiti.
The water is crystal clear and the sand is snow white. The sand of Destin, Florida beaches are among the whitest IN THE WORLD and cool to the touch. No hot toes here! 😉 
On our first full day at Sandestin, Jen and I decided to rent beach chairs for a day at Sandestin’s beach and soak in the beauty this paradise location. 
Sandestin offers the following beach services: 
  • Beach Attendants: From the time your car is parked, Sandestin beach attendants are eager to please. Need a tee time at one of the Destin, FL golf courses or dinner reservation at one of the Destin restaurants? Simply ask our attendants and they’ll take care of the details.

  • Beach Chairs, Umbrellas and Cabanas: Canvas set-ups are available by the day or week during the winter and offer the perfect way to relax on the beach. For an amazing Destin beach experience any time of the year, ask for a Beach Set-Up. It includes use of two beach chairs and an umbrella. Available for $40 (plus tax). Please note that Destin beach services do not accept cash. Please bring your Resort Key Card with you to charge items to your room or your credit card.

  • Beach Huts: For everything from sunscreen and snacks to kayaks and boogie boards, Finz Beach Bar offers everything for a great day at the beach. Please note that Destin beach services do not accept cash. Please bring your Resort Key Card with you to charge items to your room or your credit card.

  • Towel Service: Guests are invited to bring their own beach towels. Sandestin towels are available at the beach for $14 or 2 for $25.

We witnessed families with children, couples, singles and people from all backgrounds and age groups enjoying the beach and even met several other gay couples! 

The weather was simply perfect when we were there the end of May. Sunny, 80’s, low humidity and the water was super warm and enjoyable. 

You can find out more about the beach HERE.

If time allowed we would’ve taken advantage of resort amenities included with your stay at Sandestin, including one hour free of canoe or kayak rentals and one hour of boogie boards. Next time for sure! 

Other Sandestin Resort Amenities include: 
  • Two (2) complimentary 4-hour bicycle rentals each day of your stay (per unit).
  • One hour free of canoe or kayak rentals and one hour of boogie boards, weather permitting (2 boogie boards per reservation). 
  • An hour of free Destin tennis resort court time per unit. (After 11 a.m. during peak season: March 1st – July 31st)
  • Free access to the Sandestin Fitness Center (adults only, please).
  • Free Destin seasonal resort tram transportation service. (Call 1-800-277-0800 for availability and hours).
  • To enjoy these exclusive privileges, just present your Resort Card.

Additional Sandestin Beach Resort Amenities

  • 24-hour front desk
  • 24-hour security
  • Basketball court located Beachside
  • Beach umbrellas and chairs*
  • Bell service
  • Business facilities *
  • Children’s Programs *
  • Concierge services *
  • Conference facilities *
  • Dry cleaning/Laundry service *
  • High-speed Internet access available at LeCiel, Elation, Luau*,
    Market Shops, Reading Room, Starbucks, Village* and Westwinds
  • Golf club rentals *
  • Golf and dining privileges to the exclusive Burnt Pine Golf Club*
  • Guest parking *
  • Fitness Center (including Sauna and Hot Tubs)
  • Playgrounds located at The Village of Baytowne Wharf and Jolee Island
  • Safety deposit boxes *
  • Spa services *
*Fees may apply
After a fantastic day at the beach we couldn’t wait to get out and explore The Village at Baytowne Wharf! 
A simple walk out the front door of Grand Sandestin found us strolling past gas lamps and beautiful gardens right into the heart of the village. 
There are more than 20 restaurants, nightclubs and bars to choose from including Acme Oyster House, Graffiti & The Funky Blues Shack, Hammerhead’s Bar & Grill. Another Broken Egg Cafe, Bistro Bijoux, Fat Tuesday’s Daiquiri Bar, Grin-Go’s Taco Bar, Hartell’s Village Diner, John Wehner’s Village Door, Lazy Gecko Deck Bar, Lumpy’s Wine Bar, Marlin Grill, Osaka Sushi Rocks, Poppy’s Seafood Factory, Roberto’s Pizzeria, Rum Runner’s, San Gelato, Starbucks, The Shanty, Sweeties and Baytowne Beer Garden. 
The Village has an eclectic mix of shops as well, including Aloha Surf Company, Island Clothiers, Wharf General Store and Baytowne Jewelers. 
You will also find a wonderful mix of activities and services available in the village including the Baytowne Adventure Zone which offers zip line rides, a sky trail ropes course and even a 40-foot climbing tower. Boondocks, a family arcade, offers all the latest video games in a safe and friendly environment. Rick Moore’s Magic Shop has live magic shows performed by magician Rick Moore in his in-house theater as well as a museum. 

  1. The beaches! The Destin beaches at Sandestin are where the resort’s stunning beauty shines the brightest. The sand of Destin is among the whitest in the world and the water is crystal clear and glows a beautiful emerald green/turquoise.
  2. Sandestin is a complete vacation world with 30 charming village neighborhoods with accommodations for every style and budget as well as seven miles of beach, four championship golf courses, 15 world-class tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a 113-slip marina, water sports, children’s programs, a fitness center and spa, 65,000 square feet of meeting space and a pedestrian village.
  3. Location! Sandestin is located 8 miles east of Destin and is easily accessible via three airports including Fort Walton Beach, Panama City Beach and Pensacola. 
  4. Sports! Sandestin offers incomparable golf, including the Raven Golf Club, expanded tennis and a broad range of recreational activities.
  5. Sandestin’s Day Spa & Salon! Spoil yourself with a luxurious Florida spa getaway. You can design your own beauty enhancement program or relax and indulge in a variety of services at this Destin spa and salon that includes hairstyling, nail design, facials, therapeutic body treatments and massages. 
  6. Sandestin’s 28-acre Village of Baytowne Wharf with it’s exciting array of dining, shopping, activities and special events. 
  7. Complimentary transportation services including more than 20 trams that transport you throughout the entire resort. 
  8. Friendly service! From the moment Jen and I arrived we encountered nothing but friendly service. The check-in process was smooth, the staff pleasant and extremely eager to assist with anything you may need. For example, I was sick during my stay and one of the managers, Sarah Brazwell, was so kind she offered to pick me up anything I may need at CVS. Now how is THAT for customer service? XO
  9. Gay Friendly! Sandestin was extremely welcoming to Gay Travel Information and eager to be spotlighted on our blog. I even met several gay workers while at the resort and found out that Sandestin is an excellent company to work for. And, with all the children activities available, this would make the perfect family getaway!
  10. Absolute convenience and perfect location. Everything you could possibly need or want on a vacation can be found within the resort of Sandestin. Put it this way, Sandestin is so large they have their own zip code! Check in and leave your worries behind. You’ll be in good hands, I assure you! 

GAY & LESBIAN FACTOR: Without a doubt Sandestin is the most gay friendly resort on Florida’s Northwest coast!  Jen and I felt extremely welcome and comfortable strolling the grounds of Sandestin. Talking with some “out” employees reiterated the fact that this is truly a gay friendly place to not only visit, but to work for.
Even surrounding villages lining scenic Route 30-A, such as Seaside, Grayton Beach, Alyes Beach and Rosemary Beach seem like gay friendly communities alive with art galleries, shops, restaurants, nightclubs and, of course, breathtaking beaches.
We actually saw quite a few gay couples during our 3 night stay at Sandestin and were treated with nothing but respect from the staff and visitors alike.
I would certainly recommend Sandestin to friends, families and clients of ours. With that said I am “OUTING” Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort as LGBT friendly and worthy of our business. Two thumbs up!! 
I assure you that once you visit Sandestin you will want to either a.) move there or b.) return year after year. Sandestin is the type resort that truly takes you away from the worries of day-to-day life. You get a true sense of escapism and luxury. Everything you could possibly want on vacation is within the resort grounds. 
Even though I was a bit under the weather during my stay, I had an absolutely amazing time! Between the beach, our accommodations, the food, nightlife and perfect weather, I felt as if I had finally found the “Margaritaville” Jimmy Buffett always sings about! 😉 
I absolutely cannot wait until I return! 
Desiree Sousa
Out & about Travel / Gay Travel Information

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