I have always been drawn to the beach, but of late it is often difficult especially during the winter months to find a place that is not overrun by tourists or so remote that I begin to get anxious about trying not to be anxious. Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Florida a sprawling 2400 acres of resort in northwest Florida's lush Emerald Coast, has become a major destination for year-round fun and allowed me to unplug just enough to remain slightly off the grid without going insane. With a variety of accommodations in four distinct areas of the property -- Beachside, Bayside, Lakeside and The Village -- everyone can enjoy find a place to hang a pair of sandals in one of the more than 1,200 available rooms, condos and villas.
Family friendly with a enough romance to attract couples the more than seven miles of pristine beaches and bay front are not to be outdone by four championship golf courses, 15 world-class tennis courts, 19 swimming pools and a fitness center and spa. Not to mention that boating enthusiasts can pull right up and dock at the 113 slip marina.
It is easy to see why this property was rated as one of the 2014 Best Hotels in the USA by U.S. News & World Report and one of the Best Travel Finds of 2014 by Redbook magazine with a personal thumbs up to Sandestin as a destination that should appear on every vacationers' radar. During my recent stay I was lucky enough to enjoy the 28th Sandestin Annual Wine Festival, the most established and continuously running wine festival on the Coast. Known as the "Kentucky Derby of Wine Festivals," guests reveled in this opportunity to discover more about the wonderful world of wine.
They uncorked sun in the fun over four days of unique events which included wine dinners at Marlin Grill, wine dinners at Poppy's Seafood Factory, wine seminars, wine tastings, delicious food pairings, and an unrivaled Sunday brunch by the Bay. Wine novices and connoisseurs were able to sample from a comprehensive selection in all varieties, styles and price ranges. The Festival offered an unparalleled opportunity to meet winemakers, ask detailed questions about the wine making process and acquire hard to get selections.
Proceeds from the Sandestin Wine Festival were donated to The Fisher House, an organization that provides free or low-cost lodging to veterans and military families receiving treatment at military medical centers and Sandestin Foundation for Kids, making a meaningful difference in children's lives. Plans are already under way for next year's event.
Those who couldn't attend the Wine Festival still have plenty of opportunities to join in the fun as there always seems to be something happening at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Fishing enthusiasts won't want to miss the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic from June 18-22. Ranked as the fifth richest tournament in the world by Marlin magazine, contestants have a serious shot at winning serious money. Family fun for the landlubbers includes entertainment and activities for the kids all weekend long. For patriotic fun in July, you can't beat "Red, White and Baytowne." The Village of Baytowne Wharf will have activities for the kids including crafts, face painting, and balloon sculpting. A huge fireworks celebration is planned for the evening.
Put it all together -- wine festivals, resort living, beaches, golf, relaxation in the sun, year-round events -- and it's easy to see why guests are destined for fun at the Sandestin.
Photo Credits: Joshua Estrin