hotel resort in Destin, Florida

11 Best Hotels in Destin, Florida for Spring Break

Posted on: April 1, 2024

As featured in WOW Travel, written by Peter S.
All Photos Credit to:

When we think about Florida, we’re betting that the first destination that comes to your mind is Miami, followed by the Keys Islands. However, there’s another place where you can go – and we did – for a real Caribbean-style retreat, and that’s Destin! Home to clear waters and pristine white sand beaches, this seaside city happens to be one of the most picturesque places along the Emerald Coast. In fact, Destin is a very popular location for families like ours looking to spend spring break here. Given the plethora of options we found for Destin, Florida, hotels for spring break, we’d say it’s as popular with others as it was with us. While they ranged across locations and budgets, they had one core vibe – being friendly to the entire family. So, whether you have younger kids or even older ones, there’s a Destin stay that’s perfect for everybody.

Besides eating M&M pancakes and drinking strawberry daiquiris, the city and the coast had boatloads of activities to keep us occupied for our vacation – literally. Whether it’s boat tours, jet skiing, parasailing, or even exploring the land on terra adventures, there are many things to do in Destin, Florida, for spring break too, and for everyone. To that end, here’s a detailed guide on where to stay in Destin for an amazing spring break vacation.

hotel entrance in Destin, Florida

11. Hilton Garden Inn Destin Miramar Beach

Best chain hotel. We were looking for a chain hotel in Destin, and what better hotel than the Hilton Garden Inn Destin Miramar Beach? The comfort and convenience of every aspect of this hotel were unparalleled, and it sat within walking distance of Miramar Beach. We really don’t have to think when it comes to Hilton accommodations, do we? Our staying choices here ranged from rooms and studios to suites, all of which were stocked with a bevy of comfortable mod-cons. These included not just flat-screen TVs but also plush beds, luxe bathrooms, and even minifridges. Heck, our suite, which we got upgraded to, even had a sofa in the living space where we could unwind after coming to the room. But the best bit? Ours had a sea-facing balcony!

But that’s not all. The hotel features an onsite restaurant, the Garden Grille and Bar, which is open for breakfasts and dinners. It suited us well because we’d head off to explore Destin after the à la carte breakfast, returning only in the evening. Of course, our first stop would be the beach, which had loungers, daybeds, and umbrellas to relax. In fact, we didn’t even have to walk down; there would be a golf cart all ready to cart us up and down from the beach. Back at the hotel, there was a lovely swimming pool, which also had daybeds, umbrellas, and beachside service. A fitness center and a pool bar rounded up the amenities here.

10. Aunt Martha’s House Bed & Breakfast

Aunt Martha’s House Bed & Breakfast is living history and one of the most historic B&Bs on the Emerald Coast. Built 24 years ago, the romantic, Old Florida-style inn is all about the ambiance of an era gone by. The waterfront property sits overlooking The Narrows, right across from the Gulf of Mexico. And let us tell you – it’s a real quiet and serene piece of heaven.

We were welcomed into a cozy library warmed by a fireplace, next to which is a living/sunroom with massive floor-to-ceiling windows. Beyond the French doors lies a huge veranda that boasts magnificent views of the Santa Rosa Sound. There’s a rule at Aunt Martha’s – when you come here, come hungry. That’s because she set out a full breakfast that included traditional Southern egg, cheese, and ham grits, some fresh fruit cobbler, and stuffed French toast with walnuts and bananas. Sigh. That was some way to start the day!

“Staying at Aunt Martha’s during our Destin trip was like going back to granny’s house – lots of good food, tales of an era gone by, and a gorgeous, gorgeous house!” -WOW Travel

A winding staircase took us to the five unique rooms on the second floor, so staying here was a very intimate and exclusive experience. What’s more, they all had Southern-inspired names like Blue Bonnet, Rose, and Ivy and were all decorated with a touch of Aunt Martha’s Southern charm.

pool at nighttime, Destin, Florida

9. Hotel Effie Sandestin

We were looking for beachfront luxury outside the bustle of Destin, which is why we loved the Hotel Effie Sandestin. Tucked on the shores of the fabulous Miramar Beach just outside of Destin, this four-star hotel offered magnificent views of Choctawhatchee Bay. What’s more, we loved the upscale staying options at this resort, which ranged from standard suites to upgraded suite accommodations that came with not just apartment-style amenities but also majestic bay views. Mod-cons like flatscreen TVs, seating areas, and luxe bathrooms with bespoke bath products are standard across the property, which is another thing we appreciated. Moreover, the rooms were very spacious, which was delightfully surprising for a beachfront Miramar Beach property.

That said, the amenities here were equally as amazing as the rooms and suites. Our days began with breakfasts at one of the onsite restaurants, which is also where we’d enjoy cocktails during our evening revelries. What’s more, the other restaurant would be open for lunches and dinners. So, we never had to really leave the property, even when it came to food. Don’t miss heading up to the rooftop lounge, where we enjoyed a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool with million-dollar ocean views. Aside from the spacious sun deck, we loved that we had direct and quick access to the private beach area out front.

pool facing ocean at hotel

8. Silver Shells Beach Resort & Spa

We wanted our trip to the beach to be in the very lap of luxury, which is why we chose the luxurious Silver Shells Beach Resort & Spa. Tucked into 6 Gulf-front buildings along with 1,000 feet of pristine white sand beachfront, this beach resort was the answer to all our prayers. Whether you’re looking for a couple’s getaway, a family holiday, or fun with your friends, the Silver Bells is where you should be. Since the property had an enviable location near Henderson Beach State Park and Destin Harbor, we didn’t have to travel far when it came to checking out Destin’s sights too. The gorgeous beach out front not only had loungers and umbrellas, but even beach service. So, there would be days when we’d simply spend time by the beach to unwind. However, the pièce de résistance was the 7,500-square-foot lagoon pool back at the property. It came with whirlpools, a waterfall, and even a kids’ pool nearby, making it a very inviting place to spend the entire day with the family. Rounding out the amenities are the relaxing spa for adults, a gym, and even onsite restaurants in the form of a steakhouse and a wonderful cafe bar.

7. The Palms Of Destin

Best for families with kids. If you’re looking for a central Destin hotel rather than a beachside one, then look no further than The Palms of Destin. This all-condo hotel sits right in the heart of Destin, next to Henderson Beach State Park. Even though it wasn’t located directly on the beach, the hotel offered us a free five-minute shuttle to Calhoun Beach. So, we didn’t lose out on beach days too! That said, we loved the amenities back at the hotel, too, especially the gorgeous lagoon pool, which featured bridges and waterfalls and whatnot. What’s more, the pool was a zero-entry one and even had a kids’ water splash pad, which meant that kids enjoyed their fill as well. Of course, there was even a children’s playground right next to the pool, which meant that they were in absolute bliss.

Besides the water features, the hotel even had a fitness room with a spa where we could relax and unwind. There was even a small seasonal shop on site, which offered travel essentials. So, it was useful in case anyone had forgotten to pack anything. For the energetic kind, there were two tennis courts and a basketball court right on the property. Finally, we had the choice of three onsite eateries, namely a bar, a coffeehouse, and a Palms Bistro.

When it came to the accommodations, the choices ranged from one- to three-bedroom condos to as lavish as two-bedroom villas. Nevertheless, they all had all the usual hotel room amenities like plush beds and flatscreen TVs, along with full kitchens, washers/dryers, and private balconies – and ours even came with stunning Gulf views.

resort living room

6. The Islander Resort Destin

The Islander Resort is one of the best condo-style Destin, Florida, hotels for spring break. This seven-storied Holiday Isle property was built way back in the 1980s, but it underwent a fabulous multi-million renovation in 2010. It completely transformed the face of this beachside resort, which offers mind-blowing views of the Destin Pass and the Gulf of Mexico. We had the choice of multiple two-bedroom, two-bathroom condos, all of which had flatscreen TVs with cable channels for entertainment. What’s more, they had a well-equipped kitchen, so we could cook light meals and spreads on the fly. Even the private bathrooms were modern and spick and span and came with bespoke bath amenities, towels, and bed linen. Oh, and the best units offered frontal sweeping views of the beach and the ocean beyond.

However, there’s more to the Islander than just the fabulous units. The access to the private stretch of white sand beach out front was the prime ticket. When we were done lounging on the daybeds on the beach, we’d retire to one of the two amazing heated outdoor pools, which also came with two hot tubs for some serious soaking later on. The extensive outdoor sports facilities, including pickleball courts, shuffleboard, a basketball court, and tennis courts, will be thrilling for those who love indulging in sporting activities. So, while The Islander is a fantastic vacation spot, it also made for a pretty cozy home base for our extended Destin stay.

5. Pelican Beach Resort Condos

Yet another seafront condo property in Destin is the Pelican Beach Resort, which sits on a picture-perfect beach in the city. The 19-storied condo-style resort boasts a family-friendly atmosphere and killer views. Since the beach is right out front, it was the highlight of our stay here. After a swim in the sea, we’d choose daybeds under umbrellas to lie down and order snacks and drinks from the beach cafe and tiki bar. Back at the hotel, we had the choice of four pools – well, three, since the fourth is a shallow kiddie pool, which the children loved frolicking in. Additionally, the property also had two spas (yes, two!), a game room, a fitness center, and even tennis courts. A cafe, seasonal deli, and convenience store wrap up the offerings here.

If you were impressed by the amenities, wait till you saw the digs, which were one/two-bedroom apartments with amazing views of the ocean. What’s more, they came with two bathrooms, a formal dining area, and a full kitchen, allowing us to keep whipping up meals whenever the kids wanted. Thanks to flatscreen HD cable TVs with Amazon Prime and Netflix streaming services, they were kept entertained throughout the day. The best bit? Every floor had a coin-operated washing machine and dryer, so we didn’t have to worry about laundry either. You can play tennis at the property, and the area is popular for golfing.

resort pool facing ocean

4. Emerald Grande At Harborwalk Village

Since we were looking for condo-style stays, we were glad to have found the Emerald Grande at Harborwalk Village, which was a fabulous Gulf Coast getaway. While it was slightly away from the sandy shores of Destin’s beaches, the spectacular views of the turquoise Destin Harbor make up for it. What’s more, every condo here comes with a spacious balcony and panoramic views. But the best bit of all was that the resort had a complimentary boat shuttle that ferried us to the property’s private beach!

While we had four different condo-style room categories to choose from, they all came with full kitchens. So we could whip up meals when we didn’t want to step out. The three-bedroom apartment was the ideal luxurious stay for our entire family. Not only did it have three bedrooms, but it also had TVs in all rooms, a living area, and even a washer and dryer.

The rest of the hotel is equally amazing, like the spa where we could relax while the children were kept busy with the kids. Not only was there an indoor pool for when the weather was cold, but there was also an outdoor pool and two hot tubs with a poolside bar. So, while the children had their share of fun, we’d be lying on the loungers, drinks in our hands. Moreover, the Gulfview Fitness Center is ideal for those who want to work out, especially since they have fabulous views.

3. Henderson Park Inn

Best beachfront inn. It’s hard to find an intimate beachfront inn, but here we are! Welcome to the Henderson Park Inn, which lies right on the quiet sands of Crystal Sands Beach. It was perfect for our quiet getaway, especially since the stretch of sand out front was a private beach – daybeds, parasols, et al. Plus, to top it all, it was adults-only and all-inclusive. Sigh. With just 37 rooms and suites, staying here was a very intimate and exclusive experience. Most of the private balconies, which were in every room, had partial or complete views of the sea. Our oceanfront room was gorgeous, complete with a fireplace and French doors leading to a sea-facing patio with alfresco seating. It was the perfect setting for a much-needed romantic getaway, where we enjoyed sipping a glass of wine while soaking in the lovely Destin sunset.

Our mornings at Henderson Park Inn began with gourmet buffet breakfasts in the dining room, after which we’d spend the day out on the beach with a romantic picnic-style lunch. Evenings were best spent drinking cocktails and complimentary drinks at the tiki bar, a service that extended to the beach, by the way! We also had free access to a fitness center, spa, and a gorgeous upper deck pool with luxe cabanas, complimentary tandem bikes, and community snacks. Rounding up the amenities was the award-winning restaurant, Beach Walk Cafe, whose “Toes in the Sand” package saw our meal being served to us right on the beach!

resort pool, oceanside

2. Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

While technically it’s located in Miramar Beach, the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is a mere 20-minute drive from Destin. Since we didn’t mind staying away from the bustle and had our own car, it was perfect for us. Plus, the added attraction was that the 2,400-acre huge resort was practically a destination in itself. Imagine this – watersports, dining, shopping, and even golf! If that wasn’t enough, it even had boutiques, a marina, and an entertainment hub at the Village of Baytowne Wharf. So, this was a truly well-rounded Destin beach vacation stay when it came to it.

When it came to the resort’s amenities, that was a different trip altogether. Firstly, it boasted a private beach area, complete with loungers under parasols where we’d practically pig out on beach days. Back at the resort, there are not one but three massive swimming pools, an indoor and two outdoor ones, of which one was dedicated to kids and the other one was for adults. Besides all the water fun, the resort also has a golf course, as mentioned earlier, and as many as seven different bars and restaurants. It’s no wonder that it’s Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast’s largest full-service beachfront resort. The best bit? They even had free shuttles to cart us around the property, as well as bonus freebies like kayaking trips and bike rentals.

From bayside villas to lakeside cottages, there was no type of accommodation we didn’t find here. Nevertheless, they all came with flatscreen cable TVs, luxe bathrooms with bespoke bath products, and amazing views. P.S.: Pick an oceanfront room – you won’t regret it.

1. Henderson Beach Resort & Spa

Our list ends with a Destin city favorite, the Henderson Beach Resort & Spa. Not only does it boast private beach access, but this 170-room resort sits next to the 208-acre-huge Henderson Beach State Park, which has a long and natural coastline. In fact, this stretch of the beach is the most peaceful across the shoreline. While it doesn’t sit directly on the beach, it sits right across the road, with a wooden boardwalk directly connecting the property to the beach.

The hotel has a bunch of amenities that we loved, especially the two luxurious outdoor pools, complete with a lazy river. Not only was the pool heated, but also it had a shallow end where the kids could easily wade in without any hassles. Plus, they loved playing with the swimming pool toys while we lounged on the daybeds and enjoyed drinks from the pool bar. When the hunger pangs came calling, the onsite Primrose restaurant, which served everything from seafood to classic American fare, was perfect. If that wasn’t enough, there were many free activities at the property, including kayaking, biking, and paddleboarding. A spa and fitness classes round up the amenities here.

What we loved about the rooms here is that every last one of them has a private balcony with views of the courtyard, the pool, or the ocean, which is what we had. The cozy sitting areas were great for enjoying our morning coffee, considering there was a coffeemaker too. Free Wi-Fi, minibars, sunken bathtubs, and plush beds completed the digs.