Miramar Beach-Sandestin Area, FL Visitor's Guide

The city of Miramar Beach, Florida is known for world-class beaches, and equally reputable shopping. But look closer at this modern beach city, and you will find so much more. The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is a 2400-acre destination resort located on the East end of Miramar Beach. The ultra-popular resort, whose borders stretch from the north bayside of Miramar Beach to the south seaside, attracts visitors with an allure brought on by architecture and decoration imitating the historic fishing villages that peppered the Gulf coastline in the early 20th, and late 19th century.

Weather
Experience full days of sunshine when visiting Sandestin and Miramar Beach, Florida! Northwest Florida typically is graced with an average of 320 days of sunshine a year. Mid-Western and New England residents, as well as many foreign visitors, find themselves unprepared for the warm, humid climate producing hot, hot, summers, and no dry season. The "warm season", lasting May 24th to September 30th, produces an average temperature of 83.5 degrees Fahrenheit, while the "cold season", lasting November 30th to March 5th, cools even the bravest beach goers with an average daily temperature of 56 degrees (and a low of only 46 degrees)! Be prepared to dress in layers in the late fall, winter, and early spring, and to peel those layers down to a bathing suit when May comes around.



Landmarks
Both locals and tourists would agree that the most recognizable landmark in Sandestin and Miramar Beach, Florida is the Village of Baytowne Wharf. At the heart of the Sandestin resort, the Village of Baytowne Wharf has things to do for all ages including shopping, enjoying live entertainment, zip-lining, and gaming at the Blast Arcade and Laser Maze.

One other milestone known nationwide is the Silver Sands Outlet Mall. The Silver Sands Outlet Mall is a mega strip mall containing 110 outlet stores, with restaurants and food vendors strewn throughout. Deal-hungry shoppers flock from all over the Southeast United States and beyond for factory prices on electronics, home wear, novelty items, and most of all apparel and clothing accessories!

Things To Do
While visiting Sandestin or Miramar Beach, Florida, all-ages entertainment is easy to come by! Many plan for family-fun excursions like Dolphin Watch and Destin History Cruises, Charter Fishing trips, Jet Ski Rentals, and Helicopter Rides, but some less trendy attractions can do wonders to transform just a fun few days, into a memorable vacation. Miramar Beach and surrounding Destin and Santa Rosa Beach are abundant with many skilled beach photographers practiced in the art of family photography on the Emerald Coast's beautiful white-sand beaches. Dinner cruises also serve to create cherished recollections in the most elegant of ways. Leave the kids at the condo, and hop aboard a luxurious vessel for a romantic 3 hour Dinner and Dancing Cruise. While floating above the beautiful Choctawhatchee Bay experience fine dining at its finest with a delectable 3 course meal enjoyed to the sounds of live music, and the sights of the majestic bay shoreline.

Dining & Nightlife
Inspired by the thriving fishing industry in neighboring Destin, FL, Miramar Beach restaurants offer some of the most delicious seafood in the world. Whether staring out on a sun-kissed sea, or enjoying one of the Emerald Coast's best live bands, the food and atmosphere at Miramar Beach restaurants never fails to impress. The nightlife is centered inside the posh Village of Baytowne Wharf. While by day Baytowne is a kid-friendly hot spot, at night its upscale clubs and bars come to life with dance music and specialty drinks served at one of the many eclectic beach-themed bars. Some of our top restaurant picks include Vintij Wine Bistro, Marlin Grill, Seagars and Jordanos.

Lodging
Along Scenic Highway 98 in Miramar Beach, Florida, thousands of rental condos, homes, and hotels overlook the powder-sand beaches and emerald horizons. Sun searching temporary settlers invade these rental properties vying for a great view, and backdoor beach access. But while many come for the sun and the sand, an equal share come for the shopping, dining, and family-fun activities. With hundreds of hotels and condos to choose from, picking the best lodging for a trip to Sandestin Resort or Miramar Beach, Florida is no easy task. The first thing to consider is: Hotel or Condo?

Hotels typically offer limited amenities, more traditional rental rooms, and less proximity to the beach. But the average Hotel makes up for what it lacks by offering lower and negotiable rates, and 24 hour service. Many renters consider Condos for their stay because of the large room size (to more easily accommodate larger families and longer stays), and proximity to the beach (many condos are Oceanside and feature gulf views and instant beach access). Also, condo management typically will include family-fun activities and events like movie nights, beach luaus, and pool parties to give guests more bang for their buck. Remember that rates for both Condos and Hotels fluctuate seasonally. Typically rental rates will increase in the spring and summer, and drop during fall and winter. If interested in booking a condo, always attempt to book in advance for the best prices and availability.

Shopping
A trip to Miramar Beach, Florida isn't complete without at least one full day of premium shopping. Silver Shells Outlet Mall, the Village of Baytowne Wharf, Grand Boulevard, and hundreds more diverse shops conveniently located throughout Miramar Beach, and surrounding Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and 30A, create an unparalleled shopping experience.

Annual Events
The Sandestin Resort sports a consistent schedule of events open to the public. Some to watch out for are the Baytowne Art Fest (April 10-14), Red White and Baytowne (the 4th of July Celebration), Baytowne on Ice (a mobile ice rink open from November 1st to February 2nd), the Sandestin Beer and Wine Festivals (October 17-18, and April 10-13 respectively), and the Baytowne Art Walk (August 29-31). These dates may change each year so be sure to check the official Sandestin Resort website for details.

1) Never underestimate the sun, use sunblock at all times. The white sand may be cool to the touch, but it's also reflecting the sunlight upwards and accelerating the rate at which your skin will tan (or burn).
2) Winter and Fall lodging rates are typically 30-50% less than what are quoted in Spring and Summer. This is great for most visiting on a budget, however most leisure travelers will notice a lot of tour operations shut down, restaurants are short-staffed, and there are very few events offered.
3) Most families will find it less expensive to split a 2 or 3 bedroom condo rather than doing separate condos. The savings could be anywhere from 20-30% for each family.
4) Tour companies are typically slower on Saturdays and Sundays during the peak tourist season (June-August). Look for special deals and offers on these days to save on tickets.
5)Looking for nightlife? Baytowne Wharf is the place to be with 4 different nightclubs in one area. Go early for drink specials and stay for the live entertainment
6) The first 2 weeks of June and the last 2 weeks of August are the slower weeks during peak tourist season. The rates are slightly lower and the beach are slightly less crowded.
7) Hurricane season starts through June and run through November. Make sure to check the policy on hurricanes before booking lodging or activities. Some rental agencies are more restrictive than others.
8) Parking at public beach accesses can be hectic during Spring Break and Summer. Get an early start to avoid the rush or go later in the date (after 3pm). Rent a street legal golf cart or scooter for better access to the public beaches.
9) For those travelers who plan on going charter fishing, but don't know what to do with the meat, take it to a local seafood restaurant. Most seafood restaurants will prepare your fish into a meal for around $10 - Checkout AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar.
10) When visiting the Silver Sands Outlet mall, stop at guest services and buy a coupon book for $5. You will most likely save a lot more than what the book costs.

References
1. www.theglobeandmail.com
2. www.visitpanamacitybeach.com
3. www.weatherspark.com
4. www.baytownewharf.com
5. www.silversandsoutlet.com


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