I get lots of questions about where to stay in Destin and 30A. We have plenty of lodging here and it ranges from beach houses to hotels to condominiums to VRBOs. It’s no wonder people don’t know where to begin when planning their vacation!
I’ve put together a few tips that I hope will help get you started.
Start with a list of your priorities and you can chisel it down from there. What’s most important to you in your beach lodging? Location, budget, size, amenities, proximity to beach, proximity to restaurants, grocery store, movies, etc? These are all things you’ll want to consider and the importance of each can help you narrow down your search.
Where do you want to be? Anywhere on the Emerald Coast and South Walton are very family-friendly, but each area offers different perks. Staying in Destin or Okaloosa Island will put you very close to Big Kahuna’s Water Park, the Gulfarium, Destin Commons for shopping and movies, Destin Harbor for fishing charters, and tons of restaurants and night life. 30A is a bit quieter in terms of night life, but still offers plenty of local restaurants and feels more “off the beaten path.” That being said, not a ton to do out there if it rains (but Destin or Panama City Beach aren’t far!). Anywhere you choose will be very close to our sugar white sands and emerald green waters!
3. Type of Lodging-
This is a biggie. Do you want a full-service hotel with a pool and standard amenities but likely tiny rooms? Do you want a condo that allows you more room with laundry and a kitchen that allows you to cook your own food? Or a beach house with all the bells and whistles that can accommodate a few families? This is obviously a personal preference. I have family of five, so we love staying in condominiums when we travel (we even do this at Disney!). Having extra bedrooms, laundry, and a kitchen is very important to me and makes the vacation that much better because we aren’t cramped on top of each other. If just my husband and I are traveling, we are more likely to choose a hotel with a nice pool where we can relax.
4. Proximity to Beach-
You’ve heard it before, location, location, location! The closer you are the the beach, the more expensive the lodging will be, no matter the type. If this is a non-negotiable for you and you can afford it, go for it! But keep in mind many units are within walking distance to the beach and might also offer shuttle services to get you there. Many rental beach homes even come with a golf cart that makes the trek to the beach a breeze!
5. Length of Stay-
This is something you might not have thought of, but might be a factor in the type of lodging available to you. In peek months in Destin and 30A, nearly all condos and beach houses will only offer week-long rentals (usually Saturday to Saturday). If you have the flexibility to book your trip very last-minute, you might be able to snag a smaller number of nights if the rental company has yet to book them. If you are wanting to come for less than a week, your best bet will be a hotel. Destin and Okaloosa Island will be your best bet for hotels, where you can find all the main brands like Hilton, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, Courtyard Marriott, etc.
This goes without saying, but your budget will make a difference. You can spend THOUSANDS of dollars a week on the most decked-out beach house directly on 30A in Seaside, but the area has plenty of options in every price point. You can afford your beach vacation one way or another!
I hope these tips have helped. My goal is to compile a list of lodging options in the very near future to share with you. In the mean time, if you have more specific questions of where to stay, please leave a message or shoot me an email! I love hearing from y’all.