Tourists on the Gulf Coast of Florida love a trip to St Andrews State Park, but the peninsula doesn’t have any hotels of its own. Luckily it’s just a short hop from these great stays in Panama City, Grayton Beach and South Walton – bookable on Culture Trip.
When you first see pictures of St Andrews State Park, you might think you’re looking at the white sand beaches and turquoise waters of the Bahamas, but you’d be about 600 miles out. The park and its two and a half miles (4km) of pristine sands are actually just off Panama City in Florida’s panhandle – also known as the Emerald Coast. Stay at one of these hotels and you’ll be a just a hop away from the sand and clear Gulf waters, plus watersports galore and the best fishing you can shake your rod at.
If you’ve got a big appetite and deep pockets, this sprawling luxury complex in St Andrews Bay will meet all your desires. Should you fancy working out in the fancy gym at 3am, you can. Want to play on a Nicklaus Design 18-hole golf course? Sure. Bringing your pampered pooch to stay? They’ll be welcomed with open arms. The pools are heated, the beach is private, and the spa is massive – and you can almost see St Andrews State Park from your room.
Just an hour from St Andrews and so laid-back it’s horizontal, this charming B&B is just off Grayton Beach. Life here is all about snoozing in an Adirondack chair on the porch, reading in the hibiscus-filled gardens, and wandering five minutes to the beach. Choose from 13 eclectic guest rooms – some with kitchens, all with a vintage vibe – and in the morning, fill up on house-special waffles piled with fruit. Repeat until you can feel all life’s stresses melt away. It won’t take long.
You can see why the owners of this beachside resort thought of watercolors when they named it. The pastel turquoise of the lapping waves, the rosy tint of the sunset and the palest straw color of the sand all make a quietly gorgeous backdrop for rest and relaxation. In terms of style, think beach house elegance, combining wonderfully with Gulf-facing restaurants, landscaped gardens, tennis courts, a spa and a private beach. It’s all an hour’s drive from St Andrews State Park, although once you’re here we doubt you’ll ever want to leave.
This boutique South Walton inn feels more personal than some of the bigger resorts, and that’s not only because of its modest 55 rooms and suites. Staff know what builds loyalty and act accordingly, whether that’s high-end coffee and bath products, complimentary soft drinks in the minibar or a different treat left on your pillow each night. Unlike in some parts of the area, wifi connectivity is good, and there are widescreen Apple TVs in every room, meaning you can cozy up with Netflix after a hard day at the beach.
Part of a new village community that was purpose-built for leisure and relaxation, this place is a classic resort hotel with all the amenities you’d expect. Access to almost a mile (1.6km) of white-sand beach, plus swimming pools, tennis courts, surfing, sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving make it a dream playground for couples, or families with older children. It’s around a half-hour drive to both St Andrews and Grayton Beach State Parks, meaning you’ll have easy access to even more immaculate sands, if you’re feeling greedy.
It’s the location that makes this one special – right on Panama City Beach and its powdery white sands, and just a shuttle boat away from St Andrews State Park. Otherwise, it’s a very traditional Florida beach holiday setup: family rooms, some with kitchenettes, and all with balcony views of the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico, plus use of a pool, hot tub and beach bar. It’s a simple but tasty recipe for an Emerald Coast vacation.
Think that Panama City would suit you better? We have its best hotels for every traveler, as well its best luxury hotels, bookable on Culture Trip. Once you’re there, what better than to dine in style, at the Bay County capital’s best restaurants.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
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