• This beach will be your new go-to vacation spot

    By: Nelson Hicks

    Updated:

    MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. - Digging into summer vacation planning yet? The South offers thousands of great options; everything from the mountains to the beach, amusement parks to camping, sports to history adventures.

    For Atlanta Wanda Ibidapo, her vacation search lead her and her family to the beach and the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

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    "People are nice, the food is good, it's just fun," Ibidapo told wsbtv.com's Nelson Hicks.

    "My family came last year for spring break and it was wonderful," Ibidapo said. "Then, I came last month for a tennis event and I just fell in love with it."

    San Destin isn't a city. It's a 2,400-acre resort in Miramar Beach. It's in between Santa Rosa Beach and Destin. The property spans from the Gulf Coast to the Choctawhatchee Bay. The beach and all the activities it offers ranks as the top draw. Boogie boarding, parasailing and sandcastle building can be part of a visit.

    "I just love the beach," she said. "The white sand, the water is see-through just like it is in the Caribbean."

    But it's called Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, so naturally, there's plenty of golf. The property boasts four courses including the original Links Golf Club, the Raven Golf Club, home to past Champions Tour events, Burnt Pine Golf Club, the course Golf Magazine dubbed the Crown Jewel of Florida golf and the Baytowne Golf Club, designed for families.

    "The Baytowne course is more of a resort friendly golf course," said Sandestin Director of Resort Golf Rick Hileman. "It's got a big span in between the tee boxes, so it's very enjoyable for the family. We've got a junior set of U.S. kids tees that they can play from. We've even got some 4 Fun Golf Carts that they can all ride together in."

    If golf isn't your game, no problem. Guests score a free hour of court time each day at the tennis facility. There are daily clinics, doubles events and junior programs all week. The resort boats 12 clay courts and three hard courts.

    "(We're in) a very fortunate location being right next to the marina," Sandestin Director of Tennis Todd Hanson said. "So even when you're done playing tennis, a lot of people like to go right over to the marina, check out the boats (and) grab lunch  there."

    The Baytowne Marina is home to even more activities. It offers boating, kayaking and fishing, to name a few. There's mini golf and basketball on the property, too.

    Looking for something a little slower and a bit more peaceful? Ride down the street to Jolee Island. The five-acre island is undeveloped, surrounded by marshland and filled with all kinds of wildlife.

    After spotting a creature or two, kick back and enjoy the sunset.

    But when the sun goes down, the fun is just getting started. The Sandestin Golf and Beach resort is also home to Baytowne Wharf.

    "(It offers) free, fun, family-friendly things to do for all ages, all events, live music on the weekends," Baytowne Wharf's Leighann Elliott said. "It's just a 24-7 fun happening place."

    Guests can zipline across the lagoon, climb the rock wall, tackle a ropes course and ride a carousel before enjoying some shopping and eating. Baytowne Wharf is packed with shops, activities and plenty of restaurants.

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    Sandestin offers nearly 1,300 rentals, spanning from studios to four-bedroom units.

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