Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Florida’s postcard-worthy Panhandle is beloved for its unspoiled natural beauty, affectionately nicknamed the “Forgotten Coast”. Peppered with pristine beaches, picture-perfect barrier islands and small beach towns, this region is perfect for a laid-back beach getaway in Florida. Escape the crowds at these small slices of paradise, where basking in the sunshine, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and fishing are top priorities. Set on some of the Sunshine State’s most gorgeous beaches, these are the top beachfront hotels in Florida’s Panhandle.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is a 2.400-acre destination resort in Miramar Beach. Unlike a hotel, its collection of over 1,000 vacation rentals range from studios to four-bedroom units, homes, villas and penthouses. You’ll have four resort areas to choose from, including Beachside, Bayside, Lakeside and the Village – which stretches from the postcard-perfect beach to Choctawhatchee Bay. A stay here means you’ll have access to free bikes, boogie boards, kayaks, tennis and resort-wide tram service, as well as four championship golf courses and of course, powdery, white-sand beaches.
One of the best hotels in Panama City Beach, Holiday Inn Resort Panama City Beach is a tropical oasis set on the white sand beaches. In addition to Gulf-front rooms and a variety of on-site restaurants, it boasts a lagoon-style pool with waterfalls, a fountain pool and an over-sized hot tub. Enjoy seasonal entertainment and free kids activities, while families will love Aqualand, a kid-friendly water playground. Its central location means you’re near top attractions such as Pier Park, Gulf World Marine Park and St. Andrews State Park.
After a $15 million dollar transformation, The Island Resort in Fort Walton Beach is better than ever. Along with 600 feet of gorgeous beachfront, guests have access to two on-site pools, a poolside bar and an on-site restaurant. For the best views, choose one of the rooms or suites with balconies that offer Gulf-front views. When you’re ready to explore Okaloosa Island, golf, shopping and dining are just moments away.
One of the most popular beachfront hotels in Pensacola, Portofino Island Resort offers the perfect beach escape, home to two and three-bedroom condos with water views. Twice as wide as a typical beach condo, these family-friendly abodes boast private balconies, full kitchens, outdoor grills and washer/dryers. Each of the towers has its own outdoor pool and whirlpool spa, while added luxuries include private chefs and massage therapists. Explore the on-site restaurants and luxe spa, then hit the beach for water sports and a floating playground.
Set on Pensacola Beach, Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach Gulf Front is located on the tranquil shores of the Gulf of Mexico. All of its cozy rooms boast water views, either of the white sand beach or the Santa Rosa Sound. Cool off at the lazy river, which features cascading waterfalls, hot tubs and poolside fire pits, then sip cocktails or grab a bite to each at Riptides Sports Grill & Beachfront Tiki Bar. Rooms include free Wi-Fi, mini-fridges and flat-screen TVs, while the Quietwater Beach Boardwalk is just a short walk away.
Experience Florida’s beautiful Emerald Coast at Wyndham Garden Fort Walton Beach/Destin Hotel. Located in Fort Walton Beach near Destin’s famous beaches, it offers oceanfront accommodations and easy access to snorkeling, parasailing and jet skiing. Perks of staying here include free loaner bikes, as well as sunbeds and an umbrella. Kids will love the $0.25 arcade games, ping pong and beach toys, while the Crab Island Cafe offers casual dining the whole family can enjoy. Alternatively, adults can enjoy tasty tropical beverages at the poolside Manatee’s Bar & Grill.
Margaritaville Beach Hotel is a family-friendly beachfront hotel in Pensacola Beach. Choose from Gulf Front panoramas to quaint Bayside Waterway views, or upgrade your stay to a Corner King Executive room with a wrap-around balcony. All rooms include mini-fridges, luxurious robes and Keurig coffee makers. Enjoy casual dining at Frank and Lola Love Pensacola Cafe or enjoy snacks, volleyball and a fire pit at LandShark Landing Beach Bar. Enjoy a relaxing massage, rent a beach chair and umbrella or hang out by the outdoor pool and tiki bar.
Four Points by Sheraton Destin-Fort Walton Beach in Fort Walton Beach is steps from the sugar-white sands of Florida’s alluring coastline. Rooms are adorned with ocean-inspired decor and boast private balconies for soaking up the ocean views. Spend your day sandcastle-making, then unwind in the outdoor pool or let the kids loose at the family splash pad. Wrap up your day with succulent steaks and pasta dishes at Dempsey’s Restaurant & Lounge or enjoy light bites and cocktails at the oceanfront Upper Deck Beachside Bar & Grill.
Offering an unbeatable location overlooking Santa Rosa Beach, WaterColor Inn is also a short distance from Seaside and Rosemary Beach. This romantic beach destination is tucked between the Gulf of Mexico and a coastal dune lake, seamlessly blending a laid-back setting with modern perks. Guests have access to amenities through St. Joe Hospitality, including tennis courts and a luxe spa, not to mention there are nearby Gulf-front restaurants with locally-sourced menus. After a long day in the sunshine, kick back on the Adirondack chairs on the patio or balcony of your beachfront room. For panoramic Gulf of Mexico, sunset and sunrise views, upgrade to a lavish suite.
Located on the white sands of Destin’s gorgeous beach, The Henderson boasts bright and airy rooms and suites with sweeping panoramic and sunset views of the Gulf of Mexico. With coastal-inspired hues, rooms feature luxury bedding, minibars and private balconies. For the ultimate relaxation, stay in a Spa Guest Room for a claw foot soaking tub and private spa elevator. Chill out poolside, or visit the private beach for limitless water-based activities. Book a personalized body treatment at the spa, which boasts a Himalayan Salt Suite, then dine on freshly caught seafood at Primrose restaurant.
Hampton Inn & Suites Panama City Beach-Beachfront is an ideal getaway for beach lovers. In addition to a complimentary hot breakfast and free Wi-Fi, the hotel offers an outdoor pool, fitness center and Gulf-front rooms with flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges and coffee makers. It’s also within walking distance of Panama City’s top attractions, less than a mile from the Pier Park shopping and adjacent to Gulf World Marine Park.
You can get away from it all at Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach, which faces the Gulf of Mexico in Fort Walton Beach. The Okaloosa Island hotel boasts an enclosed courtyard with fire pits and a large pool deck as well as a sparkling outdoor pool with a lazy river overlooking the Gulf. Prefer the beach? Rent beach chairs to soak up the sun along the shore. Afterward, fuel up at the full-service restaurant or sip umbrellaed drinks at the Beachfront Tiki Bar. Gulf-view rooms feature private balconies and include mini-fridges, complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and air conditioning.
A beachfront gem in Rosemary Beach, The Pearl boasts old-world European charm. It features sun-drenched turrets and terraces paired with luxury boutique amenities, including a private beach, luxe spa and restaurants with farm-to-table cuisine. Beachfront rooms include high-tech perks like an interactive iPad for dinner reservations, Apple TV and high-speed Wi-Fi. You’ll also have access to amenities through St. Joe Hospitality, including WaterSound Beach Club, championship golf and tennis. Don’t forget your stay also includes complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas.
Consistently rated one of the most luxurious beach hotels in Florida, Henderson Park Inn is an all-inclusive, adults-only getaway in Destin. Nestled along Henderson Beach State Park’s mile of undisturbed beach, you and your loved one can enjoy an extensive list of amenities. Perks include made-to-order breakfasts and picnic-style lunches, as well as complimentary Happy Hour at the tiki bar, beach chairs and umbrellas and bicycles. Beachfront Mini Suites feature whirlpool tubs and Smart TVs, while upgraded Suites add kitchenettes, fireplaces and large balconies. Guests also have access to a resort-style pool, luxe spa and fitness center at sister property The Henderson.