Oh, Destin. You have stolen my heart.
I have an article all about the food we ate (so much food!) that you can check out here, but let me start with telling you a bit about where we stayed because it was such an AWESOME complex. I know when I’m vacation planning, the first thing I do is read reviews of different condo complexes/resorts/hotels to find out the very best location for my crew.
I was super happy with where we ended up for our first ever trip to Destin, Florida!
First of all, I just want to mention that the Emerald Coast is downright beautiful. I was lucky enough to work with the Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau on this trip. This means that they comped my stay at the Emerald Grande in exchange for me writing about the stay. As always, I’m only sharing my honest opinions with you. 🙂
We stayed in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath (plus bunk room!) condo on the top floor of the Emerald Grande. While the condo itself was gorgeous and the views were breathtaking, the part about this resort that really stood out to me was the location.
The Emerald Grande is located at Harbor Walk Village – a collection of shops and restaurants all along the gorgeous clear waters of Destin, Florida. It was seriously amazing to be able to take the elevator down from our room, walk through the lobby, cross the parking lot, and be standing in the middle of Harbor Walk Village with all of it’s unique restaurants and cute little shops.
This means that when we walked over to Margaritaville and enjoyed happy hour, we didn’t have to worry about driving back to our condo. It also meant that getting another margarita to go (yes, that’s a thing you can do at Margaritaville!) was totally legit, since the most we were about to do was ride an elevator back up to our condo.
Being located at Harbor Walk Village also meant that we could pop downstairs to The Fudgery anytime a sugar craving hit. It hit often, not gonna lie. Those rice krispies treats, though. 😉
Harbor Walk Village is also full of fun stuff for the kids. We were super excited about that, because we did have rain one day.
The kiddos swam in the indoor pool at Emerald Grande (it’s pretty tiny, but it was empty so that was a win!) and then we wandered over to the mirror maze, laser maze, and 7d theater. All three were so fun. I love a good mirror maze, not gonna lie.
The 7d theather had me screaming like a maniac while shooting mummies, so I’m sure that was fun to listen to.
The otudoor pool at the Emerald Grande was gorgeous and there was a bar right there. Winning.
Of course there were plenty of things for the adults to do as well. You could rent boats, take a dolphin cruise, book a fishing trip, rent a jet ski, hit any of the numerous bars, shop for awhile, or just sit and people watch.
Emerald Grande and Harbor Walk Village were pretty perfect for both kids and adults with plenty of things to do to keep both groups entertained and happy.
To get to the beach, you took a boat shuttle over to the Emerald Grande’s private beach. There were plenty of (free) chairs to use and lots of space along the shore to sit back and enjoy the view.
The beach is on the bay, so the water was really calm which was great for little kids. The water was crystal clear and lovely.
We walked about three quarters of a mile down the beach to get to the open water and play in the waves a bit. It was a long walk through the sand, but totally worth it for a little wave action.
I completely get why they call it the Emerald Coast now, by the way. The water is crystal clear with this gorgeous green tint. At one point, I went out as far as I could possible reach on my tip-toes and I could still see my feet through the water. Just beautiful!
Our condo had the perfect amount of space for the four of us. The kitchen was gorgeous, the balconies had beautiful views of both the pool and the ocean, and the master bathroom was simply gorgeous. That walk in shower was a dream.
The extra bunk room meant that no one had to share a bed and that was a total win for all of us!
In past trips to the ocean, I’ve always stayed at condos where you could walk right out onto the beach, so this was a bit different for us. On the one hand, I really missed being able to walk out the door and wander the beach at sunset. On the other hand, the amenities at Harbor Walk Village more than made up for it.
Being able to grab delicious food and drinks without ever getting in the car was a major win for us. Besides, the boat shuttle to the beach was quick and fun for the kiddos.
All in all, I would definitely recommend the Emerald Grande and would be happy to stay there again, both for a trip with kiddos and for an adults only beach trip. We definitely plan to visit Destin again! It’s such a fun little beach town and that water – I just can’t get over how pretty it is.