Margaritaville Beach Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls

The Florida Panhandle is a laid-back, slow-paced and family-friendly beach destination. Miles and miles of white sand; beautiful state parks; historic sites, and great fishing attract millions of visitors every year, from families with kids, to couples, to groups of friends. And all of them are looking for a prime spot to take a dip; here are some of our personal favorites: The first hotel to open under the Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville brand, the Margaritaville Beach Hotel offers a relaxed, tropical atmosphere right on a beautiful stretch of sandy coastline. The hotel's white and blue color palette, wicker furnishings, and palm trees add to the beachy atmosphere, as do the seasonal live entertainment, and a poolside Tiki bar.

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 The Florida Panhandle is a laid-back, slow-paced and family-friendly beach destination. Miles and miles of white sand; beautiful state parks; historic sites, and great fishing attract millions of visitors every year, from families with kids, to couples, to groups of friends. And all of them are looking for a prime spot to take a dip; here are some of our personal favorites:
The first hotel to open under the Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville brand, the Margaritaville Beach Hotel offers a relaxed, tropical atmosphere right on a beautiful stretch of sandy coastline. The hotel's white and blue color palette, wicker furnishings, and palm trees add to the beachy atmosphere, as do the seasonal live entertainment, and a poolside Tiki bar.
The Florida Panhandle is a laid-back, slow-paced and family-friendly beach destination. Miles and miles of white sand; beautiful state parks; historic sites, and great fishing attract millions of visitors every year, from families with kids, to couples, to groups of friends. And all of them are looking for a prime spot to take a dip; here are some of our personal favorites:
The first hotel to open under the Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville brand, the Margaritaville Beach Hotel offers a relaxed, tropical atmosphere right on a beautiful stretch of sandy coastline. The hotel's white and blue color palette, wicker furnishings, and palm trees add to the beachy atmosphere, as do the seasonal live entertainment, and a poolside Tiki bar. As the name hints, the Shores of Panama by Oaseas Resorts sits right on the lovely white sands of Panama City Beach. Each of the 796 rooms offers balconies with beautiful ocean views, a full-size kitchen, and washer/dryer. A huge pool deck features a sprawling free-form pool and tall tropical palm trees, providing a tranquil feel despite the resort's size. There are special activities here for kids including face painting, movie nights, and Rock Band tournaments. Cabana Cay is a bare basics condo-style resort in Panama City. The pool and outdoor spaces are large and attractive, but the view of the Gulf is interrupted by unsightly industrial space and another resort property. Cabana Cay lacks features like a lifeguard and a restaurant or pool bar. The condo scheme means that service is on the scarce side, but units do have full kitchens and washers and dryers. Sterling Beach sits on five acres of manicured Gulf-front land in Panama City Beach. Each of its 92 condos -- some of which can sleep up to 12 people -- are incredibly spacious and outfitted with a kitchen, washer/dryer, free Wi-Fi, and DVD players. While only some units have amazing floor-to-ceiling windows, all have sweeping ocean views. Decor ranges from classic and modern to kitschy and island-themed, all depending on the condo owner. Emerald Beach is one of Panama City's high-rise beach resorts. This condo property shares common spaces with the Wyndham, which is a bit unorthodox, but the pools are big with plenty of lounge space. Condo units have full kitchens, washer/dryers, and dishwashers, but decor can vary wildly as some units are privately owned. The upper floor Sky Bar is a unique feature in the area, offering nightlife including music performances, karaoke night, and football games on TV. The massive Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village is a significant presence in the Destin skyline. It's perched above the shopping, dining, and entertainment destination HarborWalk Village, and offers great views of Destin Harbor. Spacious condos have balconies, full kitchens, and laundry facilities -- attracting families looking for space -- but decor can vary widely between units. Perks include a funky-shaped outdoor pool, well-equipped fitness center, and free Wi-Fi. This Holiday Inn Resort has an oceanfront location in Panama City Beach. There are many amenities here geared towards families, including the large kids' play pool, a game room, and Splash the dolphin mascot running around (and for a fee, even tucking kids into bed). Rooms are fairly typical for a Holiday Inn beach hotel, with fresh bedding, and convenient extras such as full-size fridges and microwaves; the balconies featuring gulf views are perhaps the biggest draw. Beyond attracting families, this hotel also has a reputation for spring breakers. Sterling Resorts' Laketown Wharf is a massive 720-room resort located across the street from the beach. Spacious condos offer big kitchens, 32-inch flat-screen TVs, and washer/dryers, but not all units have ocean views. This sprawling property has five pools -- including a rooftop pool with beautiful views of the beach -- and a charming kiddie pool. Along with a huge lakefront boardwalk, there's also a children's playground, meditation garden, and big fitness center. The Courtyard Sandestin at Grand Boulevard lives up to the Marriott brand's reputation for efficiency and convenience. This 174-room hotel offers a lobby bar, mini market, big outdoor pool, and (average) fitness center. Rooms are spacious, with generous bathrooms, although decor is generally dated and bathroom fixtures are showing their age. Despite some guest complaints about these cosmetic features, rooms do have flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and free Wi-Fi. The location at the edge of another resort means guests have easy access to the Sandestin Resort golf courses, day spa, tennis courts, shopping, and more, and Miramar Beach is a short drive away. Sterling Shores is one of the nicer (and larger) condo resorts in the Destin area. The property has a bit more style than the competition, though the bar isn't especially high. The rooms are bright and airy, and there are two pools at the resort. While all units have a Gulf view, the beach is actually across a small road. With special events for kids and a small movie theater, Sterling Shores is a great choice for families. Sterling Breeze is a towering 23-floor structure by Sterling Resorts that sits on the sandy shores of Panama City Beach. Located only 15 minutes away from the restaurants and retailers of Pier Park, this resort offers 145 condos with full kitchens and washer/dryers, as well as an entertainment center with unlimited DVD rentals. Each unit also has a private balcony with its own electric grill. Condo decor varies significantly; some units are well maintained while others have leaky ceilings and broken appliances.
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