Here Are Four Great Places To Enjoy Florida’s Gulf Coast

On a recent road trip along Florida’s gulf coast, I had the chance to experience four separate hotel properties. Starting in historic Panama City, I worked my way along the coast through Panama City Beach and then down to beautiful Walton County. Each spot had its share of unique upsides and fun things to check out nearby.

Here’s a review of each property and some ideas of things you can do in the area surrounding the hotel.

A Review of The Lodge 30A in Santa Rosa Beach

Review of The Lodge 30A

The Lodge 30A is one of the newest properties owned by The St. Joe Company. South Walton’s 30A has become a hotspot for vacations in the last decade and The Lodge 30A places you right in the middle of everything without actually being in the middle of everything.

The hotel sits back a bit off the beaten path within walking distance to a handful of restaurants and local shops. You can rent a bike at YOLO around the corner and explore South Walton’s many unique neighborhoods on a paved bike path adjacent to the county road.

Review of Lodge 30A South Walton
Review of the Lodge 30 A

The Lodge 30A has simple, yet functional guest rooms with a large refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher. Dishes and glasses are provided as well if you want to enjoy any meals in your room. Each room has a love seat with coffee table and a small pull out desk and plenty of storage space for your clothes and luggage. There’s a pool with plenty of seating and gathering spots to hang out as well as a fire pit for cooler weather.

The lounging areas on the main floor are really welcoming and a great place to gather. But the best perk of The Lodge 30A is simply its location. You’re an easy drive or bike ride from many of South Walton’s best spots for a reasonable price.

A Review of Camp Creek Inn in Watersound

Camp Creek Inn Review

If you’re looking for a higher end vacation experience in South Walton, Camp Creek Inn checks all the boxes! Located in Watersound, this private club doubles as an upscale hotel with all the bells and whistles.

Camp Creek Inn features golf, tennis, pickleball, swimming pools, and three separate dining spots. You’ll have access to bikes, a clubhouse, activities, a state of the art fitness center, and best of all – private beach access at the Watersound Beach Club. (Which also features a pool, lazy river, bar, and restaurant!)

The rooms are tastefully decorated and spacious. (Mine had a balcony that looked over the golf course.) The amenities are terrific. But, the major win for this property is without a doubt the customer service.

Review of Camp Creek Inn in Watersound Florida
Camp Creek Inn Watersound

At check-in, you’re given a quick guided tour of the hotel and walked to your guest room. (I’ve literally NEVER had that experience in more than a decade of covering travel.) The servers were attentive and made an effort at memorizing your favorite drinks or dining preferences. The folks holding doors and assisting with luggage were always friendly and smiling. Prior to arrival, a customer service agent reached out to offer me directions and inquire if there was anything special I wanted or needed in my room’s mini fridge. (They have a special suite loaded with complimentary snacks and beverages that you can pop into 24 hours a day, for free!)

The food at Camp Creek Inn was delicious, too! I had the opportunity to try lunch and dinner in the main clubhouse and lunch in the recreation area near the pickleball courts. Nothing was disappointing!

A Review of Embassy Suites in Panama City Beach

When you visit the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Panama City Beach, the first thing you’ll say to yourself is: “This can’t possibly be an Embassy Suites.” While Embassy Suites is a fine hotel chain, the Panama City Beach location is off the charts impressive and nothing like you’d expect.

Located just across from the beach and walking distance from the popular Pier Park, the Embassy Suites by Hilton is an ideal location for exploring the area’s attractions. There are some great hiking trails and plenty of family friendly activities like miniature golf and Gulf World Marine Park. The rooms are spacious and the public gathering areas are well designed and welcoming. The pool area is quite large with a beautiful view of palm trees and the beach just across the way.

The breakfast buffet, included with your stay is incredible. The food was really, really good and not the typical complimentary breakfast you get with chain hotels. The resort also has an on-site restaurant and in-room dining options. The staff was really friendly and everything from valet parking to check-in was seamless.

One other thing – this place is huge! It’s a great spot if you need to book a family reunion or you’re looking for a spot to host an event.

A Review of Hotel Indigo in Panama City

The Hotel Indigo in Panama City is an exciting new property built in an area that was devastated by a hurricane just a few years ago. The building itself is particularly beautiful against the backdrop of the Panama City’s historic Marina District.

The rooms are modern and quite comfortable. The top floor bar is a perfect hangout spot with a nice view of the water and a relaxed setting where you can order food. Speaking of food – the meals at Hotel Indigo in Panama City were incredible! I was so impressed at the quality of the meals and the offerings.

The hotel is really set up nicely with lots of places for friends or families to gather, including fire pits for chilly Florida nights. The lower patio area has big screen televisions and ample comfy seating.

Across the parking lot is an additional restaurant called Harrison’s Kitchen & Bar. With great views of St. Andrew’s Bay, outdoor seating is your best bet on a warm, sunny day. The menu rotates regularly, so there’s always something new and delicious to try out. On my visit, I ordered the Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich – and although definitely spicy, it was great!

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