Destin Florida Juliet and Maria Baradell

Family Vacation – Where to stay in Destin, Florida


As a Venezuelan, I LOVE Destin. It reminds me of the warm Caribbean beaches I grew up around. When I heard that it was a short 11 hours drive from our home in North Texas, I knew we had to take that trip. I want to share with you all the things I have learned in the last 3 years about Destin. In this post, we will be talking specifically about the drive to Destin and where to stay once you get there.

When you have a big family, you keep tight budgets, and when you do that, you pretty much rule out vacations that require flying. When you own your own business, you can’t leave on vacation as often as you would like because you have to be there for your employees. That’s why, for the last 3 years we have taken a big Summer vacation per year, driving all the way to Destin, Florida, where the sand is white and soft like sugar, and the water is blue and green and clean as it can be.

The drive to Destin, Florida

From where we live, the drive to Destin, Florida is a little over 11 hours. We have done it all at once in the past, we just wanted to get to the beach asap and not waste any time getting there, but last year we decided it was too much pressure for us and that we would enjoy the beach and the whole trip more if we got there well rested.

drive to destin florida

If you come from Texas like we did, I recommend you make a stop in New Orleans. It’s a beautiful city, full of history, art, and music. The delicious and traditional beignets are a plus, too.

Where to stay in Destin, Florida

All three times we have gone to Destin we have stayed at condos and here are the reasons why:

1. A big family needs lots of space. We are a big family and we wanted to have 3 rooms, so we parents could have some privacy, and the older kids could be separate from the little kids since they have different bedtimes and we didn’t feel like disrupting their routines for a whole week.

2. Big family = big load of laundry. I could pack bags and bags and bags of clothes, swimsuits, and towels, but then I needed room in the van to carry them and room in the hotel suite to put them. If I had a washer and dryer, which we did in the condos we stayed at, I could run a quick load through the washer and dryer every day and have fresh clothes every day.

3. Big family = lots of food to be eaten. Having a kitchen and an actual dinner table is budget-saving. We love eating out as a family, but can only afford to do it once per day, so we would have breakfasts and dinner at the condo and have lunch at the restaurants around the beach.

4. I wanted to be as close to the beach as possible, so I didn’t need to get the whole family and all our things in the van, drive to get to the beach, unload everyone and everything and then repeat the process when it’s time to leave. Beachfront hotels and condos are expensive, so I knew I had to book one that was not beachfront, but that was close enough for us to walk carrying all of our things.

Keeping all of the above in mind I spent hours upon hours searching online for the perfect, affordable place to stay in while in Destin. I am about to save you lots of time and research by sharing with you the two places we have stayed in, but first I need to tell you about the different beaches around Destin and a word about property rental companies.

Photo courtesy of

In the map above you can see that what we all call Destin is just one part of the whole area. Destin is the closest beach to Texas after Orange Beach, Alabama and Pensacola Beach, Florida. I had heard that Destin could be a little crowded. I have also heard that Watercolor, Seaside, and Seagrove are the most beautiful beach towns, but also more driving and more expensive. That’s why I decided to look in between those 2 areas and decided to look into Miramar Beach. We had so much fun there the first year that we went to the same area the following two years.

I was really nervous about booking through an individual and not getting the support I needed in case something were to happen like the AC breaking or a door locking, etc.  I was also nervous about renting through a rental company I didn’t know about. I recommend you look into the ratings of the rental company and into their policies for cancelations and refunds.

The first time we stayed in Destin, we rented through Southern Vacation Rentals and loved their customer support, so I decided to stick with them for my following two trips to Destin. They have lots of different accommodations all around Destin. I recommend them 100%.

Now let’s talk about their accommodations in Miramar Beach I have stayed in:

Maravilla, “The Village by the Sea.”

Destin Florida Maravilla
Destin, Florida Maravilla condos. Photo courtesy of Southern Rentals

Located on Scenic Highway 98 in Miramar Beach, Maravilla condos by Southern Vacation Rentals include one to three bedroom rentals and exciting community amenities.

We loved our stay there and Souther Vacation Resorts has several condos on the property. The first morning it was raining, but it got sunny the same afternoon. Here is a view from our balcony. The beach is at the end on the right.

You can see the beach a bit better in this picture. Christopher was 9 months old! Such a cutie!

We loved their big pool!

Destin florida pool condo

They have a whole section of the beach just for people staying in those condos. Look at this sugar-like sand!

Destin Florida - White sand

Alerio, newly built condos

Destin Florida Alerio
Destin, Florida Alerio condos. Photo courtesy of Southern Rentals

This condominium is part of a gated community located on popular Scenic Highway 98. It is close to incredible shopping centers, restaurants and popular activities and attractions.

It was really fun to stay in this condo. Everything in it looked new. My kids LOVED their pool and their water fountains

destin florida water fountains

This building also has a section of the beach reserved for people staying at Alerio. The beach is absolutely beautiful! Clean and clear of rocks or seaweed.

Destin florida clean and clear waters

In my next post about Destin, Florida, you can learn more about what and where to eat and what to do in Destin with kids. But now it’s your turn to tell me in the comments what you have heard about Destin or where have you stayed when you have gone there.

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  1. Carolina

    Great tips for traveling with kids! Even with just two children you would find these recommendations useful!! Lovely pictures of you family 😊

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