Perfectly located at the far western end of The Beaches of South Walton, is the mesmerizing, unincorporated town of Miramar Beach. This very affluent community, just east of Destin, was primarily established back in the 1970s by the “early pioneers” of the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Prior to this time, there were only a few private beach homes here on a long, isolated stretch of road that was the old, two lane Highway 98. The site was an ideal setting for the world class resort Sandestin founders wanted to create. They purchased 2,400 acres right in the heart of things, where it was less than a mile from bay to beach. The entire area, (including all of the 4.7 square miles of present day Miramar Beach), is graced by beautiful forest with sparkling natural lagoons, coastal dune lakes and shoreline. The land even came with a little harbor for a marina on the bay where they would one day build the charming Village of Baytowne Wharf. Today, the lavish, world class resort community of Sandestin, comprises multiple beautifully distinct “neighborhoods” spread across four professionally designed golf courses stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to Choctawhatchee Bay. Ocean Reef Resorts has some wonderful vacation rentals on Sandestin! The meticulously landscaped grounds of this gated resort, straddle all the lush acreage from beachfront to bayside with over seven total miles of shoreline. Today's Village of Baytowne Wharf includes a ninety-eight slip marina which is also where the SS Solaris is docked up and available for dinner excursions. (Remember, Ocean Reef Resort guests receive a coupon for one free dinner cruise, when you dine for two!) The village itself has lovely, tropical, Dutch colonial architecture. There are lots of shops and entertainment along a path that loops around a lagoon, bridges over to a village green and then meanders down to a long wharf that juts out into the bay. The wharf provides awesome, views of sunsets across the water and a marina filled with yachts. There is something for everyone here especially when it comes to seafood and music since many eateries include live entertainment. Restaurants and bars in the village include Acme Oyster House, Another Broken Egg Cafe, Bistro Bijoux, Cabo's Paradise Grill, Graffiti & Funky Blues Shack, Hartell's Village Diner, Marlin Grill, Osaka Sushi, Poppy's Seafood, Roberto's Pizza, Rum Runners, and the Smokehouse BBQ. Over on the beach side of Sandestin, there is a “Four Diamond Award” restaurant called Seagars as well as a distinctive looking, family styled eatery called Finz.
A stretch of the Emerald Coast Parkway, (aka Highway 98), has become a boulevard with giant Royal palms marking the spot where Sandestin's Town Center is located on Grand Boulevard. This runs from Applebees and the eastern gate of Sandestin all the way down to Sacred Heart Hospital. Upscale shops, galleries and restaurants abound here. Dining spots include Cantina Laredo's, P F Chang's, Fleming's Steak and Seafood, Johnny Rocket's, Mitchell's Fish Market and a Tommy Bahama's Restaurant.
“Little” Miramar Beach also is the lucky beneficiary of care from The Sacred Heart Hospital of the Emerald Coast. Set back from the highway with twin fountains and rows of giant palms, it looks more like the entrance to a luxury hotel instead of a first class hospital. The fifty-eight patient facility, all with private suites, includes an adjacent Birthing Center and nearby Medical Center complete with an Emergency Helipad. If you have to go to a hospital, this is the one of the best. Recent surveys here said that nine out of ten patients would “definitely recommend this hospital to others.” SHHEC has also received award recognition for being in the top one percent for overall patient satisfaction in hospitals nationwide!
The other part of Miramar Beach includes the beautiful Scenic Gulf Drive, (aka Old 98), which goes along the beach and used to be the original road to Destin until the six lane, Emerald Coast Parkway was completed in 1988. Ocean Reef Resorts offers lots of gorgeous rental property here ranging from luxury, multimillion dollar, beach front mansions to soaring, splendid high-rises and everything in-between! There are lots of places for beach access too, including one at the towering arch that defines the popular Majestic Sun and the Seascape Golf and Beach Resort, (Ocean Reef Resort guests get discounts on golfing here.) There is a Rick's Crab Shack for nearby dining as well as The Whales Tail on the beach for sandwiches or a cold beer. A little further west, there is another sea side park next to Pompano Joe's, a local favorite for seafood and drinks with a colorful, funky beach side ambiance.
If you ever get tired of the beach, bay, all the golf courses, tennis, water sports, restaurants, bars, art galleries, specialized boutiques and sponsored seasonal events that Miramar Beach has to offer, there's always Silver Sands! The Silver Sand's Designer Outlet Shopping Mall is the largest in the entire nation. They offer designer clothing, shoes, leather, crystal, silver, towels, linens, perfume, jewelry, fine soaps, candles, chocolates, and even kitchen ware at discounted prices. The huge variety of designer labels, along with outlet savings, attracts over one million shoppers a year to Silver Sands. You can literally “shop till you drop” here but don't. Have a sandwich or refreshment at a nearby restaurant before you continue shopping! On site eateries include Carrabba's for Italian, Panera's Bread Company for sandwiches, Jimmy Buffet's Cheeseburger In Paradise for burgers and of course Starbuck’s for coffee. Other restaurants in Miramar Beach are located on either side of the Emerald Coast Parkway. These establishments, along with all those previously listed, provide as much choice for dining as you would find in any large metropolis! They include Buster's Oyster Bar and Grill, Fat Clemenza's Italian Restaurant, Giordano's Pizza, Li's Asian Cuisine, Lin's Chinese Restaurant, The Melting Pot Fondu Restaurant, McAllister's Soup and Sandwiches, The Ocean Club, Pig's Alley BBQ, Sushimoto Japanese Restaurant and Vin'tij Wine Boutique and Bistro.
If you feel the need to get away from it all, but still want metro amenities, Miramar Beach is the perfect place to stay. Besides all the golf courses and open space, it is anchored by the Blue Wave Award winning Topsail State Park on the Gulf of Mexico. This ethereal landscape of coastal dune lakes and forest goes all the way from Highway 98 to the Gulf, with more than three miles of pristine beach shoreline alone. Miramar Beach itself is the halfway point between the very active Destin scene and the more laid back, Scenic 30A coastal villages. The location makes this pampered jewel of a town, which has the closest proximity from bay to beach, a popular destination for many of our Ocean Reef Resort guests. In many respects, Miramar Beach truly is the best of both worlds. It's a great place to vacation on the Gulf Coast!