The Village of Baytowne Wharf is located just east of Destin within the gates of the Sandestin Golf, Tennis and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach. This enchanting village is located on the wooded shores of the Choctawhatchee Bay near the Sandestin Marina. A long wharf juts out into the water which serves as a popular spot to go fishing or catch a dazzling sunset. The village itself is less than ten years old, aptly described as being “Nouveau” New Orleans due to the authentic French colonial architecture and charming surroundings. The Village of Baytowne Wharf however is the family friendly version of the original, almost Disneyesque in appearance, by being picture perfect in every way. A lovely lagoon divides the village into two parts with a couple of arching pedestrian bridges connecting each side. There is a Village Green in the center which has an Events Plaza Stage with free, live music performances on a weekly basis throughout a majority of the year. Visitors and residents often come here to spread their blankets, set up chairs, pull out the picnic baskets and enjoy tribute bands as well as local favorites. Sometimes they even have outdoor movies here as well, projected on a screen from the stage.
This is a popular destination throughout the Summer season since fireworks are a weekly occurrence. Spectacular displays light up the skies here on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Christmas and New Years Eve. These awesome pyrotechnics are usually accompanied by choreographed music which emanates throughout the village.
Baytowne is a virtual feast of diversion for old and young alike. There is a brightly lighted, old fashioned carousel ride for the kids during the warmer months as well as an outdoor ice skating rink during the winter! A Zip Line Tower allows adventurers to soar across the lagoon from about fifty feet up. The tower itself is like an obstacle course with rope bridges and ladders which lead to the jump off point at the top. All participants are safely harnessed throughout this adventure so it's not just for adults. There are also bubble balls, trampolines, an arcade, playground, a rope course and other exciting attractions families will not want to miss.
Adults enjoy the multitude of unique boutiques, bars and restaurants which abound here. Throughout the year there are a number of special festivals which include wine and beer tastings, gumbo contests, art shows, fishing tournaments, tennis tournaments, championship golf gatherings, patriotic performances, costumed Christmas caroling as well as special live concerts. Besides all the fun, the entire village is adorned with lights or seasonal decorations so you always know which holiday you are celebrating! Baytowne is an exclusively pedestrian community so the only motorized vehicle you will ever see on the village streets are golf carts which are only allowed when they have a parade. Two of the best parades occur during Mardi Gras festivities, usually the Sunday before Ash Wednesday as well as “Fat Tuesday” itself. Golf carts are decorated to the hilt and contain revelers in costume attire. On the Sunday beforehand the parade has a pet theme so participants dress their dogs in costume as well. Throngs of revelers also line up along the parade route to catch jeweled beads and candy that are generously thrown.
Fine dining is available at the Marlin Grill, Bistro Bijoux and Poppy's Seafood Factory. The upscale Marlin Grill features “catch of the day” specials, seafood and prime steaks. Some of the tables are outdoors on a raised patio which overlooks the village green. Bistro Bijoux is intimate and romantic, featuring French styled cuisine in a bistro setting with fine wines as well as a cozy fireplace. Poppy's Seafood Factory features abundant choices of seafood including blackened lobster, shrimp, fresh fish and a cornucopia of all of the above in a big combo platter. It is served in a casual setting both indoors and out near the long wharf with spectacular views of the bay.
Other restaurants scattered throughout Baytowne Wharf have something for everyone including Italian, German, Mexican & American cuisine. You can get everything from pizzas to pastas, sushi to steak, bratwurst to burgers and tacos to bar-b-que. Restaurants include Acme Oyster House, Another Broken Egg Cafe, Baytowne Beer Garden, Fat Tuedays Daiquri Bar, Grafitti's and the Funky Blues Shack, Grin-Go's Taco Bar, Hammerheads Bar and Grill, Hartell's Village Diner, Lazy Gecko Deck Bar, Osaka Sushi Rocks, Roberto's Pizzeria, Rum Runners, San Gelato Cafe and The Village Door Restaurant.
If you are looking for drinking, dining and dancing establishments you have some good choices. Live music entertainment is available on the deck outside of Poppy's and Hammerheads.
A favorite spot is John Wehner's Village Door Restaurant and Nightclub which overlooks the Sandestin Marina. Wehners original success came from his Famous Door Nightclub on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. The Village Door is two stories tall with double bars upstairs and down as well as a waterfront, tiki torch lighted outdoor dining deck with good food. The interiors are designed to allow patrons plenty of space to check out other party goers since the dance floor and stage can be seen from a three sided loft above. A large multifaceted disco ball floats above the center of the dance floor providing a psychedelic light show that is particularly effective when high energy dance music is played. Computerized state of the art sound system, light controls and the sub woofers create an electric, choreographed beat. Destin Magazine named The Village Door “The Best Place to Dance” in a Readers Survey and Emerald Coast Magazine readers named it “The Best Place to Go Dancing” for both 2010 and 2011.
Another popular spot is called Rum Runners Dueling Piano Bar & Grill. This amazing place has a distinctively Caribbean atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor cafe style dining. However, if you want to be part of the show be sure to get a table inside. Rum Runners features a full service bar as well as a huge variety of tasty food including beef, chicken, seafood, ribs, sandwiches and burgers. However, the main attraction here are the wonderful interactive musical shows they put on throughout the evening. The most popular of these includes the “dueling pianos” on stage as each performer tries to outdo the other while playing favorite songs. They also do “open microphone” impromptu spots which are a lot of fun as well as classic karaoke.
Ocean Reef Resorts has many Sandestin vacation rentals available for our guests which puts you inside the resort just minutes away from all the delights that the Village of Baytowne Wharf has to offer. Besides all the fun at Baytowne you will find yourself in a paradise that includes four championship golf courses, world class tennis courts, water sports, sparkling white quartz crystal beaches and emerald colored waters. Be sure to check out our pictorial section on this website that shows multiple views of all properties available. It is always our pleasure here to help you find your own special “nouveau” place in paradise.