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Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa Review

I had the chance to travel to South Walton Beach (disclosure: expenses paid) to check out Hilton Sandestin Golf Resort & Spa. This was a little different than my previous travels for the blog because we were able to bring a child! This was such a great idea because I can always travel to different locations by myself and imagine bringing my family there, but it was so much easier to see how family-friendly the resort is with my son there experiencing it for himself.

So, my little man Colton and I were able to take a quick, much-needed vacation. This was the only time Colton has had a little one-on-one time since his siblings arrived. I know that alone time doing something fun is so important for each of the kids to have.

Hilton Sandestin Deluxe Junior Suite

We arrived on the beautiful Hilton grounds and checked into our Deluxe Junior Suite. It was spacious and featured a comfy king bed, sofa sleeper and bunk beds! These bunk beds were in their own little nook, which I think is a big plus. Many of the families I know have more than two kids, so it would be a great idea in the future for Hilton to add rooms with two sets of bunk beds rather than a sofa sleeper. The only drawback about the current sleeping situation is I know we would have some fighting over who gets to sleep in the bunk beds over the sofa sleeper next to mom and dad!

Hilton Sandestin Deluxe Junior Suite Bunk Bed

Hilton Sandestin Balcony View

Each Junior suite comes with a full or partial view of the clear blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The water color and clarity and white sandy beaches is something that surprised me about Fort Walton. I’ve been to Florida before, but I definitely don’t remember the beaches being this bright and beautiful!

Hilton Sandestin Golf Resort & Spa is definitely a family-friendly resort. There were many families of all ages enjoying their vacation time when we were there.

I encourage you to take advantage of Hilton’s kid’s program: Kids Krew and Kids Night Out for kids aged 5-12. I can never fully relax on a family vacation and I bet you other moms know what I’m talking about. Kids Krew allows you to relax on the beach or have a nice date with the hubby.

Colton was a little nervous going by himself to Kids Krew at first, but he quickly warmed up and was having fun with the kids and counselors (I will go into more detail about Kids Krew in a future post).

Hilton Sandestin Beach View

One of three outdoor pools at Hilton Sandestin

Hilton Sandestin Indoor Pool

There are many lounge chairs surrounding the pools, on the decks overlooking the ocean and of course on the beach. When we had free time, Colton enjoyed splitting the day between swimming in the pool and playing on the beach. We didn’t have any room to bring any beach toys so luckily they have pool and beach toys available for purchase that were pretty reasonable.

With three kids (and one who eats as much as an adult), dining at a restaurant for three meals a day every day for vacation is not an option for us. Hilton Sandestin offers several different sit down dining options, but I can imagine our family dining mostly at Barefoot’s Beachside Bar and Grill, Picnix (offering grab-and-go snacks) as well as the coffee shop in the morning for a pastry or fruit. I recommend planning what you will do for meals ahead of time because the price of food for a family will add up quickly.

Hilton Sandestin Gym

For those of you like my husband, a gym on site is a must-have. My husband likes weights and machines and many hotel gyms only offer very basic workout equipment. Hilton Sandestin’s gym is one of the best I’ve seen and I can imagine he would be in here every morning.

Hilton Sandestin

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa is a family-friendly vacation destination with beaches that rival any tropical destination, but is only a short plane ride away for most. There’s an abundance of activities for both parents and and kids and the Kids Krew program lets mom and dad have a night out or a relaxing time on the beach by themselves.

I would love to bring my whole family back and experience a family vacation! Let me know if you decide to go to Hilton Sandestin or what your experience was like if you’ve ever been.

Half Moon Resort is the Ultimate Jamaican Vacation Spot

When I have mentioned that I often get to travel to beautiful vacation spots, people are amazed, but when I add the fact that I usually travel alone, they wonder how it can even be enjoyable without family or friends. Well of course it would be awesome to be able to travel to these spots with my family, but I can tell you I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica. The highlight of that trip was the beautiful Half Moon Resort that is truly the ultimate Jamaican vacation spot.

I am grateful I was able to experience it, even if it was by myself! The view right on the crystal blue water is the best view in Jamaica. You can see how close to the water these accommodations really are. These are royal villas, aptly named because Prince Harry has vacationed in them!

RIGHT on the Jamaican Beach overlooking the crystal blue waters. Prince Harry stayed in these!!

There are smaller accommodations, suites for couples or small families. I could imagine my family staying in one of these with the private beach below, almost like a little lagoon. This photo was taken right off of the back porch. I could totally imagine my kids spending all of their time out there in the water.

View right off of the porch of the Jamaican resort Half Moon.

I stayed in a beautiful and spacious Junior Suite. Several junior suites are connected and share a private pool in the backyard. I wish I knew of Half Moon when searching for honeymoon options! I imagine this to be the perfect honeymoon spot.

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Half Moon is a family-friendly resort. Their children’s village can accommodate children ages 3-12. For younger children, there are nannies on call for hire. The Anancy Children’s Village includes shaded play areas, activity rooms, a wading pool, sand box, and expansive outdoor play area. When I was there, there were also children’s day camps going on.

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Besides the obvious beautiful beach location, I will give you one reason why you need to stay at Half Moon: the food. They offer a daily buffet and menu items to order. Buffets usually aren’t known to be the best of food, but this hands down was the best buffet I have eaten at and even some of the best food period. I can tell you one thing if you stay at Half Moon, you will not be disappointed with the food.

One thing I can appreciate with the food options are the different meal plans available. You can tailor it however it will best suite your family and there are all-inclusive options.

Going to Jamaica? This is the resort with the BEST food.

I had to take advantage of the dessert buffet. The poached pears with white chocolate sauce, pecan tartlet and blueberry cheesecake were delicious.

Desserts: Poached pears with white chocolate sauce, pecan tartlet and blueberry cheesecake.

I say that this is the ultimate Jamaican vacation spot because you literally do not have to leave the resort. Everything you need to have a fun, relaxing vacation is right here. I know I previously mentioned all of the must-do Jamaica activities, but if you are the type of family who doesn’t like to plan too much and want accommodations that has everything at your fingertips, than Half Moon is your place.

There is a spa (which I more than enjoyed). You also have the option to have spa treatments in these cabanas overlooking the ocean. That would be the ultimate to-do on a honeymoon (Can I have a honeymoon re-do?)

A spa cabana overlooking the ocean in Jamaica. I SO want a spa treatment overlooking those crystal blue waters.

Half Moon also offers a fitness center, many swimming pools, an equestrian center for horseback riding, tennis courts, water sports, 18 hole golf course, swimming with dolphins and a super fun family-friendly beach parties.

I hope to go back to Jamaica one day with my family and the one place I would most like to stay is Half Moon. It will be a vacation of a lifetime and if you are here because you are searching for a review while planning a Jamaican vacation — book now!

Dolphins off of Jamaica. Half Moon resort.

I was brought to Jamaica on behalf of the Jamaica Tourist Board.

Bucket List Activities Fulfilled in Jamaica

My time in Jamaica was of course spent at beautiful resorts overlooking the picture-perfect ocean, but the highlight of my Jamaican adventure was definitely the activities. Swimming with dolphins and horseback riding in the ocean can now be checked off of my bucket list. Many people go to Jamaica to lounge on the beautiful beaches and relax, which is of course something I love to do too, but don’t forget to have some adventure!

Bucket List: Swim with Dolphins

When I told my six year old son I was going to Jamaica, he didn’t think much of it until I told him that swimming with dolphins was on the agenda. That was followed by happy screams and pleading to come with.

Next time, bud! 

Bucket List: Swim with Dolphins. They are such beautiful creatures!!

Dolphin Cove was named the number one attraction in the Caribbean and rightfully so. When I am able to bring my whole family back on vacation, Dolphin Cove will be one of the places we make sure to visit because I know memories like these will last a lifetime!

What’s great about Dolphin Cove is there are encounters for all ages. Children five and under are free with a paying adult, which families will appreciate.

Dolphin Cove. You must go!!

IMG_6235 Camels in Jamaica?!

Dolphin Cove offers several different animal encounters besides the dolphins, which can make this an all-day outing. You can ride on a camel, touch stingrays, and play with sharks!

Bucket List: Horseback riding in the ocean!!

Another amazing opportunity was horseback riding. This wasn’t your typical horseback ride; the ocean view combined with riding through lime, mango, and avocado trees was a totally different horseback riding experience. (Much better than the horseback riding I remember at summer camp years ago!) At the end of our excursion we were able to take the horses into the ocean!

Bucket List: Horseback riding in the ocean!

Chukka offers a variety of different excursions for all age ranges including horseback riding, 4×4, zip-lining, atv, dune buggy excursions, and river tubing.

A romantic dinner on the beach. Must do!!

 

This beautiful setting was right after our Island Routes Catamaran cruise. Too bad my husband wasn’t there so we could have a romantic dinner on the beach (another bucket list)! Island Routes offers adults-only as well as family cruises with snorkeling. I know the snorkeling will be a must-do for my kids when we go back.

I had such a wonderful time experiencing Jamaica. The Montego Bay area is a family-friendly vacation spot with flights and accommodations that are much more reasonable than other destinations I have looked into. I can’t wait to go back and experience all of this with my family!