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Best Beachfront Hotels on Florida Gulf Coast in 2024

Beachfront Hotels Gulf Coast Florida

Have you ever heard the story of a family that booked a beachfront hotel only to discover the beach was the size of a postage stamp, the hotel was next to the local dive bar and the nearest things for a family to do was in the next county?

Don’t be that family or person who didn’t properly plan.

Sadly, most of the major websites like Booking.com, Trip Advisor and Hotels.com want to sell you rooms and attractions. Their offerings are based on advertiser relationships and reviews that aren’t accurate or in some cases are not real. Sales are the way they make their income.

Yes, at Florida Travel Blog if you click on a link OUTSIDE of this article, we do make a small commission if you buy something.

On the other hand, if we list one of the “best beachfront hotels on Florida Gulf coast”, you can be assured it is on an exceptional beach and we will tell you what to expect!

tropical beach setting
Best Family Hotels on the Beach

If you expected the beach on the left and got the beach on the right, read on…

Misleading and Fantasy Hotel Listings

When considering beachfront hotels in Florida, you will see listings for places like Tampa, Key West and even Orlando. We want to be very clear – we love all of those places, but they are not on the beachfront Gulf of Mexico!

Here are some tips from Florida Travel Blog on choosing the right beachfront hotel:

  • Do your research. Use pictures and descriptions to make sure the hotel meets your expectations.
  • How big is the beach? Make sure the hotel is on the beach and have their own beach facilities.
  • Bringing children? Assure the area is safe, rich in activities and many have daily programs for kids.
  • What if it rains? Are there other things to do? Places like Destin, Clearwater Beach, Marco Island and many more have attractions that are nearby.
  • Is there transportation? If you plan on visiting attractions beyond walking distance, research transportation or talk to the hotel concierge.
  • If you want an adult-only experience, check with the hotel to see if they have a wing or other options for adults.

All of the listings of the best beachfront hotels on Florida Gulf Coast will address the things you need to know when choosing a beachfront hotel in Florida.

What is the Gulf Coast of Florida?

Florida actually has two distinct Gulf Coasts. One is in the panhandle of north Florida and the other is on the west side of Florida.

The northern Gulf Coast includes places like Destin, Pensacola, Apalachicola and the beautiful shores along Route 30A with a dozen great beaches.

The west side of Florida has some very famous places like Clearwater Beach, Sarasota, Ft. Myers, Naples, and Marco Island.

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In between north Florida and the west side of Florida, there is an area called the “big bend”. This remote part of Florida is stunning, but there are fewer beaches and much different terrain along the Gulf of Mexico.

The Big Bend area has some attractions to explore, good hotels, and flora and fauna worth seeing, but there are almost no luxury beachfront hotel properties.

The Best Beachfront Hotels of Florida Gulf Coast – North Florida Panhandle

The north Florida Gulf Coast beachfront hotels are stretched along over two hundred miles of coastline. When planning your hotel location distance may be an important factor to consider. We will give you general “nearby” locations.

Here is our list of beachfront hotels in the Florida panhandle:

best beachfront hotels on Florida Gulf coast - Hilton Sandestin
The Hilton Sandestin is perfect for a beachfront vacation.
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

Located in Miramar Beach, the Hilton Sandestin Beach offers a luxurious beachfront experience. With direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, guests can enjoy the sugar-white sand and emerald waters. The resort features multiple pools, a full-service spa, and several dining options. Accommodations range from comfortable rooms to suites with panoramic Gulf views.

This is one of the best beachfront hotels Gulf Coast Florida next to the town of Destin. Good place for children.

Things To Do in Destin Florida

best beachfront hotels on the Gulf Coast of Florida - The Pearl Hotel
The Pearl Hotel Rosemary Beach
The Pearl Hotel 

 Nestled in the charming community of Rosemary Beach, The Pearl Hotel is an elegant boutique hotel with a prime beachfront location. The luxury property offers stylish rooms and suites, many with balconies overlooking the Gulf. Guests can enjoy beach service, a rooftop pool, and fine dining at the Havana Beach Bar & Grill.

We suggest this hotel is best for couples and relaxation. This is a Route 30A Scenic Highway hotel along a long beach corridor.

Things To Do in the Florida Panhandle

best hotels on Florida Gulf Coast - Watercolor Inn
Watercolor Inn Santa Rosa Beach
WaterColor Inn 

Overlooking the Gulf in Santa Rosa Beach, WaterColor Inn is part of the scenic WaterColor community. The inn offers well-appointed rooms with coastal decor, and guests have access to amenities such as multiple pools, a spa, and beach access. The adjacent WaterColor Beach Club enhances the beachfront experience with restaurants and activities.

Adults and children will love the beach here.

best beachfront hotel on the Gulf Coast of Florida _ Hilton Pensacola
One of the fun things to do at the Hilton Pensacola and most other beachfront hotels in Florida is taking a dolphin sightseeing tour.
Pensacola Beach Hilton Resort

With its beachfront location on Pensacola Beach, this hotel provides easy access to the Gulf waters and stunning sunsets. Rooms often feature balconies with panoramic views. The hotel is situated close to popular attractions like the Pensacola Beach Pier and offers a relaxing retreat with modern amenities.

This hotel is a favorite destination for wedding parties. Excellent beach. Ok for children. Westerly most hotel in north Florida. One of the top beachfront hotels Gulf Coast Florida.

Things To Do in Pensacola

best beachfront hotels on Florida Gulf Coast - The Henderson Destin
The Henderson Destin is a great place for couples and weddings.
The Henderson, a Salamander Beach & Spa Resort 

Situated in the heart of Destin, The Henderson is a luxurious resort with a private beach. The resort features elegant rooms, a full-service spa, multiple pools, and dining options. Guests can enjoy direct access to the pristine shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

This is one of our favorite places in Destin. Good children’s programs. Henderson State Park is next door with hiking trails and more amenities.

Get Your Guide to Destin

best hotels Florida Gulf Coast _ beachside resort hotel
Beachside Resort Hotel is an affordable place on the beach if that is your focus.
Beachside Resort Hotel 

Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, Beachside Resort Hotel in Panama City Beach provides beachfront accommodations with a casual and welcoming atmosphere. The hotel features an outdoor pool, hot tub, and a beachfront bar. It’s conveniently located near popular attractions like Pier Park.

We mention this option in Panama City Beach as a more affordable option of our best beachfront hotels Florida Gulf Coast. It is immediately on the beachfront and very near many attractions in Panama City Beach for children.

Things To Do in Panama City Beach

best hotels on Gulf Coast - Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort
Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort is a condominium-like experience for people who want a complete sports and beach experience.
Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort 

This expansive resort in Panama City Beach features a range of accommodations, from hotel rooms to condos, all with Gulf views. Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort offers multiple pools, a golf course, and easy access to the white sands of the Gulf.

Great place for the golfing family. Condo-style accommodations for families.

hotels on west coast florida - Grayton Beach park
Grayton State Park Beach is stunning. The cabins here would be perfect for a family vacation.
Grayton Beach State Park

We must mention this option. Not for the lush accommodations or the high-rise hotel. We are talking about the experience for a family who rents a cabin at Grayton Beach. Everything you can imagine is available including stunning beaches is here. Fishing, kayaking, hiking, bicycling, swimming and more await a family here.

This is Route 30A option among some of the most beautiful scenery in Florida. Bookings are difficult.

The Best Beachfront Hotels on Florida Gulf Coast – South Florida West Coast

The hotels we feature along Florida’s west coast are a mixture of resorts and excellent hotels. The west coastline of Florida we are featuring is from Clearwater Beach to Marco Island.  This 200 miles of the Gulf Coast has hundreds of hotels.

Here is our list of the best beachfront hotels on Florida’s Western Gulf Coast Florida:

best hotels on Gulf Coast - Sandpearl Resort
The Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach offers rooms just steps from the beach. Clearwater Beach can easily be considered one of the top three beaches in Florida.
Sandpearl Resort 

We start with this hotel for two reasons. It is the northernmost one and it is where we live. The Sandpearl is the pearl of Clearwater Beach hotels. There are many others, but the Sandpearl offers a resort-like experience on a private beach in front of the hotel. There are endless things to do for adults and children in Clearwater Beach.

This resort has one of the top restaurants on the beach and features a safe environment for children. Check out our recommended things to do on Clearwater Beach. We live here and think Clearwater Beach is one of the best destinations in Florida.

One of the best beachfront hotels on Florida’s Gulf Coast!

Things To Do in Clearwater Beach

best beachfront hotels on Florida Gulf Coast - Tradewinds Resort
The Tradewinds Hotel complex is one of the largest on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Notice the waterslide kids love!
Tradewinds Resort 

This is actually a collection of hotels around the main building. The Tradewinds offers many children’s programs, several restaurants and an amazing beach experience. There are a wide range of hotel accommodations available. The hotel is along a busy road that includes dining, shopping and other attractions.

This is a favorite of wedding planners, conventions and family reunions. Easily accessible by automobile or Tampa International Airport which is 45 minutes away.

Tradewinds in one of the most popular beachfront hotels in Florida Gulf Coast.

Things To Do in St. Pete Beach Florida

Best Beach Front Hotels on Florida Gulf Coast - Anna Maria Beach Resort
You won’t find high-rise resorts on Anna Maria Island, just good small resorts like Anna Maria Beach Resort.
Anna Maria Beach Resort 

This small resort (31 rooms) is one of many smaller hotels on Anna Maria Island. They do not allow high-rises on the island. This quaint experience is best for adults looking for a relaxing stay at a nice resort with basic amenities. Nearby are colorful shops, restaurants, and attractions based on island living. Not as commercially oriented as other beachfront hotels on Florida’s west coast.

We recommend this small resort for adults. They do take children guests, but activities are limited.

Things To Do on Anna Maria Island

best beach front resorts on Florida Gulf Coast Longboat Key Club Resort
The grounds at Longboat Key Club offers much more than just their beaches.
The Resort at Longboat Key Club 

On a barrier island to Sarasota, the Longboat Key Club can accommodate large families or that couple looking for a weekend retreat. The beach is stunning, but that is just the beginning of the many things to do. Amenities include a golf course, the nearby shops at St. Armands Square. Sarasota is across the bay with many cultural attractions. A marina, extensive tennis facilities and luxury rooms add to the resort’s features.

This resort has multi-bedroom suites that can accommodate a family or group.

best beachfront hotels Florida Gulf Coast - Hyatt Siesta Key
Hyatt Siesta Key offers residence-like rooms for whole families or large groups.
Hyatt Siesta Key 

This is a beautiful condominium resort on Siesta Key that has condominium hotel rentals. You can get up to a 4-bedroom unit for a whole family at reasonable rates. Siesta Key is just across a bridge from Sarasota and has a wide range of attractions and things to do. The island has a quaint area of shops and dining options.

This is a family-oriented resort-like facility. Siesta Key Beach is one of the best-known beaches on the west coast of Florida.

best resort on Florida gulf Coast South Seas Resort
South Sea Resort on Captiva has quite a footprint and plenty of places to roam.
South Seas Resort 

In September 2022, Hurricane Ian devastated most of Sanibel and Captiva Islands. It took South Seas Resort almost a year to get back in operation. Now they say there is a new commitment to guest amenities and service for families. The island has the Pine Island Sound on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. The island is known for its uncrowded beaches, charming shops and superb restaurants. Water sports, fishing, shelling and golf highlight your stay.

An exceptional and safe place for families who want to experience a true island resort. South Seas may be the largest of all the best beachfront hotels on Florida Gulf Coast.

Ritz Carlton Naples
The outside does not convey the total luxury inside the Ritz Carlton Naples.
The Ritz Carlton, Naples

They say it better than we can – “A sun-soaked beach location. Luxury spa treatments inspired by the garden and the sea. Exquisite dining is influenced by the Gulf of Mexico’s bounty. The unique challenge of 36 holes of championship golf. And a sunset that must be experienced to be believed. As a guest of The Ritz-Carlton, Naples – one of Florida’s most glorious beachfront resorts – you’re invited to discover why the setting sun here is just the beginning of many fond new memories.”

This is a true luxury hotel where you are pampered and pleased daily. Great place for a romantic getaway in Florida. One of the best luxury beachfront hotels on Florida Gulf Coast.

Things To Do in Naples

JW Marriott Marco Island
The JW Marriott Resort on Marco Island is even stunning as night falls.
JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort

On an island with numerous beach resorts, the JW Marriott Beach Resort on Marco Island stands out because of its luxurious accommodations and the amenities provided. One wing is dedicated to adults. Yet children will love the gaming floor loaded with fun things to do. You can’t forget the wide Tiger Tail Beach that offers all the pleasures the Florida sunshine can provide. Kane’s Tiki Bar on the beach is one of the best in Florida.

The Marriott is not the most affordable option on the island, but we think their resort is the best overall for pure luxury and family-friendly activities. The JW Marriott is our favorite resort on Florida’s Gulf Coast and it is certainly the best beachfront resort in Marco Island.

Things To Do in Marco Island

Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort
Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort
Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort

We feel compelled to include this more affordable option for a hotel on Marco Island. This family-friendly resort allows everyone to enjoy the multitude of experiences on Marco with less impact on your budget. The resort has a wide beach along Tigertail Beach. You can lounge at a cabana or swill in the Gulf. End your day at one of the many restaurants just across the street. Ocean Prime Steakhouse is exceptional, but more casual options are available.

Marco Island is just a few miles from the Everglades, which every family should encounter. Don’t forget the Marco Island Historical Museum located on the island. The history of the area is captivating.

Budget friendly beachfront resort in Marco Island.

Lowest Airfares to Florida

Tips for Traveling Florida’s Gulf Coast

Traveling along Florida’s Gulf Coast can provide a fantastic experience with its stunning beaches, charming coastal towns, and diverse attractions. Here are some tips for making the most of your trip:

  • Choose the Right Time to Visit:

Florida’s Gulf Coast is enjoyable year-round, but the weather can vary. Winter and spring offer milder temperatures, making it a popular time for visitors.

  • Explore the Beaches

Visit renowned beaches like Siesta Key, Clearwater Beach, and Marco Island. Each offers its unique charm and activities.

  • Water Activities:

Take advantage of the Gulf’s clear waters by engaging in water activities like snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Each Gulf Front hotel can arrange for any of these activities.

  • Wildlife Watching:

The Gulf Coast is rich in wildlife. Look for dolphins, manatees, and various bird species. Consider taking eco-tours or wildlife excursions.

  • Cultural Attractions:

Explore cultural attractions like museums, galleries, and theaters in cities such as Sarasota and St. Petersburg.

  • Visit Historic Towns:

Discover the historical charm of towns like Tarpon Springs, known for its Greek heritage, or Dunedin with its Scottish influence.

  • Sunset Views:

Florida’s Gulf Coast is renowned for its spectacular sunsets. Find a beach or waterfront spot to enjoy the evening views.

sunset st. pete beach
Sunsets on the Gulf Coast of Florida are magnificent. People on the West Coast of Florida get a new picture each evening.
  • Try Local Cuisine:

Savor the local seafood, Cuban cuisine, and regional specialties. Don’t miss out on trying stone crab claws, a Gulf Coast delicacy.

  • National and State Parks:

Explore nature in the coastal parks and reserves. Examples include Honeymoon Island State Park, Everglades National Park, and Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park.

  • Shell Collecting:

Many Gulf Coast beaches are excellent for shell collecting. Sanibel Island, in particular, is famous for its abundance of shells.

  • Bike Trails:

Take advantage of bike trails in coastal areas. Many towns have bike-friendly paths, providing a scenic way to explore.

  • Fishing Opportunities:

The Gulf Coast offers excellent fishing opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, consider a fishing charter or pier fishing.

  • Attend Local Events:

Check for local events, festivals, and markets happening during your visit. Gulf Coast communities often host lively events throughout the year.

  • Stay Hydrated:

Florida’s climate can be warm and humid. Stay hydrated, especially if you’re spending time outdoors.

  • Respect Nature:

Respect local wildlife and follow any guidelines or regulations in place to protect the environment.

Always check for any travel advisories or updates before your trip. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on the beach, outdoor adventures, or cultural experiences, Florida’s Gulf Coast has something for every traveler.

Beaches Packing Checklist

Plan Your Trip for a Memorable Experience

Planning a trip to Florida involves several key steps to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Here’s a guide to help you plan your trip:

  • Define Your Purpose, Interests and exactly what you want to see:

Determine the purpose of your trip (e.g., relaxation, adventure, cultural exploration).

Identify specific interests such as beaches, theme parks, wildlife, or cultural attractions.

  • Select Destinations:Florida Facts

Florida offers diverse destinations. Choose areas based on your interests, whether it’s the beaches of Miami, theme parks in Orlando, or the nature of the Everglades.

  • Create a Budget:

Outline a budget covering accommodation, transportation, activities, meals, and miscellaneous expenses.

Research prices for flights, hotels, and activities to ensure your budget is realistic.

  • Book Flights and Accommodations early:

Search for flights and book them well in advance for better deals.

Choose accommodation based on your preferences (hotels, resorts, vacation rentals) and book early, especially during peak seasons.

  • Plan Your Itinerary:

Create a rough itinerary outlining the activities and attractions you want to experience each day.

Be flexible but have a general plan to make the most of your time.

  • Consider Transportation:

Decide whether you’ll need to rent a car, use public transportation, or rely on rideshare services.

Check if your chosen destinations have good public transportation options.

  • Research Activities and Attractions:

Identify key attractions and activities in each destination.

Check opening hours, admission prices, and any special events or festivals during your visit.

  • Pack Accordingly:

Florida Travel Blog offers a complete post on packing for Florida and what to bring.

  • Learn About Local Customs:

 Familiarize yourself with local customs and etiquette. – Be aware of any specific rules or regulations in place at your destination.

  • Enjoy Your Trip:

Stay flexible and open to new experiences. – Take time to relax and enjoy the journey. Pictures enhance memory and provide a way to share your experience with friends and family. 

Planning ahead will help you make the most of your time in Florida and ensure a memorable vacation.

best florida gulf coast hotels Pensacola Beach Hilton
One of the best beachfront Hotels on Florida Gulf Coast is the Pensacola Beach Hilton.

Last Thoughts on Florida’s Best Gulf Coast Hotels

Florida is a great place for vacations, road trips, romantic getaways and weekend adventures. Unfortunately, many memories have been not so pleasant when you end up in a place you didn’t expect.

All of the hotels we have outlined here are reliable, well-documented and recommended. There should be no surprises that aren’t good ones.

Get packing and enjoy your trip to one of the best beachfront hotels on Florida Gulf Coast – maybe we will see you there!

Check rates here for the best beachfront hotels on Florida Gulf Coast:

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