Dreaming of white sandy beaches and calm waters for your next vacation with your family? Then the Gulf Coast located on Florida’s panhandle and extending down the western edge of the state might be just the place. Sandestin sits along the panhandle and along the Gulf of Mexico with its moderate temperatures and extended summer. Up and down the coast are many quaint and quirky beach communities with varied amenities and attractions. You just need to decide what you want to do on your trip. Here’s a quick guide to the top 9 locations to find a vacation rental in and around Sandestin.

1. Sandestin

Nestled along the town of Mirmar is the resort community of Sandestin filled with condos on the beach and family homes just a couple of blocks away. The community offers swimming pools, tennis courts, and easy access to the beach. For your family’s golfer, there are four championship golf courses and a putting green to practice your swing. Take the kids to play mini golf and see if you have any future golf pros. Cruise around the area on the tram system that navigates among the various attractions and community access areas.

2. Mirmar

Just next door to Sandestin is the upscale beach community of Mirmar with its luxury condos that come with an assortment of amenities, such as indoor swimming pools and tennis courts. Hire one of the local companies near your vacation rental to set up an umbrella and beach chair for you and your family each morning so you can enjoy the day soaking up the sun while the kids splash in the surf and build sandcastles.

3. Grayton Beach

Relax and unwind in the small beach village of Grayton Beach with its laid back atmosphere and historic beginnings. While away your days with fishing, swimming, kayaking, boating, and picking up seashells on the beach. Take the family out to the Grayton Beach State Park with its 2,000 acres of space to explore. You can hike or bike on the trails that wind their way through the park. You’ll also find each access to pristine white beaches and the sand dunes inside the park limits.

4. Seaside

Close to the Deer Lake State Park sits the charming planned community of Seaside. Once you unpack, fill your days with shopping, eating out with the freshest seafood, biking, and swimming. This community provides pools, beaches, tennis courts, and tree-lined sidewalks for long walks with your family. Hop in the car for the short drive to Deer Lake State Park, where you can see if the fish are biting and hike along the trails exploring this unique habitat and ecosystem. Bring binoculars to get a closer look at birds and their nests.

5. Seacrest

On the other side of Deer Lake Park are the chill beach town of Seacrest with lots of vacation rentals along the beach and more modest offerings a few blocks from the beach. Pass the days fishing and kayaking out on Dune Lake and cook up your catch for a fresh and healthy dinner. Rent bikes for the chance to explore the town, side streets, and cute little boutique shops. Contact Flippers Dolphin Tours and Boat Rentals for a day out on the water that your kids will never forget.

6. Alys Beach

Stay in Alys Beach when you want to experience a luxury beach vacation. This area is a planned beach community with all the upscale elements you want, including community swimming pools, parks, bike trails, and tennis courts. Take the family to the Caliza Pool with its saltwater infinity pool at the center of the location. Snag a cabana for the day and do some laps in the dedicated lap pool. At the end of the day, you and your family can enjoy a meal at the open-air restaurant and bar that overlooks the complex.

7. Rosemary Beach

Rosemary Beach offers your family upscale accommodations for your beach vacation. Visit Camp Helen State Park or Deer Lake State Park for some fishing, kayaking, and boating on a freshwater lake. In this planned community, take sandcastle building lessons to make the most interesting sandscapes on the beach.

8. Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach offers you a quirky beach vacation where you can just kick back or spend an afternoon visiting the local art galleries that feature local artists. This area hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year, including a music festival and a dance festival. Pass the days biking, sunning, splashing in the surf, and reconnecting with your family when you find a vacation rental in this area.

9. Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach is one of the hottest vacation spots on the Gulf Coast, and you might want to avoid this popular destination for college kids over spring break. However, during the summer months this area becomes family friendly with miles of beach front vacation rentals, shopping, locally and nationally owned restaurants. The kids will love Gulf World Marine where they can get up close and personal with a dolphin or hit the pier for an afternoon of fishing. Also popular is the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in a building shaped like a ship.