If you’re going to be shore-bound during this year’s Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, there’s no better place to be than Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.
When the tournament fleet blasts off into the Gulf of Mexico Thursday, June 22, some family members and friends will be left behind. Hardcore big-game fishing is not for everyone, but there are plenty of diversions for all age groups until the boats return and the scales open on Friday and Saturday nights to non-stop excitement.
For starters, two events are slated for Friday morning and mid-day at the Baytowne Marina. A catch and release fishing tournament will test the skills of junior anglers with plenty of opportunities and prizes for those catching fish. At noon, Wind Creek Casino & Resort-Atmore, AL, this year’s presenting sponsor, will host A Taste of Wind Creek, also at the marina. Chef Peter D’Andrea will be whipping up some delicious recipes and attendees will be able to sample the creations. Afterwards, there are several aquatic options available at the marina including light-tackle fishing charters in the bay or inshore. Pontoon boats, wave runners, Yolo standup paddle boards and kayaks are also available for rental. Or if soaking up rays on a beach towel with a good book is your idea of real relaxation, the emerald green waters of the Gulf and sugar-white sands beachside beckon just a few minutes away.
The impeccable grounds of the resort are interlaced with miles of trails for walking, running and biking. There’s no shortage of glistening swimming pools either, to take a refreshing dip.
For those who prefer hitting the links or the courts, Sandestin offers world-class options for both. The property includes four awarding-winning golf courses totaling 72 holes. The Raven (site of the pre-tournament ECBC Golf Scramble), Baytowne and The Links Golf Clubs are open to the public. Burnt Pine Golf Club is a semi-private club for members and resort guests. The courses feature lush greens and fairways and beautiful views of the Gulf and Choctawhatchee Bay. The Sandestin Golf Academy also offers the perfect venue to fine-tune a swing.
Sandestin is a tennis mecca as well. Twelve HydroGrid clay and three hard courts provide plenty of chances for serves and backhand returns. Private lessons are available or the pro shop has all the latest gear.
For kids ages 4-12, Club KZ provides day and evening programs that will keep the youngsters entertained. The Village of Baytowne Wharf is another entertainment option. Amusement rides, free concerts and fireworks highlight the summer schedule. In addition, the complex includes 16 boutique and specialty shops, 11 activity and entertainment venues, plus 20 restaurants and night clubs to satisfy a variety of tastes. Nearby shopping, dining and entertainment choices include the Grand Boulevard and Silver Sands Premium Outlets.
With its full-service marina and amenities, plus the chance for six-figure payouts and fantastic fishing, there are multiple reasons why the ECBC is one of the most popular events on the big-game circuit. With a wide variety of activities, entertainment and leisure options, Sandestin makes staying ashore fun and exciting too.