Florida’s Emerald Coast is a stunning region famed for its sugar-soft sands and waters so clear they seem almost surreal. Stretching across miles of pristine coastline, this paradise on earth is a favorite destination for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

But it’s not just about lounging on the beach. With blue skies and ideal weather year-round, taking a break from the surf to enjoy a round of golf on one of the many nearby courses is always a great idea.

Whether you prefer courses close to the heart of the action or those a short, scenic drive away, there are plenty of fantastic options to explore. And really, who can complain about a drive through such picturesque scenery?

Considering a game of golf along Florida’s Emerald Coast? This blog is for you. Below, you’ll find a selection and quick review of some of the best courses in the area.

To all golf enthusiasts — get ready to tee off by the sea and let the coastal breeze guide your swing!


1. Kelly Plantation Golf Club, Destin, FL

Nestled along the scenic Choctawhatchee Bay in Destin, Kelly Plantation Golf Club is a premier golfing destination known for its beautifully manicured greens and stunning coastal views. Designed by Fred Couples and Gene Bates, this public 18-hole course is a favorite among both locals and tourists.

The course offers breathtaking views of the bay, lakes, and lush vegetation. It’s a visual treat that makes every round memorable. With water hazards on almost every hole, strategically placed bunkers, and large undulating greens, the course offers a fair challenge for golfers of all skill levels.

Kelly Plantation caters to both beginners and seasoned golfers. The variety of tees allows players to choose their level of challenge, making it accessible for all skill levels. The club features a state-of-the-art practice facility, a well-stocked pro shop, and a delightful restaurant that’s great for delicious meals with a view. This one is really a top choice for those looking to experience high-quality golf on the Emerald Coast!


2. Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club, Destin, FL

Located in the heart of Destin, Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club is a semi-private award-winning golf course designed by Robert C. Walker. The 18-hole course is set within a beautiful nature preserve, offering a serene and picturesque golfing environment.

The course is surrounded by lush landscapes, natural wetlands, and wildlife. It’s a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life that offers excellent practice facilities, including a driving range, putting greens, and a chipping area. The course is designed to be challenging yet fair for all skill levels.

Beginners can enjoy the forward tees, while more experienced players can take on the back tees for a tougher test. The club provides professional golf instruction for all ages and skill levels, making it a great place for beginners to learn and improve their game. The clubhouse features a gourmet restaurant and a well-stocked pro shop. With the excellent condition of the greens and the top-notch service, this one comes highly recommended for a fantastic day of golf.



3. Baytowne Golf Club, Sandestin, FL

Part of the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Baytowne Golf Club is a must-visit for golf enthusiasts. Designed by Tom Jackson, this 18-hole course offers a unique blend of coastal and inland holes, providing a diverse and exciting golfing experience.

The course features a mix of narrow fairways, challenging water hazards, and spacious greens. Each hole presents a different challenge, keeping golfers engaged throughout their round. The course is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, offering junior tees and golf programs for kids.

Baytowne Golf Club is designed to be enjoyable for all skill levels. The multiple tee boxes allow players to adjust the difficulty to their liking, making it a great choice for families and groups with varied abilities. This one is a popular choice for both casual and serious golfers.


4. Raven Golf Club, Sandestin, FL

Also part of the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Raven Golf Club is a championship course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. Known for hosting professional tournaments, this course offers a challenging and rewarding golfing experience.

The course is set within a beautiful natural landscape, with views of lakes, wetlands, and towering pine trees. It’s a visually stunning place to play golf. It features rolling fairways, large undulating greens, and several water hazards. It’s a true test of golf that will challenge even the most skilled players.

Raven Golf Club has hosted several prestigious tournaments, including PGA Tour events. Playing here gives golfers a chance to walk in the footsteps of the pros. While the course is challenging, the multiple tee options make it accessible for beginners as well.

However, it’s best suited for more experienced golfers looking for a serious test of their skills. The professional and courteous staff usually receive high marks, and many players enjoy the feeling of playing on a tournament-quality course — a must-play for those looking to elevate their game!


5. Indian Bayou Golf & Country Club, Destin, FL

Indian Bayou Golf & Country Club is a hidden gem in Destin, offering a relaxing and enjoyable golfing experience. The semi-private club features 27 holes of championship golf, with three distinct 9-hole courses that can be played in various combinations.

The three 9-hole courses (Creek, Choctaw, and Seminole) allow golfers to mix and match their rounds, providing a new experience each time they play. The course is set within a lush, wooded area, with water features and well-manicured greens. It’s a peaceful and scenic place to enjoy a round of golf.

The club is known for its welcoming and friendly atmosphere. The staff go out of their way to ensure golfers have a great experience. This is another one suitable for golfers of all skill levels. The different course combinations provide varying degrees of difficulty, making it enjoyable for both beginners and advanced players. Overall, it’s a great place for a relaxing and enjoyable round of golf.


Tips to Make the Most of Your Golfing Experience on Florida’s Emerald Coast

Golfing on Florida’s Emerald Coast is a unique experience that combines the sport’s challenge with the region’s stunning coastal beauty. To ensure you get the most out of your golfing adventure, here are a few practical tips to keep in mind.

  • Plan Your Tee Times: Schedule your rounds for early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday heat and enjoy the beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
  • Prepare for the Weather: Bring sun protection like hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen, and stay hydrated by keeping a water bottle handy.
  • Use Course Amenities: Take advantage of the luxurious facilities, such as spas and fine dining restaurants, to relax and unwind after your game.
  • Engage with the Local Golf Community: Book lessons with a local golf pro for insider tips and connect with local golfers for recommendations on the best times to play and hidden gems in the area.

By following these tips, you can enhance your golfing experience and fully enjoy everything that the Emerald Coast has to offer.

Other Great Outdoor Activities Besides Golfing on the Emerald Coast

The Emerald Coast of Florida is a treasure trove of outdoor activities, perfect for enjoying amidst stunning natural beauty. Beyond its fantastic golf courses, the region offers a plethora of adventures for nature enthusiasts and beach lovers alike.

  • Enjoy Beach Bliss: The crown jewel of the Emerald Coast is undoubtedly its pristine beaches. The area boasts miles of sugar-white sand, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, seashell collecting, or simply soaking up the serene coastal vibes. Destin and Miramar Beach are renowned for their beautiful shores, while Grayton Beach State Park offers a more secluded beach experience with its unspoiled natural beauty.
  • Go Paddling: The calm, protected waters along the Emerald Coast make it a kayaker’s paradise. Explore the extensive network of waterways, including Choctawhatchee Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway. During your paddling adventure, you might encounter playful dolphins, majestic birds, and a variety of marine life.
  • Go Fishing: The Emerald Coast is an angler’s haven, offering a diverse range of fishing opportunities. Cast your line inshore for trout, redfish, and flounder. Head a little further out for nearshore fishing, where you might catch Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, and cobia. For the ultimate fishing adventure, venture offshore and battle mahi-mahi, tuna, and sailfish.
  • Delightful Dining: The Emerald Coast offers a delightful culinary scene. Savor fresh, locally sourced seafood at beachfront restaurants. Explore the charming downtown areas of Destin and Fort Walton Beach for hidden gem cafes and bistros serving everything from casual pub fare to upscale international cuisine.
  • Enjoy Your Short-Term Rental: Make the most of your vacation by choosing a rental that offers easy access to all these activities. Look for amenities such as beachfront views, private pools, and outdoor spaces for barbecues or relaxing evenings. This way, you can unwind in comfort after a day of exploring and golfing.

Want more tips to make your trip to the Emerald Coast extra special? Then head to our blog on things to do in the area.  We’ve covered many topics so far, like some interesting and fun facts about the area, a guide to the best restaurants, and a blog on pet-friendly spots. And guess what? There are more amazing blogs coming soon, so stay tuned!


Where to stay on the Emerald Coast during your visit?

Book your stay with Emerald Coast Vacation Rentals. We offer an unmatched selection of vacation rental properties to suit every traveler’s taste. Whether you’re looking for a beachfront condominium, pet-friendly rentals, or a charming beachside cottage, we’ve got it.

Our properties are strategically located, which means you’ll be steps away from idyllic beaches, great dining options, exquisite golf courses, and an array of outdoor pursuits like deep-sea fishing, dolphin tours, and more. That’s the secret to a perfect Emerald Coast Gateway!