If your goal in visiting Destin is to spend as much quality time on the beach without spending an arm-and-a-leg on decent accommodations, Huntington by the Sea is your kind of place.
This complex is very modest in size, but blessed with a beautiful, generous stretch of white-sand beach. From the back of the complex, it is a mere matter of a few steps down the wooden stairs to reach the beach. One of the best things about Huntington, then, is the spaciousness of the beach in ratio to the number of guests. We walked to or saw a number of adjoining beaches or others in the area, and many were crawling with guests from the June crowds. Not so at Huntington, which you would surmise from its age was built at a time before the Miramar Beach zone boomed and thus was not so prohibitive in acquiring a generous piece of beach frontage.
Huntington also offers value. As noted, it has some years behind it -- I would estimate it was built earlier than 1990 -- but that's not all bad. For one thing, the units are quite large. Unlike more modern trends, there was no obvious effort here to scrimp and salvage every square foot of space available, just to squeeze in one more unit they could sell. Our condo was a generously sized two-bedroom unit. While not readily apparent from the street-side view, most indications we saw supported the idea that updating and modernizing have been a priority for the units as a whole. It is not universal -- the bathroom fixtures in our unit were older, but in decent shape. (The kitchen, though, was of more recent vintage and just great). If you're a traveler who needs modern and gleaming in every aspect of the place you stay, you may not be totally happy here. But if you're value-
minded (and in the current economic conditions, most of us are), Huntington is an excellent option to consider. We were able to stay on a per-night basis (not weekly) in June for about $270 per day.
A couple of other points to mention: the pool and the location. If you're a pool swimmer as opposed to an ocean swimmer, this may not be your top choice. The pool is fine for what it is, which is a modest, rectangular design that again says in its appearance "circa 1985." But it is clean, well-maintained and beach-front, right at the top of the steps leading to the beach. It was the least-elaborate pool at any of the choices we considered, and particularly if you have younger kids used to the current generation of mega-pools with lots of bells and whistles, this pool will seem very tame. Location, on the other hand, is a real strength for Huntington. Besides what has already been said about the beach itself, the Miramar Beach area (several miles to the east of downtown Destin) is quieter and calmer, while still having a ton of choices for dining and other activities. In particular, if you have shoppers in your crew, the huge outlet mall that is a half-mile away is a tremendous perk. After visiting Destin proper several times and also seeing the Sandestin property, we were very pleased with how our choice worked out. In particular for those who are new to Destin or unsure of how to sort through the myriad accommodation options (I was in this category, having only been once before and that was 18 years prior), I would report that a low-rise set-up like Huntington has many advantages over the potentially more opulent but also more bustling high-rise developments.
The ultimate question, of course, is: Would we go back? There's no question we would.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.