Everyone’s heard of Panama City Beach as one of the hot spots for spring breakers, but who knew there was the AAA Four Diamond Sheraton Bay
Point Resort with nary a spring breaker in sight? In
fact, you have to be 25 years old to check in to this
Sheraton along the beautiful and historic St. Andrews
Bay. It also boasts $30 million in recent renovations.
From the modern design of the lobby with its warm
wood floors, comfy chairs and interesting lighting to
the 320 rooms—all has been refreshed.
The view from my room was the St. Andrews Bay,
where I got to see some amazing sunsets each night.
But to give us all a fantastic bird’s-eye view of the
whole area, the hotel treated us to a morning helicopter ride over the bay—after some liquid courage in the
form of a bloody Mary/mimosa bar, that is.
The view from above was spectacular as we soared
over the Panama City beaches with spring breakers now specks from above. After landing we were
whisked off by shuttle to the only Nicklaus-designed
course in northwest Florida for a round of golf. The
Nicklaus Course is set against the backdrop of St. Andrews Bay and a marshland wildlife sanctuary. Panoramic vistas of the bay, marsh and scenic wetlands
abound throughout the golf course. There is also the
6,900-yard Meadows Course. For beginners who
would like to take a lesson, the Golf Academy features
Tony Ruggiero, a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher,
and innovative new Golfboards, kind of like a Segway,
which transport golfers from hole to hole.
After our hard day on the links, we retired to the
Serenity Spa for our complimentary glass of cham-
pagne and a massage. The 12,000-square-foot space,
which has also been newly renovated, boasts a steam
room, sauna, whirlpool and serenity spa lounge. After
the massage, we sat out at the pool right outside the
spa for additional relaxation.
One evening we were treated to a chef’s dinner
with Executive Chef Shane Miller at Tide’s restaurant.
Miller, once on the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen
and Guy’s Grocery Games, served us his signature
gumbo ya-ya, shrimp and grits and the best pimiento
cheese spread I’ve ever tasted. Miller was also wildly
funny and entertaining!
Right on-property guests can rent pontoon boats,
and the nearby marina offers fishing charters and scuba and snorkeling adventures.
We did some stand-up paddleboarding with the
help of the owner of YOLO Board, who gave us a brief
lesson on how to stand up and stay up as we made
our way around the bay. Afterwards, we rewarded
ourselves with a margarita at Pelican’s, an open-air
beach bar at the end of the resort’s pier. There’s also
Hammocks Beach Bar and Flip Flops Pool Bar with
its “no shirt, no shoes, no problem” vibe. Arielle, our
mixologist at Flip Flops, turned out some really fun
cocktails like the Chili Berry Infused Cucumber Lemonade and the Pineapple Strawberry Tropical Mojito.
The next day it was on to Shell Island, a private
beach that only has access by boat. The property’s
exclusive Bay Point Lady offers multiple scheduled
boat trips daily through St. Andrews Bay to the island.
Often escorted by dolphins, guests arrive to the sev-
en-mile stretch of pristine beaches with rolling sand
dunes, untouched by modern development, and enjoy
a beautiful beach getaway without the crowds. The
Bay Point Lady pro-
vides beach umbrellas,
chairs and snorkel
gear for rent as well
as snacks and drinks
for purchase, offering
first-class service on
For meeting groups
there’s more than
60,000 square feet
of indoor and outdoor
and exhibit space
groups from 10 to 750
people. With 22 total
breakout rooms, a
Andrews Ballroom and
8,000-square-foot Grand Lagoon Ballroom, the St.
Andrews Pavilion and beautiful lawn spaces provide
views of the bay for beach barbeques and bonfires
along the sandy shores. m
By Jennifer Juergens
SHERATON BAY POINT RESORT, PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLA.
SHERATON BAY POINT RESORT
More PANAMA CITY BEACH...
EXECUTIVE CHEF SHANE MILLER
HELICOPTER RIDE OVER ST. ANDREWS BAY
STANDUP PADDLEBOARD LESSON
ON the SCENE
FLORIDA’S GULF COAST BY AIR, LAND AND SEA
COCKTAIL AT FLIP FLOPS BAR