My family and I have taken two vacations to the Tidewater resort condos in Panama City Beach, Florida.
We stayed in a different condo the second time as the first one was not large enough to accommodate the number of people we had. We liked Tidewater enough the first time so we invited more family to come enjoy some sand and sun with us.
Upon arrival at Tidewater you will park in the parking garage, immediately across the road from the condo. You will receive the code for the parking garage from your rental company. There is a catwalk so you will not need to worry with crossing the busy road. HUGE win! The security guard will let you take a luggage cart to assist with your bags, just be prepared to leave your driver’s license. It is possible to unload your car directly in front of the building, but it didn’t really seem like that much more work to do so in the parking garage.
Depending on how you booked your condo will depend on when you may check in, or how you get your key. Many of the condos are privately owned and each owner has their preference in how they check you in. We have experienced it two ways. One condo had a lockbox on the door frame and we were able to get our key out with a code from the owner. We used the key during our stay and replaced the key when we checked out. The other had a keypad on the door and we were able to access it with the code.
At some point in your arrival day you will need to check in with the desk to get a parking pass for your vehicle/vehicles. You will need tag number, make/model, year of cars. You may also get the arm bands that you are instructed to wear during your stay. One of our condos provided this inside our unit for us. We had to pay a convenience fee for the parking passes and arm bands.
Enjoying the Amenities
Tidewater is a large place. The outer doors are coded, so when coming into the building from the beach or pools you will need a code. The codes are provided by your rental company.
There are two pools with hot tubs outdoors. One of the pools has a tiki bar located in the pool area. We found both pools to be clean. They were, of course, more crowded during certain times of day. But we still found plenty of chairs and didn’t feel they were over-crowded. Wonderfully being on separate sides of the building you are more likely to find at least one in the shade during your desired swimming time.
There is an indoor pool with hot tub. I did walk by it a few times and see some families playing inside. We did not use it, but I was so glad to know that if anyone wound up with a sunburn and couldn’t go back outside we didn’t have to stop going to the pool.
There is a game room. You will most likely see it as you pass on your way to the beach. My son and husband played a couple of games and enjoyed it, but honestly as we were experiencing perfect weather we didn’t spend much time here.
The resort has a sauna, a steam room and a fitness room. Some of my family members took part in these and were pretty impressed. I, however, was vacating with a toddler so I was getting plenty of exercise chasing her away from the ocean’s edge.
There is a movie room, and we did see that children’s movies were planned to be showing. We were overwhelmingly wiped out by the time the movie was showing, so we didn’t take part.
Tidewater has a corner market, Flip Flops. They serve Starbucks coffee, Edy’s Ice cream, and carry many beach necessities. Wonderful and convenient when you run out of sunblock and don’t want to have to leave the resort and the fun to keep from turning into a lobster!
Some condo units will come with a beach umbrella and two chairs. If your unit comes with these you will need to sign in with the folks at the booth out on the beach. They will take your name, condo number and notate which chairs and umbrella you will take for the day. During peak times the chairs out front on the water will go fast. We have had a condo with chairs and one without. Carrying your own chairs and umbrella as well as everything else you will need on the beach for the day is mighty cumbersome. Even if your condo doesn’t come with the chairs, it is often available for a fee.
Every unit has a balcony that has a great view of the ocean. I was a huge fan of the large balcony doors. They are very heavy, even difficult to an adult to open… which means your little ones won’t be able to sneak out there without you knowing it. Huge benefit for those of us traveling with little ones.
Most units have a washer and dryer in them. So the opportunity to wash/dry wet bathing suits & towels. And you don’t have to go home with a stitch of dirty laundry (my personal favorite) see my packing post and know I LOVE having a washer and dryer.
Tidewater also has a restaurant on-site and a bar. We didn’t try either, but did have a look at the menu and it looked like something for everyone. Dinner and a view of the beach!
We were happy with the Tidewater location. If you decided not to eat at Tidewater you can have pizza from Marcos or Pizza Hut which are both just across the street. There are several options in walking distance, these were just easy for our large group.
We walked to Pier Park. There isn’t a sidewalk the entire way, but it is a path frequently travelled, so it was still a piece of cake. There are many restaurants and shopping there.
We like to snack while on the beach so we can spend most of the day out in the sand and sun. The Kroger nearby has basically anything you would want, so fill up your fridge and cooler and you may not have to leave to go anywhere else. There is also a WalMart close by with all the adult beverages you could need.
Tidewater is a large place with a lot of visitors, so my first complaint is the same one most other visitors have, the elevators. They take forever. It’s not that they are slow, or that there aren’t several (7 or 8)… there are just a lot of people moving around with a lot of stuff. If you are trying to go somewhere at the same time as everyone else be prepared to wait. Just because those doors open to let you in doesn’t mean there will be any room for you and your stuff.
Also, there is a drainage pipe located near the condo. When it rains, the rainwater will drain from the roads onto the beach leaving it looking less clean. In my mind, I know its just rain run-off, but its just less appealing.
Considering the number of people on the grounds of Tidewater and enjoying the beach it is all very clean. You will certainly run across some trash from time to time… but overall I was impressed with the cleanliness of everything. Also, considering the number of people staying at Tidewater I didn’t notice a lot of noise. Once inside our condo we never heard anyone outside our unit.
The units at Tidewater are owned by many different owners, so the units will be decorated and maintained on different levels. Your housekeeping will also vary. Most will not have daily housekeeping, which meant we had to wash our own towels and take our own trash out. We also had to provide our own toilet paper. It is a minor inconvenience if you are accustomed to staying in hotels, but it doesn’t take away from the magic of a beach vacation. Just remember to bring your Tide and Charmin.
It is very likely our next extended family vacation will be at Tidewater, so hopefully we will see you there.
I am including a video my husband did on our last trip at Tidewater.
Several of our other vacations have videos as well. Check them out:
This review is my opinion. My family and I did not received any compensation of any kind before, during or after our stay at Tidewater.