Located between Pensacola and Panama City along North Florida’s glittering Gulf Coast, Fort Walton Beach offers visitors its powdery white beaches, emerald waters, enjoyable golf courses, and much more. The small-town atmosphere includes eleven traditional neighborhoods, seven of which are located along the shoreline, and each with their own distinct personality and charm. Fort Walton Beach boasts all the fun of the major vacation spots, minus the fuss. Home to family-friendly resorts and attractions such as parks, museums and aquariums, it’s not just the calm, green waters and cool, white sand that make this northwest Florida destination a family favorite. Visit the area beaches in Fort Walton Beach and along the Emerald Coast. Read thru our Fort Walton Beach Vacation Guide so you can start planning your trip today!
Fort Walton Beach Weather – When to Visit
The best time to visit Fort Walton Beach is between mid-September and October when both spring breakers and family vacationers have departed the city, leaving the beaches, attractions and restaurants devoid of peak season crowds. The weather is still moderate this time of year, and the risk of hurricanes wanes, too. The late fall and winter months of November through February are considered low season, with dropping temperatures and room rates. Heavy crowds of students and families swarm the city and its beaches in peak season’s early spring and summer to take advantage of the prime beach weather.
Fort Walton Beach Attractions
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is dedicated to educating, entertaining, and inspiring their guests to respect and preserve wildlife by providing unique and memorable experiences for visitors of all ages to connect with marine life.
Air Force Armament Museum
The Air Force Armament Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to the collection, preservation and exhibition of artifacts and memorabilia associated with Air Force Armament and its platforms of delivery. There are over 29 different aircraft that have found a home at the Air Force Armament Museum including an AC-130, B-17, B-25, B-52, P-51, A-10, F-15, F-16, F-100, F-101, and many other aircraft from the WWII era to the present.
Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier
Take a stroll down the fishing pier, where sea turtles and dolphins gather as gulls circle overhead. Watch fishermen cast their lines and reel in their catches. Herons hover nearby hoping to snag an easy snack. You can also rent poles and buy fish and tackle. The pier provides your fishing license for everyone who pays the daily fishing fee.
John C Beasley Park
John C Beasley Park is the perfect place to get to know the beaches, Gulf waters, dunes, wildflowers, and wildlife of Okaloosa Island. Overhangs provide shaded picnic spots, while restrooms and freshwater shower heads are available for rinsing off. Short boardwalks, including a handicap ramp, take you to the beach itself, while Indian Blanket and Dune Sunflowers bloom near the parking area. The waters here are emerald green, and can be absolutely calm or provide fun waves, depending on the weather.
Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone
Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone lets you fly like a Pterosaur on a reverse bungee trampoline and climb to the treetops on a 60-foot-high ropes course. The largest family entertainment center in Northwest Florida, it also features a spinning roller coaster, remote-control battle boats, laser maze, 4D movie theater and a 16,000-square-foot arcade with more than 65 of the latest high-tech games.
Things To Do in Fort Walton Beach
Cattywampus Eco Tours
Enjoy unique eco cruises off the shores of beautiful Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island, and Destin aboard the power Cattywampus catamaran. They offer some of the best sights and experiences with our catamaran cruise. Whether you are in Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island, Destin or surrounding areas, the Cattywampus catamaran is the perfect vessel for an unforgettable experience. Telephone: 850-586-0450 Web: Cattywampus Eco Tours.
Fort Walton Beach Parasail
Parasailing is a wonderful way to see the Island and a great way to highlight your vacation experience. Fly high and see the entire area, add a banana boat ride and do a combo, with photo packages available as well. Telephone: 850-438-5555 Web: Fort Walton Beach Parasail.
Destin Airboat Tours
Ride along the shore of Choctawhatchee Bay & Santa Rosa Sound aboard PUC DAT, their Diamondback 15 passenger airboat! Ages 2 thru 11 – $25 Ages 12 & over – $45 Discount Coupons available @ Fudpucker’s. Weather and seas permitting they offer daily departures. Telephone: 850-461-9585 Web: Destin Airboat Tours.
Fuddpuckers Watersports is the perfect place for riders of all levels and ages. Never attempted a water sport? Not to worry! Their mission is to ensure that their customers have a fun day out on the boat, whether it is swimming, inner tubing, or just sun bathing. They are there to make sure that you have to great time out on the water. Telephone: 850-424-7625 Web: Fuddpuckers Watersports.
Best Fort Walton Beach Restaurants
Soi Bistro $11 – 30
The healthy alternative, Soi Bistro features an inventive and traditional mix of sushi paired with the largest selection of sake. Prepared with the freshest ingredients, they offer a dining experience full of creative flavors, combined with a casual relaxed atmosphere. Indulge in their signature rolls or Asian inspired dishes. Telephone: 850-586-7645 Web: Soi Bistro.
Stewby’s Seafood Restaurant $11 – 30
STEWBY’S Seafood Shanty is a small take out and drive thru seafood restaurant in Fort Walton Beach. Offering the most affordable and freshest local seafood. You can eat on their enclosed deck or take it to-go. All their seafood is fresh and locally bought. The fish comes straight of the boats in Destin. Average order time is between 4-6 minutes. So if your in a hurry, don’t worry. They’ll have you on your way in minutes. STEWBY’S also offers a drive thru window for your convenience. Drive thru and take some to go or stop by and order from the walk up window. STEWBY’S is always providing the best quality seafood at the best price! Telephone: 850-586-7001 Web: Stewby’s Seafood Restaurant.
Blue Collar Cafe Under $10
Fresh-baked goods, yummy breakfast (their maple bacon makes life better; trust em) and mouth-watering deli sandwiches! Come try Marc’s famous scratch-made bagels–or even better, get a B.O.B. (Breakfast on a Bagel). A selection of fresh gourmet coffee; beans roasted in-house! Telephone: 850-586-7211 Web: Blue Collar Cafe
Rick’s Crab Trap $11 – 30
They offer fresh seafood straight from the Gulf, as well as other favorites, shipped to us fresh. Add in tasty appetizers, fresh salads, great sandwiches and wraps, plus lots of steamed, fried, and broiled entrees. They have something for every taste. In addition to being a family restaurant, and a full service bar, they also LOVE sports. Every night you will find the game on one of their dozen or more TV’s From NFL, NCAA, MLB , NHL and NBA, to soccer from the world stage, they have the sports you are looking for. Telephone: 850-664-0110 Web: Rick’s Crab Trap.
Old Bay Steamer $11 – 30
Old Bay Steamer is an independent, locally owned and operated seafood restaurant in Fort Walton Beach FL. They opened in 1995 on Okaloosa Island just in time for Hurricane Erin. Shortly thereafter, Hurricane Opal delivered a spectacular smack down. Against all odds and pathetic customer counts, they did not perish. Word of mouth and local support, has been the foundation of their success. The Place for Steamed Seafood in Ft Walton Beach FL : Maine Lobster Tails • King Crab • Snow Crab • Royal Red Shrimp • Clams • Mussels • Oysters. Telephone: 850-664-2795 Web: Old Bay Steamer.
Best Fort Walton Beach Bars & Nightlife
TapWorks specializes in craft beer, craft spirits, and elegant wine. They have 60 beers on tap as well as about 25 bottles. They also have an extensive liquor line up that includes the “norm” plus over 30 small batch craft spirits. Their specialty craft drink menu utilizes some of these unique spirits. Their wine list includes over 15 wines that were handpicked by their staff. Telephone: 850-244-1087 Web: Tapworks
Props Brewery & Grill
Props Brewery is the location where great people come to meet, eat, and drink their amazing hand crafted beer. Take the entire family or just go and hang out with friends to watch their brewery in action or catch the game. They are the center of all things sports and craft beer in Fort Walton Beach. So, go out to watch as they craft these amazing beers and most importantly relax, kick back, and enjoy a craft beer in their pub or outside in their beer garden. Telephone: 850-586-7117 Web: Props Brewery & Grill.
They bring Fort Walton Beach many tastes from local breweries and from across the country. They are the original American craft beer bar in Fort Walton Beach and pride themselves in bringing new and different brews to the local crowds and to you, at a price that is way affordable compared to those other guys. So if you’re looking for rare and exclusive American craft beers available in the local area, they are the guys that have them and if you’re looking for big-name, nationally and internationally marketed commercial beers, they have a few. Telephone: 850-226-8336 Web: Salty Duck.
The Boardroom Pub & Grub
The Boardroom Pub and Grub specializes in craft beer, choice wines, and food no one would expect to come out of their closet of a kitchen. Try the Massive Pork Nachos. They offer 80+ beers, a premier wine selection, and healthy food options all day and night. Telephone: 850-200-4741 Web: The Boardroom Pub & Grub
Rick’s Crab Trap
They offer fresh seafood straight from the Gulf, as well as other favorites, shipped to us fresh. Add in tasty appetizers, fresh salads, great sandwiches and wraps, plus lots of steamed, fried, and broiled entrees. They have something for every taste. In addition to being a family restaurant, and a full service bar, they also LOVE sports. Every night you will find the game on one of our dozen or more TV’s From NFL, NCAA, MLB , NHL and NBA, to soccer from the world stage, they have the sports you are looking for. Telephone: 850-664-0110 Web: Rick’s Crab Trap.
Best Fort Walton Beach Hotels
Town Place Suites Fort Walton Beach
The only mid tier, pet friendly all suite extended stay property with full kitchens located in the Fort Walton/Eglin AFB area offering apartment living with the comfort of hotel amenities, services and breath taking water front views. Minutes away from world renowned sandy beaches , golf courses and within close proximity to various restaurants and shopping.
Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach
This hotel is perfect not just for family vacations, but for romantic getaways, meetings and events, and business travel. We have the best pool in the area with a lazy river, waterfall, and hot tub as well as an an indoor pool, American Grill, pool bar, family suites, supervised children’s activities, ‘Dive-Inn’ movies, interactive pirate and mermaid shows, private beachfront balconies, 24 hour fitness center, 24 hour business center, free WiFi, and free parking.
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Fort Walton Beach
The La Quinta Inn & Suites, Fort Walton Beach awarded 2010 Inn Of The Year and recently named a 2011 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence award winner, is located less than one mile away from beautiful white sandy beaches. The La Quinta Inn & Suites is near plenty of fun activities nearby including water sports, boating, waterparks, fishing excursions shopping outlets and golfing.
Best Western Ft. Walton Beachfront
The Best Western Ft. Walton Beachfront hotel boasts luxurious amenities, on-site entertainment and close proximity to exciting activities. This boutique-style hotel adds a touch of class to the traditional Best Western family-friendly atmosphere. Hotel amenities include an on-site outdoor pool with adjacent cabana bar and meeting facilities. Every guest room is decorated in a stylish art deco design and boasts extras such as free high-speed Internet access, microwave and refrigerator.
Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach
The Hilton Garden Inn Ft. Walton Beach hotel is located on Okaloosa Island, with coastal views. Our warm, inviting guest rooms provide a great base for your beach side vacation. Experience our Lazy river with rock waterfalls, heated indoor pool and a beachfront hot tub. Guests can also enjoy on-site dining at our restaurant and bar.