The Best of Okaloosa Island! Surrounded by Santa Rosa Sound, Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico is breathtaking for visitors of Okaloosa Island. This barrier island between Ft. Walton Beach and Destin is famous for pristine beaches, water sports and awesome family attractions. Come play beach volleyball on sand so clean it squeaks underfoot. Laugh with the sea lions at the world’s oldest, continuously operating live marine show. Land a big one from the 1,261-foot-long fishing pier. Find out for yourself why families return here year after year, generation after generation, to build memories in the sand. Read our Okaloosa Island Travel Guide, and find all information righ here to plan you vacation now. Visit the area beaches on Okaloosa Island and along the Emerald Coast, or visit us on Pinterest Here
Okaloosa Island Weather – When to Visit
The best time to visit Okaloosa Island 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.
Best Okaloosa Island Area Beaches
Okaloosa Island Boardwalk
Spending all day at the beach is easy at the Boardwalk. There’s a pier, picnic areas, restaurants, shops, and even volleyball nets, everything is just a short walk in the sand. Pick up a kite to fly, get some beach toys, shop for some coastal clothes and souvenirs, all at the boardwalk shops. There are also plenty of restaurants on the boardwalk.
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.
Wayside Park is a 40-acre beach park featuring three miles of stunning, striking white sand beaches and an iconic 1,262-foot fishing pier. This beach is a haven for anglers, beach bums, foodies, and families. It’s an expansive beach with soft sand and sweeping views.
Crystal Beach has ivory white sand, emerald to blue waters, and all the amenities you’ll need at the beach. Crystal beach is so tranquil it absolutely feels like a private beach. Right down the road you will find shopping, dining and entertainment.
John Beasley Park
John 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.
Top Okaloosa Island Restaurants
Old Bay Steamer $31 – 60
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.
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 our signature rolls or Asian inspired dishes. Telephone: 850-586-7645 Web: Soi Bistro.
Blue Collar Cafe $Under 10
Fresh-baked goods, yummy breakfast (their maple bacon makes life better; trust us) and mouth-watering deli sandwiches! Go and 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.
Marina Cafe $31 – 50
Take a drive to Destin and head to the wonderful Marina Café. At Destin’s most awarded restaurant, Marina Café, it is all about sensational food, attentive service and breathtaking harbor views from the candlelit dining room that envelopes you in soft colors, and high ceilings. Relax and enjoy their extensive wine collection with over 100 wines that perfectly complement the wonderfully progressive cuisine. With fresh daily seafood selections, USDA prime steaks, pastas, sushi and wood-fired pizzas, there is something for everyone at Marina Café. Telephone: 850-837-7960 Web: Marina Café.
Louisiana Lagniappe $11 – 30
Another great Destin restaurant. In 1984, Louisiana Lagniappe in Destin was opened and established inside Sandpiper Cove condominiums. A loyal following was quickly established, in no small part, to the quality of the food and the attention to detail of the service. Since then, Louisiana Lagniappe has consistently served only the freshest seafood and steaks. The Gulf seafood is prepared with a Creole flair, the attire is casual, yet an upscale waterfront dining experience is provided for the entire family. Telephone: 850-837-0881 Web: Louisiana Lagniappe.
Best Okaloosa Island Bars & Nightlife
Angler’s Beach Side Grill
Delicious seafood, burgers, steaks, and various entrees and appetizers with a beachfront view overlooking the gulf of Mexico! They range from fresh shucked oysters from Apalachicola, fresh caught grouper and mahi- mahi, to well prepared rib eyes and mouth-watering steak filets. Their beach baskets have big portions that are suitable for a king! While you’re there try their signature beach freeze frozen drink (strawberry daiquiri, pina colada, blue raspberry – all mixed into one drink!) maybe a margarita or a delicious Bloody Mary. They have quite the assortment of beers on tap ranging from your regular domestics to their local brews. Telephone: 850-796-0260 Web: Angler’s Beach Side Grill.
The Crab Trap
The Crab Trap is the perfect place to begin or end your day at the beach. Serving local favorites such as Hot Crab Dip, Seafood Gumbo, and daily specials ranging from Grilled Sirloin to Alaskan Crab Legs, The Crab Trap has something for everyone. The kids will love the special menu designed just for them. Telephone: 850-301-0959 Web: The Crab Trap.
They offer their patrons a variety of experiences – a restaurant, a wine bar, beach dining, a summer-time Tiki Beach Bar, deep water and beach docking plus live music on Thursdays and special events. Telephone: 850-664-0035 Web: Giovanni’s One89.
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 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.
McGuire’s Irish Pub
McGuire’s Irish Pub first opened in 1977 as a small neighborhood pub in a shopping center. In 1982 McGuire’s moved to its current location; Pensacola’s original 1927 Old Firehouse. Inside the pub you’ll find a turn-of-the-century, New York Irish Saloon themed 615-seat restaurant. Telephone: 850-650-0000 Web: McGuire’s Irish Pub.
Best Okaloosa Island Area Hotels