Fort Walton Beach is part of the Panhandle of Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico. This is a popular vacation destination for many because of the beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal clear emerald waters of the gulf. These stunning waters have led this area to be known as the “Emerald Coast.” Fort Walton was inhabited for centuries by the Choctaw and Creek Native American Tribes. The city’s name, “Fort Walton” comes from a military fort stationed in the area as part of the nation’s defense during the Civil War.
Since Fort Walton is located in the Sunshine State, you can expect a sub-tropical climate complete with steamy hot summers and mild winters. If you want to swim in the ocean, the best time to visit is during the Summer and Fall, but Fort Walton is a beautiful destination year-round as well. Fort Walton Beach is a popular place for those looking to enjoy natural coastal beauty and an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy. Stunning beaches, delicious local restaurants, and historical landmarks are some of the things you can expect to experience during your getaway to the Florida Panhandle. Here are the best things to do in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
- Fort Walton Beach, Florida
- Top Tours
- Things To Do In Fort Walton Beach
- 1- Relax On The Beautiful Beaches
- 2- Learn About The Animals At The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
- 3- Stroll Along The Okaloosa Island Pier
- 4- Visit The Air Force Armament Museum
- 5- Go Fishing At Choctawhatchee Bay
- 6- Charter A Boat Out To Crab Island
- 7- Discover The City’s History At Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum
- 8- Play A Game Of Golf At Fort Walton Beach Golf Club
- 9- Experience The Emerald Coast Science Center
- 10- Get A Taste At A Seafood Restaurant
- 11- Go Shopping At Uptown Station
- 12- Go Parasailing And Enjoy The Best Gulf Coast Views
- 13- Attend An Event At The Fort Walton Beach Landing Park
- 14- Have A Smashing Time At Get Smash’d
- 15- Kayak Or Paddleboard Through The Bay’s Calm Waters
- 16- Explore The Indian Temple Mound Museum
- 17- Go Scuba Diving Or Snorkeling
- 18- Take Your Furry Friend To Liza Jackson Park
- 19- Enjoy Family Fun At Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone
- 20- Have The Ride Of Your Life On The Water Beast
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Things To Do In Fort Walton Beach
1- Relax On The Beautiful Beaches
The Florida Panhandle is filled with beaches that will take your breath away with their beauty.
You may think that you’ve been whisked away to a tropical island such as Fiji, but these beautiful coastlines are hidden right in the Sunshine State.
Staying in Fort Walton Beach means you will be in close proximity to plenty of public beach accesses such as Okaloosa Island Beach, Princess Beach, and Eglin Matterhorn Beach Access.
Whether you are looking for a beach near restaurants and activities, a beach park surrounded by nature trails, or a secluded section of powdery white sand to sink your toes into, you are sure to find your preference here.
- Princess Beach is at Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Destin, FL 32541.
- Okaloosa Island Beach is at 399 Santa Rosa Blvd, Okaloosa Island, FL 32548.
- Garniers Beach Park is at 257 Beachview Dr. NE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547.
- Recommended tour: Half Day Pontoon Boat Rental- Fort Walton Beach
2- Learn About The Animals At The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is easily one of the top attractions in the area.
This marine park has been providing unforgettable animal experiences to its visitors since 1955.
Learn about Fort Walton’s ecosystems and native species through interactive exhibits and shows featuring dolphins, sea lions, sharks, turtles, and other marine creatures.
General Admission starts at $29.95 and grants you access to the shows, exhibits, and informational information.
The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
You can even book special events or group tours.
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is at 1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
3- Stroll Along The Okaloosa Island Pier
The Okaloosa Island Pier is situated in Fort Walton Beach and stretches 1,262 feet (384 m) into the Gulf of Mexico.
This offers the perfect spot to get panoramic views of the clear waters.
You can stroll the pier, spot wildlife such as birds, and even cast a few fishing lines amongst the local anglers.
The Pier has a bait and tackle shop, a beachfront restaurant and a covered pavilion for shade.
The Okaloosa Island Pier is open daily from 5 am to 9 pm.
An Observers/Walking Pass starts at just $2.00. Prices range for fishing based on equipment rental.
The Okaloosa Island Pier is at 1450 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
4- Visit The Air Force Armament Museum
If someone in your travel party is a fan of history and aviation, look no further than the Air Force Armament Museum.
Located near the Eglin Air Force Base, this museum lets you get a closer look at aircraft, weaponry, and military artifacts.
Some aircraft at the facility include bombers, fighters, helicopters, and the SR-71 Blackbird, which is the fastest aircraft ever built.
Admission to the Air Force Armament Museum is free, making this a great budget-friendly activity.
You can visit every day from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm.
The Air Force Armament Museum is at 100 Museum Dr, Eglin AFB, FL 32542.
5- Go Fishing At Choctawhatchee Bay
Locals and visitors from all over visit Fort Walton Beach to enjoy fishing in the Choctawhatchee Bay.
The scenic bay is known for great catches, including speckled trout, redfish, flounder, and sheepshead.
The unique ecosystem of the bay makes it a liveable habitat for both saltwater and freshwater species.
If you bring your own boat, there are many boat launches along the coast of the bay.
You can also check out the fishing charters in the area such as Destin Inshore Guides or Fishing Just B Cause.
Choctawhatchee Bay is at 47 Bay Dr. SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
6- Charter A Boat Out To Crab Island
Speaking of chartering a boat, if you are interested in an activity that’s a little more exciting than fishing, sail over to Crab Island.
This famous sand bar is located off the coast of Okaloosa Island near the Destin Bridge and is only accessible by boat.
Crab Island is one of the best party spots in the area, with boats gathered around for drinks, food, watersport rentals, and anything else you can imagine.
It’s only too easy to spend an entire day soaking in the fun of Crab Island.
For more information, you can visit the Crab Island Information Center or inquire with one of the many chartering companies.
Emerald Coast Island Excursions is at 1284 Marler Ave, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
Crab Island Journeys is at 54 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
Recommended: Crab Island Charter and Bar
7- Discover The City’s History At Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum
Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum is located within the Heritage Park & Cultural Center along with the Indian Temple Mound Museum, Garnier Post Office, and the Civil War Exhibits.
The historic two-room structure was used as a schoolhouse for the children of Camp Walton from 1911 to the mid-1930s.
The Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday ( 10.30 am to 2 pm).
Admission is just $5 and includes your admission to the Indian Temple Mound Museum as well.
Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum is at 127 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
8- Play A Game Of Golf At Fort Walton Beach Golf Club
Fort Walton Beach Golf Club is a city-owned, public golf course that is perfect for golfers of all skill levels.
The club features two championship golf courses with 36 holes in total.
The Pines Course is a challenging layout through upland pines, while the Oaks Course is lined with waterway challenges and narrow fairways.
Rates to golf at Fort Walton Beach Golf Club vary based on the time of day, number of holes, and equipment needed.
It is best to book your tee time in advance via their website or by phone.
Fort Walton Beach Golf Club is at 1955 Lewis Turner Blvd, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547.
9- Experience The Emerald Coast Science Center
This engaging, educational center is the perfect place to spend the afternoon with the kids.
The Emerald Coast Science Center provides a hands-on experience to its visitors through interesting STEM-based exhibits including futuristic robots, new technology advances, and animal encounters.
The Emerald Coast Science Center is $12 per person for General Admission.
The museum is open from 10 am to 3 pm Wednesday through Saturday.
The Emerald Coast Science Center is at 31 Memorial Pkwy SW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
10- Get A Taste At A Seafood Restaurant
The best part of going on vacation is getting a taste of the local delicacies in each region.
With Fort Walton Beach being a coastal community, there’s an abundance of fresh seafood around every corner and many of these establishments are locally owned and operated.
Some of our favorites are The Gulf on Okaloosa Island, AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, The Crab Trap, and Hightide Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar.
Tantalize your taste buds with delicious daily specials right from the Gulf of Mexico.
The Gulf on Okaloosa Island is at 1284 Marler Ave, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
Hightide Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar is at 1203 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
11- Go Shopping At Uptown Station
This bustling shopping and entertainment center is the top spot for spending a little extra cash in Fort Walton Beach.
At Uptown Station, you can find a variety of your favorite stores including Daisy Day Brands, Rainbow, and Ulta Beauty.
Fun Fact: Uptown Station is also home to Florida’s tallest flagpole, proudly displaying the American Flag at 170 feet (51 m).
Uptown Station is open daily from 9:30 am to 10 pm.
Uptown Station is at 99 Eglin Pkwy NE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
12- Go Parasailing And Enjoy The Best Gulf Coast Views
Parasailing is a popular water activity that allows you to soar high over the ocean and enjoy the best views that Fort Walton Beach has to offer.
Many operators offer single, tandem and triple rides, which makes it a great activity whether you are parasailing solo or with a group.
Fort Walton Beach Parasail is at 1325 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
13- Attend An Event At The Fort Walton Beach Landing Park
Fort Walton Beach Landing Park, often called “The Landing,” by locals, is a scenic waterfront park located on the bayside of Fort Walton Beach.
The park is a beautiful blend of the city’s culture and recreation with art installations, playgrounds, walking paths, and open green spaces.
The Fort Walton Landing Park also brings the community together with its seasonal special events.
You can commonly find concerts, seminars, meet ups, and runs.
Check the calendar of events to see what is going on at The Landing during your visit.
The Fort Walton Beach Landing Park is at 139 Brooks St SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547.
14- Have A Smashing Time At Get Smash’d
Have you ever wanted to just smash something to pieces? Get Smash’d is a super fun place that allows you to live out your raging fantasies without having to deal with the clean up.
The best part is, Get Smash’d will customize your experience to fit your rage.
You can book a solo or group room for smashing or painting.
Experiences range in price depending on what type of rage room you are booking.
All sessions come with protective clothing.
Get Smash’d is at 30 Eglin Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
15- Kayak Or Paddleboard Through The Bay’s Calm Waters
You can paddleboard and kayak in so many spots in Fort Walton Beach.
Some paddlers enjoy the ocean waters, while others enjoy the calmer waters of the Bay.
Paddling in the Bay allows you to explore unique coastal environments such ashidden coves, mangrove tunnels, and scenic waterways.
Several outfitters and rental shops in Fort Walton Beach provide paddleboards and kayaks for rent, prices will vary based on convenience and amount of time for your rental.
Recommended tour: Clear Kayak Adventure in Fort Walton Beach
16- Explore The Indian Temple Mound Museum
This unique museum is something you will only find in Fort Walton Beach.
The Indian Temple Mound Museum dives into the Native American heritage of the region, which includes the Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole tribes.
What makes this museum unique is that it is housed in an authentic temple mound replica.
The museum is located within the Heritage Park & Cultural Center and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10.30 am to 2 pm. Admission is just $5.
The Indian Temple Mound Museum is at 139 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
17- Go Scuba Diving Or Snorkeling
The Gulf of Mexico is one of the top spots in Florida to go snorkeling and scuba diving.
The crystal clear waters provide the perfect atmosphere to see various species of fish, shells, sting rays, and sea turtles.
If you have your own gear, you are free to snorkel and scuba on any beach in the area.
Some of our favorite spots are Norriego Point, the Destin jetties, Henderson Beach State Park, and John C. Beasley Park.
If you didn’t bring any gear, check out one of the many rental companies in the city or even along the beaches.
18- Take Your Furry Friend To Liza Jackson Park
Liza Jackson Park is a great spot for recreation.
Spanning 70 acres along the tranquil shores of Cinco Bayou, the park has tons of amenities including walking trails, a picnic pavilion, restrooms, playgrounds, and a boat ramp.
You will often find locals using the amenities, paddling and kayaking in the bay, or searching for wildlife.
One of our favorite parts of Liza Jackson Park is the fact that it is dog-friendly.
If your pup loves the beach, you can enjoy the sandy shores and crisp waters with Fido by your side.
Liza Jackson Park is at 338 Miracle Strip Pkwy SW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
19- Enjoy Family Fun At Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone
If you want to escape the Florida heat for some indoor fun, head to Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone.
Located just near the Okaloosa Island Pier, the family fun center features all kinds of activities including a multi-level indoor mini-golf course, arcade, go-kart tracks, a ropes course, bumper boats, and a 4D movie experience.
Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone lets you choose your adventure with varying prices for each activity.
If you want to experience all the park has to offer, you can opt for one of the park packages such as the Indoor Willy Package, Outdoor Wild Package, or the Around Wild Willy’s Package.
Hours of the park vary based on the day of the week and activity, so be sure to check the website before arriving.
Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone is at 1306 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
20- Have The Ride Of Your Life On The Water Beast
The Water Beast is a boating adventure like no other.
Sure, you could go on a relaxing fishing charter or a romantic slow-sailing cruise, but Water Beast brings the thrill into the ocean with 360-degree spins and top speeds of 60 MPH.
The Water Beast can be tamed for the moderate rider and excited for the ultimate thrill seeker.
Reservations for the Water Beast are required.
For more information on booking and pricing, you can call their office any day of the week from 12 to 4 pm.
The Water Beast is at 54 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32458.
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