10 things to do in Fort Walton Beach: Exploring Attractions, Delicious Eateries, and More

Ah, Fort Walton Beach, the hidden gem of coastal Florida! With its white sands and emerald-green waters, this little town is a treasure trove of fun and relaxation. Whether you’re a pirate festival enthusiast, a snowbird seeking sunny weather, or just an ocean lover looking for a good time, Fort Walton Beach has got you covered.

I know what you’re thinking – “But won’t it be crowded like other major beaches?” Fear not, my friend! Fort Walton Beach offers all the excitement and adventure without the hassle of big crowds. From oceanfront exploration to golf clubs and museums, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Explore the White Sands of Okaloosa Island

Ah, the glorious beach. An oasis of tranquility, a haven of relaxation, and a playground for adventure seekers. And when it comes to fabulous beaches, Fort Walton Beach has got it all. So, grab your sunscreen and let’s dive into the splendors of Okaloosa Island, where the white sands beckon and the emerald green waters entice.

First things first, Okaloosa Island may be small in size, but it packs a punch in terms of things to do. Whether you’re a beach bum, an angler, or a nature enthusiast, this three-mile stretch of paradise has something for everyone. So, put on your flip-flops and get ready for a day filled with excitement and wonder.

One of the must-visit spots on Okaloosa Island is the renowned Okaloosa Island Pier. This iconic landmark not only offers an exceptional fishing spot but also serves as the perfect vantage point to witness the breathtaking beauty of the Gulf of Mexico. Picture yourself casting a line into the sparkling water, surrounded by the serenity of the ocean. Or perhaps you’d prefer to take in a mesmerizing sunset, painting the sky with hues of orange and pink. The choice is yours, dear reader.

But the delights of Okaloosa Island don’t end there. Take a leisurely stroll along the pristine shoreline, where the soft white sands massage your bare feet. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin as you soak in the picturesque views of the emerald green waters. And keep an eye out for playful dolphins and graceful sea turtles, adding a touch of marine magic to your visit.

Looking for a little adventure? Hop on a paddleboard or kayak and explore the crystal-clear waters at your own pace. Glide along the surface, marveling at the vibrant sea life below. Or, for the ultimate thrill-seekers, dive beneath the waves and discover a whole new world through scuba diving.

Oh, the wonders of Okaloosa Island! From fishing to sunsets, from leisurely strolls to adrenaline-pumping water sports, this little piece of paradise has it all. So, pack your beach bag, strap on your sunglasses, and make your way to the white sands and emerald green waters that await you on Okaloosa Island.

Visit the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Alright, folks, hold onto your snorkels and get ready for a wild adventure at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park! This place is like a marine wonderland that brings out the inner kid in all of us. And let me tell you, it’s worth every penny of that admission fee.

Let’s dive into the main attraction here – the live shows. You won’t believe your eyes when you witness dolphins performing acrobatic maneuvers that would put any Olympic gymnast to shame. These marine athletes know how to make a splash! And if that’s not enough, the sea lions are here to steal the show with their high-spirited personalities. These guys have more sass than a reality TV star. Trust me, you won’t be able to resist their charm.

But wait, there’s more! The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park also offers some incredible programs that allow you to get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. Imagine feeding seals or having a chat with friendly harbor seals. It’s like having your own underwater petting zoo! And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a penguin or two waddling around. Who needs a zoo when you can have all of this excitement in one place?

But here’s a pro tip for you – don’t forget to check out the Stingray Bay Snorkel experience. Picture this, my friends – swimming next to bamboo sharks and meeting some stingrays. It’s like being in your own underwater paradise. And the best part? The water is calm, so even if you’re not a seasoned swimmer, you can still enjoy all the aquatic fun.

So, if you’re looking for a day filled with entertainment, education, and unique experiences, the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is the place to be. Just be prepared to unleash your inner child and make memories that will last a lifetime. Trust me, this is one adventure you don’t want to miss.

Take a Stroll Along the Okaloosa Pier

Now that we’ve explored the thrilling adventures and marine wonders of Okaloosa Island, let’s take a leisurely break and enjoy a stroll along the famous Okaloosa Pier. This 1,262-foot-long pier, formerly known as the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier, offers so much more than just fishing (although the fishing here is top-notch, with catches including blue runner, ladyfish, pompano, redfish, black drum, and many others).

For all you early birds out there, the Okaloosa Pier is the ideal spot to catch a breathtaking sunrise. Imagine the serenity of the early morning, the cool breeze gently caressing your face, and the vibrant hues of the sky painting a picture-perfect moment. It’s simply magical.

But if you’re not quite ready for an early-morning rendezvous with the sun, fear not! You can still enjoy a relaxing stroll to the end of the pier. As you amble along, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the pristine coastline on the other. Keep an eye out for our feathered friends, too—pelicans, seagulls, and herons will gladly accompany you on your walk. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot playful dolphins gracefully gliding through the waves.

Don’t worry about getting tired halfway through your stroll. By the time you reach the end of the Okaloosa Pier and head back to shore, you’ll have covered nearly half a mile. It’s a great way to get some exercise while immersing yourself in the beauty of the surrounding natural landscape.

After your relaxing adventure along the Okaloosa Pier, take a moment to savor the delightful amenities nearby. Treat yourself to a scrumptious sandwich, indulge in some mouthwatering ice cream, or browse through the charming shops for a unique memento of your visit. The Okaloosa Pier truly offers a little something for everyone, whether you’re an avid angler, a morning person chasing sunrises, or simply a lover of picturesque views and tranquil walks.

Dive into History at the Indian Temple Mound Museum

Welcome to the Indian Temple Mound Museum, a place where you can dive deep into the fascinating history of Fort Walton Beach. And no, we don’t mean diving into the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico, although that’s pretty fun too!

Located within the Heritage Park Cultural Center, this unique museum takes you on a journey through the Native American heritage of the region. But what sets it apart from your typical museum? Well, it’s housed in an authentic temple mound replica. Yes, that’s right, a replica of a mound! We like to keep things interesting around here.

You might be wondering, what exactly is a temple mound? Well, picture a 12-foot-high structure made up of shells, mud, and sand. Researchers believe that this mound was once a religious center from 700 to 1500 CE. Pretty impressive, right?

Inside the museum building, you’ll find over 1,000 fascinating artifacts that tell the story of the people who once called this place home over the past 12,000 years. From pottery and tools to intricate stone carvings, you’ll get a detailed look at the rich culture of the indigenous tribes, including the Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole.

But wait, there’s more! The Indian Temple Mound Museum doesn’t stop at just showcasing ancient artifacts. They also have exhibits dedicated to the booty of pirates and interesting items from early European settlers. So whether you’re into history, pirates, or just really cool stuff, this museum has got you covered.

So, the next time you find yourself in Fort Walton Beach, be sure to make a stop at the Indian Temple Mound Museum. Step back in time, explore the fascinating exhibits, and maybe even imagine what it was like to live here all those years ago. Trust us, it’s a museum experience unlike any other.

Embark on a Pirate Adventure with the Billy Bowlegs Festival

Ahoy, mateys! If you’re looking for a swashbuckling good time in Fort Walton Beach, then the Billy Bowlegs Festival is the place to be. This annual event, named after the legendary pirate himself, brings out the inner buccaneer in all of us. So strap on your eye patch, grab your parrot, and get ready to set sail on a pirate adventure like no other!

Here’s what you can expect at the Billy Bowlegs Festival:

  1. Pirate Invasion: The festival kicks off with a bang as the local Krewe of Bowlegs stages an impressive pirate invasion. Watch in awe as the dastardly pirates storm the beach, cannons blazing, to capture the city’s mayor. Don’t worry, it’s all in good fun!
  2. Parades and Floats: Get ready to soak up the festive atmosphere as colorful parades and dazzling floats take over the streets of Fort Walton Beach. Join in the merriment as pirates, mermaids, and other whimsical characters dance their way through town.
  3. Live Entertainment: From lively music performances to entertaining stage shows, the Billy Bowlegs Festival offers non-stop entertainment for all ages. Tap your feet to the rhythm of the sea shanties or laugh out loud at the hilarious comedy acts. There’s never a dull moment!
  4. Treasure Hunt: Ahoy, treasure hunters! Test your skills and luck as you search for hidden treasures scattered throughout the festival grounds. Follow the clues, dig deep, and you might just strike gold!
  5. Food and Drink: A pirate’s gotta eat, right? Indulge in an array of mouthwatering treats from local food vendors. From seafood delights to hearty pirate grub, there’s something to satisfy every craving. And don’t forget to wash it all down with a refreshing grog or two!
  6. Costume Contests: Dressing up as a pirate is not just encouraged, it’s practically mandatory! Show off your best Captain Jack Sparrow impression and enter the costume contests for a chance to win fabulous prizes. Whether you’re a seasoned pirate or a landlubber, there’s a category for everyone.

Relax and Unwind at the Emerald Coast Science Center

Ah, science. The land of beakers, test tubes, and mysteriously colored liquids. But wait, before you start picturing mad scientists and explosions, let us introduce you to a place where science meets relaxation: the Emerald Coast Science Center in Fort Walton Beach.

Picture this: you’re strolling through the center, surrounded by fascinating exhibits that ignite your curiosity and make you feel like a kid again (without the sticky fingers and questionable fashion choices). With 45 hands-on exhibits covering everything from biology to technology, this place is a playground for the scientifically inclined.

But don’t worry, it’s not all serious business. The Emerald Coast Science Center knows how to mix education with entertainment. They’ve got interactive displays, live animals, and even a Sea Turtle Sanctuary. You can learn about physics one minute and ooh and ahh over exotic parrots the next. It’s a wild ride, my friends.

And let’s not forget about the adorable animal ambassadors that call this place home. With over 35 fuzzy, feathery, and flippered friends, how can you resist spending a few hours in their company? From charming sugar gliders to water-loving sea turtles, these ambassadors are here to steal your heart and make you go “awww” – or maybe that’s just the effect they have on us.

Don’t worry about feeling overwhelmed by all the science. The Emerald Coast Science Center provides a self-guided experience, so you can take your time and explore at your own pace. Dive into the world of robotics, marvel at dinosaur fossils, or get lost in the wonders of space exploration. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a budding scientist or just a curious soul looking for a good time.

So, if you’re in Fort Walton Beach and in need of some relaxation and a touch of scientific wonder, make your way to the Emerald Coast Science Center. Trust us, it’s not your typical museum. It’s a place where you can let your inner nerd roam free and your stress melt away. Science and relaxation: a match made in heaven.

Tee Off at One of Fort Walton Beach’s Premier Golf Clubs

Looking to swing into some fun? Well, look no further than Fort Walton Beach’s premier golf clubs. With picturesque courses and challenges for all skill levels, these golf clubs are a hole-in-one when it comes to having a great time.

At the Fort Walton Beach Golf Club, you’ll find not one, but two championship golf courses. That’s right, we’ve got 36 holes just waiting for you to conquer. The Pines Course takes you on a wild ride through upland pines, offering a challenging layout that will test your skills. Meanwhile, the Oaks Course will have you teeing off amidst waterway challenges and narrow fairways, making every swing an adventure.

We know what you’re thinking. “But how much is it going to cost me to play at these top-notch golf courses?” Well, fear not, dear golf enthusiasts, because rates at the Fort Walton Beach Golf Club vary based on the time of day, number of holes, and equipment needed. So, you can find a package that fits your budget.

To get your tee time secured, it’s best to book in advance via their website or give them a call. Because trust us, you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to test your skills and show off your impressive swing.

So grab your clubs, load up the golf cart, and get ready for a day of fun, laughter, and maybe a little bit of frustration. After all, it wouldn’t be golf without a few swear words and lost balls. Fort Walton Beach’s premier golf clubs are waiting for you!

Discover Underwater Wonders at the Air Force Armament Museum

Now that we’ve covered some outdoor activities, let’s dive into something a little different. And by dive, I mean metaphorically, because we’re talking about the Air Force Armament Museum – an underwater wonderland of military history and jaw-dropping artifacts.

Prepare to be amazed and maybe a little starstruck (or should I say “flystruck”?) as you explore the evolution of weaponry from its humble beginnings to the mind-blowing innovations of today. This museum is like a time capsule, taking us on a thrilling journey through the history of Air Force firepower.

With over 29 planes on display, this place is an absolute paradise for aviation fanatics. You’ll have the rare opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the fastest military aircraft in existence. From World War II classics to the sleek and modern marvels of today, these planes will leave you in awe.

But hold on, we’re not done yet! While the planes steal the show, don’t overlook the vast array of exhibits showcasing weapons and other military gear from the 19th and 20th centuries. It’s a chance to witness the evolution of warfare firsthand and gain a deeper understanding of the tools and technologies that have shaped military strategy throughout the ages.

And don’t worry, landlubbers – there’s something for you too! The Marine Exhibit offers a high-seas adventure, exploring how boats stay afloat and the crucial role of radio communications in maritime history. Plus, if you’ve ever wanted to channel your inner archaeologist, you can even get your hands dirty in a dinosaur dig. Who knew skeletons could be so much fun?

But wait, there’s more! After all the excitement, take a breather and meet some of the museum’s live parrots, budgies, cockatiels, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, snakes, and other adorable critters. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature and get acquainted with creatures you may have never seen up close before.

So, whether you’re an aviation aficionado, a history buff, or just looking for a unique and educational experience, the Air Force Armament Museum is an absolute must-visit. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in the captivating world of military history and come face-to-(metaphorical)face with some truly extraordinary artifacts.

Indulge in Fresh Seafood at one of Fort Walton Beach’s Restaurants

Ah, seafood. The mere mention of it makes our taste buds tingle with anticipation. And let me tell you, Fort Walton Beach is a seafood lover’s paradise. With its abundance of local eateries, you can satisfy your cravings for all things seafood, from fresh grilled catch of the day to fusion-style delicacies that will blow your mind.

At these restaurants, it’s all about that Gulfto-table experience. Picture this: You’re sitting beachside with the salty breeze gently caressing your face, while indulging in a plate of succulent shrimp, perfectly seared scallops, or mouthwatering crab legs. It doesn’t get any fresher than this, my friend.

But wait, there’s more! If you’re in the mood for a burger, fear not. Fort Walton Beach has got you covered. Sink your teeth into a juicy beachside burger, loaded with all the fixings you desire. It’s the best of both worlds, because who says you can’t have seafood and a burger in one delicious sitting?

If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, you’re in luck. Some of the local restaurants in Fort Walton Beach boast award-winning craft beer selections that are sure to satisfy even the most discerning beer connoisseur. So, grab a pint, relax, and let the flavors of the sea and the hops transport you to a state of pure bliss.

So, whether you’re a seafood aficionado or just someone who enjoys good food, Fort Walton Beach is the place to be. With its variety of restaurants offering fresh seafood, beachside burgers, and craft beer, your taste buds are in for an unforgettable experience. So, why wait? Take a culinary adventure and indulge in the delectable offerings of Fort Walton Beach.

Now let’s move on to our next exciting activity in Fort Walton Beach.


So there you have it, folks! We’ve taken you on a whirlwind tour of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and we hope you’ve enjoyed the ride. From the stunning beaches to the fascinating history, this little slice of paradise has something for everyone.

We’ve explored the Fort Walton Beach Golf Club, where you can perfect your swing while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. And let’s not forget the Air Force Armament Museum, where you can get up close and personal with some seriously impressive aircraft.

But it’s not just about the attractions. Fort Walton Beach is also a foodie’s dream. With its abundance of local eateries, you can indulge in fresh seafood dishes that will make your taste buds dance with joy. And if you’re in the mood for a juicy beachside burger or a refreshing craft beer, well, you’re in luck!

So whether you’re a history buff, a golf enthusiast, or a food lover, Fort Walton Beach has got you covered. We’ve only scratched the surface of what this amazing destination has to offer, so why not pack your bags and come see for yourself? We promise you won’t be disappointed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Fort Walton Beach known for?

Fort Walton Beach is known for its stunning white-sand beaches, vast historic sites, and an offshore island that’s home to native wildlife. Okaloosa Island, just off the coast, features a Marine Adventure Park with penguins, alligators, and dolphins.

Is the water warm in Fort Walton Beach?

Yes, the water in Fort Walton Beach is warm with temperatures peaking around 28 to 31°C (82 to 88°F) in mid-July. Even throughout the year, water temperatures remain relatively warm, with the lowest temperatures around 16 to 20°C (61 to 68°F) in early February.

Can you smoke on Fort Walton Beach?

No, smoking is not allowed at city-owned parks and beaches in Fort Walton Beach. The city’s council has approved a ban on smoking in these public areas to promote a healthier and cleaner environment for residents and visitors.

Does Fort Walton Beach have a mall?

Yes, Fort Walton Beach is home to the Santa Rosa Mall, which offers a wide variety of stores and hosts numerous events. It’s a great place to indulge in some retail therapy and create memorable experiences while exploring the mall’s unique offerings.

Which is nicer Destin or Fort Walton Beach?

It depends on your preferences. Destin is more dynamic and offers various activities like fishing, snorkeling, and water sports. It has a mix of beach mansions and condos, but limited hotel options. Fort Walton Beach, on the other hand, is quieter and emphasizes natural beauty. It has more hotel options for visitors seeking a peaceful and serene getaway.

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