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Fort Walton is one of the top destinations along the Florida panhandle, offering visitors warm weather, emerald waters, white sandy beaches, and a ton of outdoor activities. There are 16 beach neighborhoods, making it an excellent place for a family vacation if you want easy access to sun and sand. This treasure along the gulf coast is a place that must be experienced from the water. Rent a pontoon, yacht, jet ski, or other watercraft for exploring without spending all your budget on a boat day.
Traveling to Fort Walton Beach with a large group? Rent a spacious pontoon with family and friends for a fun-filled day on the water. A pontoon rental is one of the most affordable boat rental options, with prices starting from $90/hour. You can include watersport equipment like a tube or wakeboard for some added fun. If you get hungry during your boat day in Fort Walton Beach, you can pull up to one of the dockside restaurants with incredible views and grab a bite to eat before cruising back out on the water again.
Cruise in style on a luxury yacht and enjoy the panoramic views of the coastline. Relax as the crew provides you with a fun, safe, and personal experience on the waters of Fort Walton Beach. Enjoy dinner and a sunset cruise on the spacious deck, or admire playful dolphins swimming in the wake of your own personal charter.
No trip to Fort Walton Beach is complete without stopping at a sandbar! Sandbars allow you to anchor your boat in shallow water and enjoy some fun in the sun. Break out your beach chairs, turn up the music, and party with other boaters nearby. Looking for a more relaxing experience? You can sunbathe on the boat deck, enjoy a picnic at sea, or spend quality time in the water with family and friends. We recommend spending the day at Crab Island or the 2nd Sandbar.
One of the #1 experiences for families on vacation in Fort Walton Beach is a dolphin cruise. It’s a magical way to get on the water and interact with marine life while enjoying stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. Go at sunset to see dolphins and the changing colors of the gorgeous sky. Or, book a daytime cruise to spot some dolphins and then anchor at a sandbar for swimming.
There’s no shortage of watersports in Fort Walton Beach. With the emerald waters of the Gulf and extensive beaches, there are many activities to enjoy for kids and adults of all ages and interests. Tubing is a great family-friendly watersport and a surefire way for your kids to have a memorable time on the boat. If tubing isn't your thing, you can cheer your family on from the boat deck.
Renting a jet ski is a fun and fast way to explore Fort Walton Beach. They’re a great option for the adventure seeker looking to spend some time on the water. Interested in trying a new watersport? Book a kiteboarding lesson or e-foil lesson with GetMyBoat. Spend your day on the water learning a new skill with family and friends.
While you can go boating year-round in Fort Walton Beach, it can get a bit chilly during the winter months. We recommend visiting Fort Walton Beach from April - June, and September - November. During this time you can expect fewer crowds than peak summer, and gorgeous weather that won’t be too hot.
Address: 1201 B Miracle Strip Parkway SE
Address: 800 Beach Dr, Destin, FL 32541
A large beach park located on Okaloosa Island. Follow a short dune walk pathway that leads to the Gulf of Mexico and enjoy miles of white sand beaches and emerald waters. Free parking, picnic tables, outdoor showers, restroom, and beachside pavilion - perfect for special occasions.
A great spot for beginner fishermen since you can see the fish in the water as you’re casting. Stroll along the pier and catch memorizing sunrises and sunsets. Spot wildlife swimming around the pier, such as fish, sea turtles, dolphins, and manta rays. Grab some snacks and drinks from the pier shop and enjoy some time on the beach.
For excellent seafood in Fort Walton Beach, look no further than The Shack! The Waterfront Crab Shack offers a casual, outdoor dining experience with gorgeous water views, incredible crab specials, seafood dishes, cocktails, and a family-friendly atmosphere. The service is accommodating, with a welcoming staff and reasonable prices.
Address: 104 Miracle Strip Pkwy SW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
Located right on the pier, Angler’s is another spot to check out for waterfront dining in Fort Walton Beach. Enjoy a wide selection of beers available on tap, a seafood combo basket, and a family-friendly atmosphere. They also have brunch on the weekends - so stop by for a stack of their famous pancakes!
Address: 1030 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
Just off the coast of Destin and Fort Walton Beach are sandbars, and the aptly named “2nd Sandbar” is a snorkelers paradise. Come here to find sand dollars, starfish, and small fish swimming about in the shallow waters around the sandbar. Get here by paddleboard, kayak, or on a boat tour. Don’t forget to bring a mask and snorkel or at least goggles. It is shallow enough to stand up in most of the areas around the sandbar.
This iconic sandbar is one of the most popular summertime attractions in the area. Vacationers and locals in Fort Walton Beach and Destin. It’s too far from shore to swim for the average person, so make sure you rent a boat, charter a yacht, rent some kayaks or a paddleboard, and cruise on over. It’s a family-friendly sandbar, while there are boat parties for young adults, there is plenty to enjoy for families with small children at Crab Island too.
Fishing by boat on a deepsea or offshore charter is a fabulous way to spend time in Fort Walton Beach. Go pole-and-line fishing or try bow fishing, a unique method of fishing in shallow waters around Okaloosa Island and Fort Walton Beach. Daytime bowfishing takes place in Choctawhatchee Bay. Daytime fishing in Fort Walton Beach is the best when the sun is at its peak since it will pierce through the Emerald waters and give you great visibility. Your boat Captain will be in the tower spotting for Rays, Sheepshead, Spadefish, Mullet, and Black Drum.
This marina has a fantastic staff who will help you with any of your boating needs at a fair price. They offer dry storage and wet slips open to the public on a first-come-first-serve basis. There is a fueling station, and a store selling snacks, drinks, and ice.
Address:1198 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
Located on the Santa Rosa Sound, this marina is family-owned and operated. It offers covered slips with lifts, gated security with 24-hour access to your boat, and a fueling station with the best fuel prices in town.
Address: 104 Miracle Strip Pkwy SW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
Adventure Marina is a top-rated boat dealer and marina in Fort Walton Beach. They offer storage and wet slips available. There is a ship store with a bait & tackle shop, and a service & parts department. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you with any boat-related needs while you’re in Fort Walton Beach.
Address: 1201 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
Fort Walton Beach is known for the soft, white sandy beaches and for being a quieter vacation destination. It’s less popular than nearby Destin, offering more affordable accommodation options and less of a party crowd atmosphere. It’s great for older couples or families with young children who want a relaxing vacation without hoards of people on the beaches.
The water and beaches around the Emerald Coast of Florida’s panhandle (where Fort Walton Beach is) are arguably the best in the entire state. They offer incredible swimming and sunbathing conditions, and you’ll definitely want to bring a mask and snorkel to enjoy the high visibility in the waters here.
During the Spring Break season, it’s always busy on all beaches of Florida. If you visit during the low season or one of the shoulder seasons, Fort Walton Beach can be very welcoming and not too crowded. If you visit during Spring Break and want to avoid the hoards of people on the sand - rent a boat during your stay in Fort Walton Beach to cruise around away from the crowds.
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