Ft. Walton Beach, Florida
Ft. Walton Beach in Florida is one of the laid-back beaches on Florida's Emerald Coast. And when you look at the ocean, you see why it's called that - the water is a beautiful green. This is also a beach with many sides, being great for families, couple, singles, groups...you get the idea.
As is typical of a lot of Panhandle beaches (although certainly not all), Fort Walton is quieter than the beaches on the Altantic side. It doesn't mean it lacks amenities or things to do -- just that there aren't quite the crowds as further down south.
And of course, there is indeed plenty to keep you busy. Obviously, outdoors is big -- swimming, boating, fishing and golfing, to name a few. But there is also plenty of shopping, dining and just plain old relaxing.
Things to Do
One of the interesting things you can do while you are in Fort Walton Beach is to join a dolphin-watching tour. While I haven't been on one of these tours, I have seen dolphins out in the wild, and they are amazing creatures.
Just up the road (or, down the beach) is Destin, which is a great fishing spot. You can find all kinds of charter fishing out into the Gulf of Mexico. What you can catch depends on what time of year you're visiting, but billfish are common. It's a 27 mile run out to the offshore trolling grounds. Closer in you can expect to see grouper, snapper and amberjack, to name a few.
You can also dive and snorkel your way around the waters. Plenty of tours available for both pasttimes. While you won't see coral reefs, you can see sponges, sea whips, shells and fishes of all kinds.
Which brings me to shelling, which is popular as well. The Gulf coast beaches don't see the kind of wave action the Florida Atlantic coast gets, so the shells are more plentiful and usually more intact!
Golfing is big around here. While it doesn't hold the record for number of golf courses, it sure seems that way. And there really are quite a few world-class courses between Destin and Ft. Walton Beach. Regatta Bay is one of the courses; others include Blackstone, Fort Walton Beach Golf Club and Bluewater.
Boating is something fun to do, in the emerald-gree waters. You can find kayaks to rent (or bring your own). Perhaps you'd rather let a motor do the work? You can rent a pontoon boat for a day. Or if you prefer to sit back and watch the world (er, water) go by, join one of the cruises that happen daily. And if you're feeling really adventurous, you might try one of the "pirate" cuises. Anyone want to search for buried treasure?
And of course there are plenty of watersports. You can take a banana boat ride, rent a waverunner or do some parasailing. If you'd like to explore the nearby Blackwater River, you can spend a lazy afternoon tubing or canoeing.
And how can I forget the beach! There are 24 miles of glorious beach in the Ft. Walton Beach area of Florida. One of the unique properties of the sand is that it doesn't get super-hot in the summertime. While it's not exactly cool, it is comfortable enough on those blazing, sunny days. You can bring your own beach blanket and stake out your piece of "beach estate" or rent a chair and umbrella. Swimming is great, and the sand is also fabulous for building castles!
Ft. Walton Beach Weather
One of the nice things about the Florida Panhandle beaches is that they get (almost) four seasons. While Floridians mostly don't go swimming in the winter and early spring, there are plenty of people who do. (How can you tell a Florida native? We don't dip our feet in the ocean until the water hits 78 degrees,LOL.)
Summers are hot, in the upper 80s and 90s in the days, 70s at night. Sunshine is the order of the day, although storms can come by on any given day. It usually passes pretty quickly, though.
Winters can be rather chilly at times; you can see days in the 30s and nights in the 20s, although it's usually a fair amount warmer. Sunshine abounds, though -- expect to see plenty of it, unless a cold front is approaching.
Springs are changable. Mostly warm, they can (and do) swing back and forth between days in the 40s and days in the 80s. Nights are generally in the 50s and 60s, except for early Spring -- then it's possible to see nights in the 30s.
Autumn is nice up here. The days are still warm, as is the water. The nights start cooling off, which makes eating outdoors in the evenings wonderful.
(All of these temperatures are Fahrenheit, by the way.)
Famous Last Words
Fort Walton Beach, Florida is just an all-around nice place to visit. You've got a world-class beach, friendly people and lots to do. Ft. Walton is between Panama City (to the east) and Pensacola (to the west) -- both are easy drives. State Road 98 is the road connecting these cities, and it can be quite a scenic drive at times.
There are lots of Florida State Parks in this neck of the woods (so to speak) and loads of rivers and springs, in addition to the beach. (And if you've never been to a spring, you just have to go to one here.)
So, I hope you've enjoyed reading about this wonderful city and beach here on the Florida Panhandle. Now come on down and visit!Florida Family Beach Vacations
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