Fort Walton Beach Outdoor Activities to Try During Family Vacation

Located in the Florida Panhandle region, Fort Walton Beach offers a place for families to play and unwind – without worrying about large crowds. Plus, its central location near Okaloosa Island, Destin and Santa Rosa Island makes it easy to enjoy even more fun attractions. Read on to find the best Fort Walton Beach outdoor activities and plan a beach trip today.

Fort Walton Beach Outdoor Activities to Try With Family and Friends

fort walton fishing trips

Fish, Fish, Fish

Fishing ranks among the top Fort Walton Beach outdoor activities for adventure. The area not only has a popular fishing pier but also welcomes all skill levels to book a charter or surf from the shore. Plus, Destin – located across the bridge – has one of the largest fishing fleets in the U.S.

Area charters offer options for private trips and group excursions that accommodate multiple families. Pricing depends on the trip’s length, and guests will get expert advice of where to fish and what to catch. Top fishing charters in Fort Walton Beach include One Shot, Jack M Up, Blue Water Escapes and Scallywag Charters.

Tour Okaloosa Island

Located next to Fort Walton Beach sits an island perfect for strolling, shopping and dining. The island serves as a barrier between Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, and has plenty of room for everyone to have fun.

The Island Pier, a.k.a. Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier, welcomes anglers to cast a line. Possible catches include Spanish mackerel, whiting and bluefish. Those who don’t have gear can rent rods and buy bait from the tackle shop. Not into fishing? No problem. For a small fee, guests can access the pier to enjoy the scenery and watch wildlife.

Other things to do on Okaloosa Island include visiting the boardwalk, eating fresh seafood and shopping local boutiques.

fort walton outdoor activities dolphins

Watch Dolphins

The Gulf of Mexico provides a home and playground for beloved bottle-nose dolphins. One of the best ways to see them is scheduling a boat tour. Companies offer tours that help guests get up close with marine life. In addition, visitors may customize their experience to also include snorkeling, sailing, high-speed cruising and parasailing.

For more fun, head to Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. This attraction cares for animals and provides hours of entertainment. While visiting, learn about dolphins, otters, penguins, seals, sharks and other animals that live here. Additionally, guests can schedule special encounters for a fee. Visitors love taking pics with stingrays, snakes, turtles, baby gators and sea lions.

fort walton beach outdoor activities family

Visit the Beach

Clean white sand and clear waters greet beach lovers. The Fort Walton Beach and Destin areas offer more than 24 miles of shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors may access the beach via Wayside Park in Okaloosa Island Boardwalk, John Beasley Park, Garniers Beach Park and Fort Walton Beach Landing Park.

To enjoy a day at the beach, bring lounge chairs, towels, umbrellas, sunscreen, a cooler, food and refreshments. Summer temperatures can reach in the 90s, so it is important to stay hydrated and protected. When it’s time for a break, explore downtown Fort Walton Beach. This thriving beach town has museums, art galleries, antique shops, farmers markets, boutiques and restaurants.

Play Golf

Golf also ranks among the top Fort Walton Beach outdoor activities. Players flock to Florida for its mild climate, beautiful scenery and access to hundreds of courses scattered throughout the state.

This area has five pristine courses located less than a 30-minute drive from the city’s center. The closest – Fort Walton Beach Golf Club – features two 18-hole championship courses designed by golf greats. For more options, check out Bluewater Bay and Regatta Bay in Destin and Shalimar Pointe along Choctawhatchee Bay.

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Play at Wild Willy’s

Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone is must for Fort Walton Beach outdoor activities. This fun park has attractions and activities for all ages, and families can play for an affordable price. Cost depends on activities, so visitors don’t pay for activities they don’t use.

At Wild Willy’s, ride go karts and bumper boats. Then gear up for the ropes course, play laser tag and check out video games in the arcade. Visitors also have access to two animatronic mini golf courses. After playing, get tickets to the 4D movie theater and enjoy the show.

Build Sand Castles

Perfect for small groups and families, building sand castles provides hours of fun. Plus, the sand is clean and never gets too hot. While some visitors prefer to build their own, there are professionals who love to help.

Beach Sand Sculptures serves a large section of the Florida panhandle, including nearby Destin. Those staying in Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island may reserve the mobile option, and an expert builder will meet the group at a specified location. Most lessons last two hours and showcase professional sculpting tips and techniques.

Book a vacation rental in Fort Walton Beach and get free admission to many of the top attractions.