Have you ever thought family trips create lasting bonds, fostering communication and shared memories? These trips provide a break from routine, promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
Family trips instill values like teamwork, adaptability, and appreciation for nature, creating a foundation for a strong, connected family unit. So if you’re planning to take your family on for a relaxing outing, Fort Walton Beach can be your best designated destination.
Nestled along the pristine Gulf Coast of Florida, Fort Walton Beach boasts a captivating history that seamlessly blends with its modern charm, making it a premier destination for families seeking sun-soaked adventures.
Originally inhabited by Native American tribes, the region witnessed Spanish explorers and later became a vital military outpost during the Civil War. However, it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that Fort Walton Beach truly emerged as a tourism hotspot, providing many fun things to do in Fort Walton Beach with family.
The sugar-white sand beaches and emerald waters became irresistible draws for vacationer,s where families, in particular, find solace in the city’s welcoming atmosphere and an array of family-friendly activities.
Fort Walton Beach is famed for its numerous attractions catering to all ages, including The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park that provides an immersive marine experience, showcasing dolphins, sea lions, and exotic marine life.
Moreover, the city’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty is evident in places like John Beasley Park, where families can enjoy picnics and playtime against the backdrop of breathtaking sunsets.
In Fort Walton Beach, the fusion of history, natural splendor, and family-centric activities creates an enchanting tapestry that continues to beckon generations of visitors, making it a cherished haven for family vacations along the enchanting shores of the Gulf.
Therefore, you should surprise your family members and take them to Fort Walton Beach to provide them with the best of time!
1) Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park was founded by J.B. “Brandy” Siebenaler, a marine researcher in 1955 that aimed to display marine life in a unique way. It was incorporated by fifteen scientists at the University of Miami and fifty local residents.
In 2015, the C.A.R.E. Center was developed as a non-profit to facilitate and further the park’s coastal conservation efforts, focusing on marine animal rescue and rehabilitation, including the rehabilitation and release of various species of sea turtles found in the Coast.
This fascinating part features dolphin and sea lion shows, daily animal chats, and captivating exhibits, providing endless animal encounter opportunities.
The dolphin and sea lion presentations occur daily, and visitors can also enjoy scheduled chats by a variety of animal exhibits making it a beloved place for fun things to do in Fort Walton Beach with family.
If you or any of your family members feel hungry, the park’s snack bar is reasonably priced to keep your hunger down and there are nearby attractions such as Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone, Okaloosa Fishing Pier, and John Beasley Park for visitors to enjoy.
1010 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548, United States
2) Okaloosa Island Pier
The original Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier was built in 1972 and extended 962 feet with an octagon installed at the end of the pier to increase the fishing area. The pier is known for catching large Tarpon, King Mackerel, Cobia, Black Fin Tuna, Red Drum, Bonito, and Jack.
The base of the pier houses a tackle shop and offers ice, sodas, beer, snacks, ice cream, and sandwiches for visitors so they can enjoy their day without being hungry. The pier also provides breathtaking views of sunrises and sunsets, and visitors can enjoy watching marine life, including dolphins, sea turtles, herons, and pelicans.
Moreover, adjacent to it is The Boardwalk, which offers dining, shopping, and entertainment options that provides opportunities for up-close encounters with marine animals such as dolphins, sharks, and penguins.
For entertainment and fun things to do in Fort Walton Beach with family, Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone on Okaloosa Island also offers arcade games, a laser maze, a 4D theater, mini-golf, a ropes course, and a reverse bungee jump.
Visitors can also enjoy sandcastle lessons, explore the Indian Temple Mound and Museum, and relax at John Beasley Park, which features dune walkovers, pavilions, and picnic tables making it an enjoyable destination for families and individuals.
Okaloosa Island, FL 32548, United States
3) John Beasley Park
John Beasley Park, established in 1979 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, bears the name of John Beasley, a prominent local figure.
Originally a lumberyard in the early 20th century, the site transformed into a public park, offering recreational spaces and amenities specifically for families providing fun things to do in Fort Walton Beach with family.
Its proximity to the Choctawhatchee Bay adds a scenic element to the park, attracting residents and visitors that boasts a variety of facilities and amenities, making it a versatile destination for recreation.
The park features well-maintained playgrounds, basketball courts and open fields for games and activities with picnic areas equipped with tables and grills for families to gather for outdoor meals and celebrations.
With its blend of recreational options, from sports facilities to waterfront activities and community events, John Beasley Park caters to diverse interests.
Whether you’re seeking an active day outdoors, a serene escape into nature, or a communal space for events, this place can provide you with a well-rounded experience for your whole family.
1550 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548, United States
4) Crab Island
Crab Island, also known as Pulau Ketam was originally a fishing village that thrived due to its strategic. Chinese settlers established the island, and its name, meaning “Crab Island,” reflects the abundant crabs found in the area.
Over the years, Crab Island evolved into a bustling community with stilt houses, fishing activities, and a unique lifestyle. In the 20th century, modernization brought changes to the island, improving infrastructure and transforming it into a tourist destination.
Today, it offers many fun things to do in Fort Walton Beach with family with vibrant local markets, where fresh seafood and unique crafts are abundant. The island also boasts picturesque stilt houses, providing an authentic glimpse into the local way of life.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Crab Island provides opportunities for boat rides, fishing excursions, and water activities. The surrounding waters are teeming with marine life, making it a great spot for snorkeling or diving.
For those seeking relaxation, Crab Island provides cozy accommodations with seaside views, creating a tranquil atmosphere offering a break from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
However overall the Crab Island is a multifaceted destination that caters to a diverse range of interests, blending cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, and a peaceful ambiance for a memorable getaway for your whole family.
300 Harbor Blvd Suite D, Destin, FL 32541, United States
5) Ross Marler Park
Ross Marler Park was named after Ross Marler, a prominent local figure that initially served as a recreational space for the community. Over the years, it has evolved into a vital hub for outdoor activities, featuring scenic trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds.
The park’s development was shaped by community initiatives and local support, fostering a sense of belonging among residents that continues to be cherished by generations, providing a tranquil escape and promoting community engagement amidst nature.
Nature enthusiasts can explore well-maintained trails that wind through lush greenery, providing a serene environment for walking, jogging, or birdwatching. Picnic areas equipped with tables and grills offer a perfect setting for family gatherings or social outings with many fun things to do in Fort Walton Beach with family.
In addition to its charm, the park’s playgrounds provide entertainment for children, and the open spaces are ideal for sports and recreational activities.
Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines in the park’s ponds, while those seeking relaxation can enjoy the scenic views and peaceful ambiance.
From our experience, we can assure you Ross Marler Park stands as a multifaceted destination, promoting physical activity, social interaction, and a connection with nature with a welcoming environment for all.
1275 Santa Rosa Blvd, Okaloosa Island, FL 32548, United States
6) Gulf Islands National Seashore
Gulf Islands National Seashore, established in 1971, spans Florida and Mississippi, preserving diverse ecosystems and historical sites, boasting white sandy beaches, maritime forests, and historic forts.
Spanish explorers, such as Tristan de Luna, visited the region in the 16th century and in the 19th century, the U.S. built forts, like Fort Pickens, for coastal defense.
The park’s history intertwines with Native American presence, European exploration, and military significance, creating a rich tapestry that visitors can explore today.
Campgrounds like Fort Pickens and Davis Bayou provide opportunities for scenic stays, with amenities like restrooms and picnic areas so visitors can enjoy fun things to do in Fort Walton Beach with family. The park also features pristine beaches for sunbathing, swimming, and hiking trails for nature enthusiasts.
Ranger-led programs and interpretive centers provide educational experiences, while kayaking and boating are popular on the calm waters of the Sound to keep your family occupied fora longer duration.
From fishing off the piers to snorkeling and wildlife photography the park encourages responsible enjoyment of natural wonders, and regulations that support conservation efforts.
Therefore if you want to relax on the beach, explore historical sites, or engage in outdoor adventures, Gulf Islands National Seashore offers a multifaceted experience for those seeking both relaxation and exploration.
1 Gulf National SeaShore Dr, Okaloosa Island, FL 32548, United States
7) Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone
Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone is a family entertainment center located in Fort Walton Beach, Florida that was established in 2015 offering a diverse range of attractions, including mini-golf courses, a ropes course, arcade games, and a 4D theater.
The adventure zone has become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, providing a fun-filled experience for all ages. The facility is known for its vibrant and whimsical atmosphere, with Wild Willy, the mascot, adding to the excitement.
Visitors can navigate two 18-hole mini-golf courses featuring imaginative themes and challenging obstacles. The adventurous can tackle the high-flying ropes course, providing a thrilling aerial challenge with scenic views while the arcade entices gaming enthusiasts with a wide array of classic and modern arcade games, offering hours of entertainment.
For a cinematic experience, the 4D theater engages the senses with multisensory effects, making movie-watching an immersive adventure with family so that visitors can take full advantage of fun things to do in Fort Walton Beach with family.
Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone is not just about activities; it’s a vibrant destination that hosts events, adding a social dimension to the entertainment.
If you want to celebrate birthdays or enjoy a family outing, the zone provides a lively and welcoming atmosphere, adding a touch of whimsy, creating a memorable and engaging environment for visitors.
1306 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548, United States
8) City of Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park and Cultural Center
The City of Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park and Cultural Center in Florida was once an Air Force radar site that transformed into a cultural hub preserving the region’s heritage. The park features the Indian Temple Mound Museum, showcasing artifacts from Native American cultures dating back 12,000 years.
This cultural haven invites visitors to explore and appreciate the diverse layers of Fort Walton Beach’s history. Here, visitors can enjoy many fun things to do in Fort Walton Beach with family. The park’s lush grounds are perfect for picnics, leisurely walks, or educational activities for the whole group.
Additionally, the Heritage Park hosts regular community events, art exhibitions, and festivals, providing a vibrant atmosphere for residents and visitors. The site’s versatile spaces also make it an ideal venue for special occasions, from weddings to community celebrations.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or someone seeking cultural experiences, Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park and Cultural Center offers a multifaceted destination with something for everyone to enjoy.
139 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548, United States
9) Emerald Coast Science Center
The Emerald Coast Science Center, located in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, traces its roots back to 1989 when it was established as the FOCUS Center. Initially focused on marine science, it evolved into the Gulfarium Science Center in 1992.
The center underwent renovations in 2019, enhancing its capacity to engage visitors in hands-on learning experiences across various scientific disciplines. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits covering physics, biology, and astronomy that also provide hands-on activities, making science accessible and fun.
The facility boasts a planetarium, offering captivating astronomy shows that transport audiences to the wonders of the cosmos.
For special occasions or group visits, the center offers event spaces and educational packages with knowledgeable staff who are eager to assist and enhance your overall experience.
From live demonstrations to interactive displays, there’s always something new to discover. The center’s emphasis on making science accessible and enjoyable ensures that visitors leave with a greater appreciation for the wonders of the natural world.
Whether exploring exhibits, attending workshops, or enjoying outdoor activities, the Emerald Coast Science Center provides an enriching and entertaining destination for science enthusiasts of all levels.
31 Memorial Pkwy SW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548, United States
10) The Landing
The Landing Fort Walton Beach, situated in Florida, has a rich history dating back to pre-European contact when Native American cultures thrived in the region. The Landing itself is a waterfront park, hosting events and providing a scenic spot to appreciate the historical and natural heritage of Fort Walton Beach.
The waterfront park provides picturesque views, walking trails, and green spaces for relaxation, while picnic areas are available for family outings with well-maintained grounds making it an ideal spot for outdoor activities.
For those seeking recreation, the park features a playground for children and open spaces for sports or yoga to provide visitors with fun things to do in Fort Walton Beach with family. The Landing is also a hub for community events, hosting festivals, concerts, and cultural gatherings throughout the year.
Several dining options are conveniently located, allowing visitors to savor local cuisine while taking in the waterfront ambiance. Shopping enthusiasts can explore nearby boutiques and markets for unique finds.
Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the diverse ecosystem, providing opportunities for bird watching and enjoying the coastal environment.
However, we can assure you The Landing Fort Walton Beach seamlessly combines leisure, entertainment, and natural beauty, making it a versatile destination for individuals, families, and anyone seeking a vibrant coastal experience.
139 Brooks St SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547, United States
11) Indian Temple Mound Museum
The Indian Temple Mound Museum, located in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, traces its history to the pre-Columbian era. The museum sits on an ancient ceremonial site used by Native American cultures for over a thousand years, serving as a platform for various activities, including religious ceremonies.
In the early 20th century, the site drew archaeological interest, leading to the establishment of the museum in 1961. Today, it houses artifacts reflecting the region’s rich indigenous history, showcasing pottery, tools, and other items as a connection between the past and present.
Surrounded by lush greenery, the museum grounds offer a serene setting for exploration, with picnic areas providing a perfect spot for a leisurely outdoor lunch. The site’s well-maintained walking paths also invite visitors to enjoy a stroll while taking in the natural beauty.
For those seeking interactive experiences for their families, the museum often hosts workshops and events, allowing visitors to participate in hands-on activities related to Native American crafts and traditions.
The Indian Temple Mound Museum stands as not just a repository of history, but also as a community hub, fostering a deeper understanding of the area’s cultural roots providing many fun things to do in Fort Walton Beach with family.
Whether you’re interested in archaeology, outdoor relaxation, or engaging activities, the museum has a multifaceted experience for your whole family.
139 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548, United States
12) Air Force Armament Museum
The Air Force Armament Museum was established in 1975, housing an extensive collection of aircraft and weaponry dating from World War I to the present day. Visitors can explore exhibits highlighting the technological advancements in air warfare, including iconic aircraft such as the B-17 Flying Fortress and the F-4 Phantom II.
With free admission, the Air Force Armament Museum serves as a valuable resource for both aviation enthusiasts and the general public, offering a glimpse into the dynamic history of military aviation weaponry.
Inside, guests can explore well-curated exhibits featuring a diverse array of aircraft, missiles, and weaponry. Informative displays and educational materials provide context and insight into the evolution of air armament technology.
Additionally, the museum offers guided tours, enhancing the understanding of the exhibits and offering a more in-depth experience with variety of fun things to do in Fort Walton Beach with family.
For those seeking hands-on experiences, the Air Force Armament Museum occasionally hosts special events, air shows, and interactive demonstrations, offering a dynamic and entertaining aspect to the visit.
Whether you’re a history buff, aviation enthusiast, or a family looking for an educational outing, the Air Force Armament Museum provides a unique and enriching environment to enhance your tour of Fort Walton Beach.
100 Museum Dr, Eglin AFB, FL 32542, United States
Best Hotels To Stay In Fort Walton Beach
1. Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach
2. The Island by Hotel RL
3. Wyndham Garden Fort Walton Beach
4. Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach
5. Four Points by Sheraton Destin-Fort Walton Beach
6. Hampton Inn & Suites Fort Walton Beach