Okaloosa Island, a dividing plot of land between Fort Walton Beach and Destin, Florida, is home to fun family activities including the popular Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. The Boardwalk offers eclectic shopping, fresh seafood dining, exciting entertainment, stunning ocean pier views, and public beach access and amenities.
A historic landmark, the Boardwalk was constructed in the 1930's as a resort destination with restaurants, gambling, and an amusement park. A decade later, the original Boardwalk (then named "Tower Beach") was destroyed in a massive fire. The resulting reconstruction provided a more tame destination, focused on public use with the option for dining, shopping, and entertainment. There are plenty of things to do at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island, so let me help you plan a day at this famous Fort Walton Beach hot spot!
The one thing you absolutely cannot miss during your beach vacation is a Gulf sunrise, so hit the Boardwalk early for a front row seat. Once the sun hits the high skies, acquisition one of the public picnic tables and bust out the breakfast food for a beach side dining experience. After a meal against the backdrop of the emerald waters and white-sand beaches, why not cast a line at the Okaloosa Island Pier? Neighboring Destin is known as the "Worlds Luckiest Fishing Village", so put that name to the test as you try to snag a Grouper, Redfish, Flounder, or the coveted Cobia! Included in the price to the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier is a temporary fishing license, but that's not all! To make your fishing trip as easy as possible, the Pier offers fishing pole rentals, and bait, tackle, and snack sales.
Book a discounted fishing charter online at Okaloosa Island Fishing Charter Trips.
Now that the morning has passed, it's time to hit the beach (be sure to check the boardwalk shops for any last minute beach essentials)! Arriving early at the beach is a plus, as it fills with sand-seekers quickly after sunrise. Set up camp within the borders of the boardwalk designated for public use, and take advantage of the volleyball nets, children's playground, public restrooms, and courtesy lifeguards provided by the county. When lunchtime hunger strikes, take a break from the sun with lunch at Floyd's Shrimp House. This massive seafood restaurant located on the west end of the Boardwalk cooks up fresh and affordable options, including a lunch specials menu, and plenty of scrumptious sandwiches, soups, salads, entrees, and raw Gulf oysters (my favorite).
Once you've had your fill, walk a short distance over to the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. Experience dolphin and sea lion shows, marine animal exhibits, and educational shows perfect for the kids. Much of the Gulfarium on Okaloosa Island is covered, so rain or shine, planning a visit to the Park is a sure bet!
|Gulfarium Dolphin Experience|
(Travelers Tip: make sure to purchase your Gulfarium tickets in advance for potential money saving discounts)
Now that the afternoon is waning, take some time to explore the shops of the Okaloosa Island Boardwalk. Multiple beach stores offer thousands of fun items and beach wares including kites, clothes, skim boards, and souvenirs.
Make your way to The Crab Trap or Rockin' Tacos for sunset dining (request a table with an ocean view for unbeatable atmosphere). Sip tropical drinks, and relax after a long day of family fun with the finest food, drinks, and scenic views on the Emerald Coast. After dinner, take the kids back to the condo and get ready to experience the premier night time entertainment of the Okaloosa Island Boardwalk.
Capture the stunning sunset with a Beach Photography Session! Book discounted shoots online at Okaloosa Island Beach Photography.
(Travelers Tip: Book far in advance for the best rates, and to take advantage of promo codes. Also, don't write off an early fall or late winter trip for a slightly cooler, but less hectic and wallet robbing getaway!)
Hopefully this guide helps in the planning of an amazing family-fun day at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island! There are so many things to do on Okaloosa Island, from parasail to jet ski rentals, that no one guide can truly fill you in on all the great things to do. Get out of your condo, explore the Island, and see for yourself why so many people visit Okaloosa Island every year!
- Crestview, Florida, "Amusement Area Of Tower Beach Is Destroyed By Fire", Okaloosa News-Journal, Friday 13 March 1942, Volume 28, Number 8, page 1.