Family Fun at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island
Experience the laid-back beach atmosphere of the Emerald Coast on Okaloosa Island! 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 Gulf views, public beach access, amenities, and so much more. Uncover the best things to do for family fun at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island, and make the most of your next trip to this beautiful beach town!
Table of Contents
- About the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island
- Top Things to do at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island
- Have a Photoshoot
- Visit the Gulfarium
- Hit the Beach
- Dining and Shopping
- Wild Willy's Adventure Zone
- Take a Trip to the Destin Harbor
About the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island
View of the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island from the nearby fishing pier
A historic landmark, the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island was constructed in the 1930s 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 beach use with the option for dining, shopping, and entertainment.
Entrance to the Okaloosa Island Boardwalk is FREE and the Boardwalk offers FREE parking, as well as beaches with volleyball nets, picnic tables, and restrooms. Staying on Okaloosa Island? The Boardwalk is just a short walk from most Island hotels and condos, and in close proximity to plenty of other things to do in Fort Walton Beach including nightclubs, music venues, and restaurants!
Top Things to do at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island
The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island is more than just a day at the beach. With so many options and fun things to do, it’s almost impossible to fit everything you want to do in one day. Luckily, TripShock has compiled a list of the top activities for family fun at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island, to assist in making your trip there the best it can possibly be!
Have a Photoshoot
Okaloosa Island beach photography is the perfect way to capture the incredible time you had on your Emerald Coast vacation
The one thing you absolutely cannot miss during your beach vacation is a Gulfside sunrise, so be sure to hit the Boardwalk early for a front row seat! Even better, capture your Okaloosa Island family vacation with a professional sunrise beach photo shoot. Choose from the top photographers in Northwest Florida, and have the shoot down on the beach, boardwalk, or at your condo or rental property.
This Fort Walton Beach family vacation idea is great for young families looking to capture their first visit to the Emerald Coast, family reunion trips, and more! Photographers specialize in different types of packages including children portraits, couples photos, family pictures, special events, and more, so you can choose the one that works best for your group. Options like longer shoot times, different times of day (sunrise or sunset), and large or small group sizes, make photoshoots easily customizable.
Sailfish caught on the Pier, one of the best places to fish on Okaloosa Island! Photo by pensacolafishingforum.com
Nothing instills fond family memories like a day of fishing! The fishing pier at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island has everything you need for the perfect day of fishing including bait, equipment rentals, and temporary fishing licenses. The pier extends a quarter of a mile out into the Gulf, reaching the deep waters with the biggest fish! Neighboring Destin is known as the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village," so put that name to the test as you try to snag one of these big fish:
- King Mackerel
The Pier snack-shop provides drinks and snacks, and a cooler is allowed for personal use (food, drinks, and carrying home the day's catch). Locals and tourists alike consider fishing at the pier one of the best things to do at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island; check below for Pier information:
Hours: March - October: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; October - March: 5am - 9pm
Rates: Adult $7.50, Seniors 65+ $6.50, Children 6-12 $4.50, Children 5 and Under FREE
Visit the Gulfarium
According to a recent Traveler Story, a visit to the Gulfarium is fun for the whole family
If you’ve had your fill of catching fish, head over to the Gulfarium and enjoy watching some incredible fish and other wildlife at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. Located right next to the Pier, the Gulfarium has something the whole family will enjoy! 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 trip to this Fort Walton Beach aquarium is a sure bet!
Hit the Beach
The beautiful beaches at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. Image by Infrogmation of New Orleans via Flickr
You didn’t think we’d forget about the main attraction, did you? A trip to the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island is incomplete without enjoying the beautiful waters of the Emerald Coast! 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. Be sure to check the Boardwalk shops for any last minute beach essentials!
Dining and Shopping
The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island is a great place for superb shopping and fantastic food
When 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, scrumptious sandwiches, soups, salads, entrees, and raw Gulf oysters (my favorite).
Looking for dinner instead? Make your way to The Crab Trap or Rockin' Tacos for sunset dining (request a table with an ocean view for an 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.
Don’t forget to take some time while you wait for your table to explore the shops of the Okaloosa Island Boardwalk! Multiple beach stores offer thousands of fun items and beach wares including:
- And MORE!
Wild Willy's Adventure Zone
Pictured above is Wild Willy’s ropes course on Okaloosa Island
What's a Fort Walton Beach family vacation without a little extra excitement? Check out one of the area amusement parks during your trip and find unique and thrilling rides and entertainment. Wild Willy's Adventure Zone, just across the street from the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island, offers dino-themed activities and attractions including zip line, bungee jumping, and putt putt golf!
Take a Trip to the Destin Harbor
The Destin Harbor is the perfect place for family fun with events, attractions, activities, and things to do for all ages
Just 5 miles from the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island, find world-class restaurants, shops, games, and fun things to do at the Destin Harbor! Boat trips, fishing excursions, and even pirate cruises run daily in the spring and summer, providing all-ages entertainment during your vacation! Stunning views and parking both come free with this family vacation idea, with enough to do and see to fill multiple days!
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 the Island, from parasailing to jet ski rentals, that no one guide can truly fill you in on all the great things to do. With that being said, get out of your condo, explore the Island, and see for yourself just what you’re missing on Okaloosa Island!
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