12 Things to Do in Fort Walton Beach this Summer

May 2, 2024

If you’re ready to embrace some sunshine and tan lines, Fort Walton Beach is where you want to be this summer. Nestled along the Emerald Coast in Northwest Florida, this paradise offers soft white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and numerous activities you won’t want to miss. Here are some of our top picks of places to hit for a summer to remember!

The Beach!

Explore the long stretch of white sand beaches on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach. With several public beach access points around the island, there’s plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the stunning coasts. John Beasley Park offers a spacious beach where you can sunbathe or take a dip in the emerald waters. Pack a picnic with the family and relax to the soothing sounds of the calm waters. They also offer a spacious parking lot and bathrooms for your convenience.

The Boardwalk is a must-visit destination with many activities in Fort Walton Beach. Beyond the beach, you’ll find a combination of beachfront shopping, restaurants, and incredible views of the Emerald Coast. The night sky comes alive in summer with a waterfront fireworks show every Wednesday. 


Dive into the wonders of marine life at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. From dolphins and sea lions to reptiles and gators, the Gulfarium provides a captivating experience for visitors of all ages. Enjoy thrilling dolphin shows and educational animal encounters, and explore the newly-built dolphin oasis. You can also work alongside trainers and take care of animals hands-on when you join their VIP Trainer program. If you’re curious about what happens after hours, sign up for Gulfarium’s mystery adventure, where you’ll explore the park after closing on a private guided park tour.

Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier

Get a breathtaking 360-view of the Gulf of Mexico and the powdery white sand beaches of Okaloosa Island at the Island Pier. Fishing enthusiasts and anglers flock to the pier to catch Spanish mackerel, kingfish, pompano, and other species. The emerald green waters around the dock are so clear that it has become a popular spot for beginner fishing, as they can see fish in the water and cast right to them. It’s also a magical spot to watch sunrise and sunset, and you can spot various marine life, including dolphins and sea turtles, from the pier.

Wild Willie’s Adventure Zone

Wild Willie’s Adventure Zone should be your next stop if you want to pump up your adrenaline. The sprawling amusement park features mini-golf courses, go-kart tracks, arcade games, and much more. Test your skills on the rope courses, jump as high as you can on the bungee trampoline, or challenge your friends to a game of laser tag! Wild Willie’s is perfect for a fun day in Fort Walton Beach, with family-friendly activities for all ages.

Downtown Fort Walton Beach 

Fort Walton Beach has much to offer beyond its serene coastlines and emerald waters. Have fun shopping in the numerous boutiques and trendy stores downtown. When it’s time for a break, explore restaurants that offer diverse flavors, from seafood to international cuisine. Learn about history and art by exploring the museums and art galleries in the area. If that’s not enough, downtown Fort Walton Beach comes alive with events and festivals each month, so be sure to check out any upcoming events!


You’re in for a unique dining experience at Fudpucker’s in Destin. Featuring delicious food and a close-up encounter with alligators, you’ll surely have a memorable time at Fudpucker’s. This family-friendly restaurant offers seafood and local cuisine, an award-winning kids’ menu, and Gator Beach, an alligator park you can explore. While waiting for your meal, you watch a Gator show, check out their Gator exhibit, and hold and take photos with baby alligators. 

Emerald Coast Science Center

The Emerald Coast Science Center offers a fantastic opportunity to nurture curiosity and a passion for science. Explore topics like physics, robotics, chemistry, engineering, and more with their interactive indoor and outdoor exhibits, workshops, and experimental labs for children. Additionally, you can learn about the Emerald Coast’s ecosystem and marine conservation efforts. It’s a great place for kids of all ages to have a fun-filled day of learning!

Indian Temple Mound Museum

Discover the rich Native American history and culture by visiting the Indian Temple Mound Museum. The museum has interpretive exhibits and over a thousand well-preserved artifacts that offer a glimpse into the lives of the Native American tribes that inhabited the region for thousands of years.

Air Force Armament Museum

The Air Force Armament Museum is home to a vast collection of aircraft, early aviation warfare, and advanced armament systems. Visitors can learn about the history of Eglin Air Force Base and marvel at the array of aircraft on display. Admission to the museum is free, and it is open every day.

Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival

The Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival brings the spirit of adventure to Fort Walton Beach Landing every May. Step aboard an authentic pirate ship and immerse yourself in the life of a sailor, or enjoy live music performances that set the stage for a festive atmosphere. The festival’s highlight is the captivating display as pirates invade downtown Fort Walton Beach by land and sea, accompanied by spectacular fireworks illuminating the night sky. It ends with a Torchlight Parade, where you can come and get your share of Captain Billy’s Loot. It’s a celebration that combines history, entertainment, and excitement, making it a must-visit event for all ages!

Emerald Coast Poker Run

Every year in August, powerboats, pleasure crafts, and various watercraft come together for the Emerald Coast Poker Run. This exciting event is not just about thrilling races or who has the best poker hand at the end of the run; it’s about making a difference in the lives of children in need. All the proceeds from the poker run go towards supporting charities that help children in the Emerald Coast Foundation. By contributing to this cause, we can provide hope and opportunities for a brighter future for the youth in the local area!

Okaloosa National Mini Golf & Ice Cream

Who would have thought mini golf and ice cream would be the perfect combination? Spend an afternoon at Okaloosa National Mini Golf & Ice Cream and have a fun time playing a round of golf with your friends. The best part is that, regardless of whether you win or lose, you can treat yourself to a scoop of delicious ice cream afterward! 

Explore Fort Walton Beach in comfort and style! With plenty of waterfront locations, luxurious amenities, and family-friendly features, Scenic Stays vacation rentals will give you much-needed rest after exploring the beaches and beyond. Book with Scenic Stays for an unforgettable summer experience at Fort Walton Beach!

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