Fort Walton Beach, Florida, gives you all the fun of the other beach towns but minus the hustle and bustle. It’s between Pensacola and Panama City on North Florida’s Gulf Coast. It’s dreamy.

Get our free mobile app

The ultimate goal is the beach. My favorite spot to plant my umbrella, chairs, cooler, and sunblock is at either John Beasley Park or Wayside Park. Also, there is the Boardwalk at Okaloosa Island, which offers a little bit of everything.

Be sure to make plans to visit the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. They even offer different types of animal encounters. The Dolphin Splash encounter sounds super fun. I might have to put that on my to-do list. For mom and dads that would like a night out, they offer a sunset camp which lasts about 5 hours. That’s plenty of time to have a fabulous diner and a night out.

Another great spot to spend some time at is the Air Force Armament Museum. This is a fun time for the entire family with loads of aircraft to check out. Plus, they have interactive displays. You get a combination of fun and history.

You can’t start a day at the beach without a great breakfast. Be sure to put this local and family-owned restaurant on your hit list. The Neighborhood Café has received rave reviews from my beach-going friends. The best part, it serves breakfast the entire time they are open. My friend swears by the loaded omelet.

A must stop for lunch or dinner is Floyd’s Shrimp House. Yum!!!!! You can find it at the Boardwalk, and its menu includes all-you-can-eat fish and shrimp platters. The specialty drinks like the Fish Hook come in a Floyd’s hurricane cup. I’ll fight you if you try to take mine. (just kidding, kind of).

Another great spot with a view is The Shack in Fort Walton Beach, which across from City Hall. It’s a restaurant plus a marina, so you get to see some pretty interesting boats too.  The Smoked Tuna Dip is amazing, but the Drunken Mussels makes a tie for my favorite appetizer. I typically get the “fish of the day,” but everything is really good. The drinks are incredible because you can get some of the specialty drinks in a souvenir bucket.  It’s a tie for me between the Emerald Shore and Paradise Harbor. And I will not admit if I have gotten a bucket before or not.

You can charter a boat and go deep-sea fishing. Take on the area golf courses. Go scuba diving. Enjoy an afternoon of spa services. You can shop at the nearby outlet center. Even tour the Gulf Coast by jet skis or parasailing. The opportunities are endless at Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Check out this amazing Fort Walton Beach Airbnb

Enjoy Breathtaking Ocean Views from this Fort Walton Beach, Florida Airbnb

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

LOOK: Here is the richest town in each state

Just saying the names of these towns immediately conjures up images of grand mansions, luxury cars, and ritzy restaurants. Read on to see which town in your home state took the title of the richest location and which place had the highest median income in the country. Who knows—your hometown might even be on this list.

READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.