As part of the famed Emerald Coast, Fort Walton Beach near Destin offers crisp white sand and pale blue-green water. You can bury your toes in the sand — or the rest of your body, if you'd like — or you can take a dip in the cool water. Fishing is allowed along this beach as long as you have a permit, and you can swim until you're exhausted. Plus, it's not as crowded as some of the major beaches in Destin, so you'll get more privacy and enjoy more time to yourself.
Of course, the beach isn't the only reason to visit Fort Walton Beach. It also offers several activities for kids, such as the WaterScape pool area, which offers splash pads, shallow pools, and plenty of decorative items to climb on. If you enjoy military history, don't skip a visit to the Air Force Armament Museum. It's full of fantastic mementos from years gone by, as well as tributes to Air Force heroes.
To view Florida's marine animals in a controlled environment, head to Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. You'll see dolphin shows, pet stingrays, watch sharks swim in tanks, and enjoy plenty of other exhibits. John C. Beasley Park is another must-visit destination in Fort Walton Beach. It offers all of the charm of a beach-side location with added park amenities, such as picnic benches, playground equipment, and soccer goals.
Now that your appetite for Fort Walton Beach is sufficiently whetted, it's time to choose when to visit and a hotel in which to stay.
Best Time to Visit Fort Walton Beach - Destin, FL
Spring offers the perfect opportunity to visit Fort Walton Beach. The temperatures have warmed up considerably, so you can spend as much time on the beach as you want, but the summer crowds have yet to arrive. Hotels advertise much lower prices than they do later in the season, and you'll enjoy more space on the beach to yourself thanks to the reduced crowds.
Summer visits can get uncomfortable because of the heat and the influx of tourists. While it's not as popular as nearby Destin, Fort Walton Beach experiences its fair share of the tourist trade. In fall, temperatures remain high enough to hit the water, but you might have to get out of the water if a sudden storm strikes the area. Precipitation increases dramatically during the fall.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Fort Walton Beach - Destin, FL:
Fort Walton Beach - Destin by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts demonstrating mean rate trends by star rating class in Fort Walton Beach - Destin, FL. You can use these charts to calculate the least expensive time to book a room in Fort Walton Beach - Destin throughout the year.
Best Luxury Hotel Options in Fort Walton Beach - Destin, FL
4 Star Average Prices: $205.86
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Destin E - Commons Mall Area in Destin amps up the luxury without creating too much of a budgetary burden. The rooms are bright and colorful, featuring bold jewel tones against a mostly neutral backdrop. You'll love the view through the floor-to-ceiling windows, though you can cover them up with the blackout shades if you feel like sleeping in. You also get a microwave, refrigerator, and coffee maker as well as a desk with an ergonomic chair.
The outdoor pool is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and the fitness center remains open all day and night. The business center features printers, copiers, and fax machines, as well as office supplies. Plus, all rooms come equipped with free wireless internet access. In the mornings, join the other guests for a free hot breakfast in the dining room. Stay healthy with fresh fruit and oatmeal or splurge on pancakes and sausage.
Best Affordable Hotel Options in Fort Walton Beach - Destin, FL
3 Star Average Prices: $175.18
If you're hoping to save a few bucks on lodging so you can spend more of your travel budget on entertainment, consider the Extended Stay America - Destin - US 98 - Emerald Coast Pkwy. It's located in Destin, which is just around the corner from Fort Walton Beach, and it offers upscale amenities despite its reasonable cost. For instance, you get a free grab-and-go breakfast every morning so that you can save cash on the most important meal of the day. The outdoor pool, fitness room, and business center all add perks to this hotel.
All of the suites at this hotel come with full kitchens, so you can eat in rather than spend too much on dining out. You also get a flat-screen television, cable channels, filtered water, and modern furnishings in your quarters. If you need to refresh your wardrobes, head to the guest laundry facilities. You can also take a free shuttle to local restaurants and destinations, and there's free wireless internet access throughout.
Also located in Destin, the Best Western Sugar Sands Inn & Suites - Destin offers an extremely budget-friendly lodging option. It's a 100 percent smoke-free hotel, so you don't have to worry about secondhand smoke ruining your holiday. The on-site amenities include free breakfast every morning, a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, fitness and business centers, free guest laundry services, and free late checkout if it's available at the time.
In your room, you'll find a microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, iron, ironing board, and hairdryer. The flat-screen television displays premium cable channels, and you get a soft pillowtop mattress with smooth linens and extra fluffy pillows. You can connect with your laptop or mobile device to the hotel's free Wi-Fi, and if you're traveling in a group, ask to book adjoining rooms for convenience.