The water offers visitors lots of ways to play. Rent a paddleboard or a jet-ski, take a dolphin cruise to view the dolphins swimming along the coast, or rent a pontoon boat and head to Crab Island. Of course, there is a lot of wildlife here to discover as well. Besides dolphins, you can view the beautiful schools of fish and sea turtles under the water by snorkeling or scuba diving.
The area is home to two major Air Force bases: Hurlburt Field, which includes Headquarters and Air Force Special Operations Command, and Eglin Air Force Base, which includes the Air Armament Center and 33rd Fighter Wing. Eglin is one of the biggest bases covering 724 square miles.
Best Time of Year to Visit Fort Walton Beach, FL
If you want to avoid the hot humidity of summer but still go when it's warm enough to enjoy the beach, April to June and September through October are the best times to visit. Just note that you're likely to run into families on spring break if you head there in late March and April, which can add to the cost of accommodations and how crowded the beach is. Also, seasonal amenities often don't open until May or June, so you might miss out. Highs in April usually hit around 77 degrees, while May highs hit about 84 and June highs around 89. Though the temperatures are high in June, it's a bit of a drier heat than July and August, making it more bearable. September high temperatures are about 87 while October temperatures land at about 80 with humidity dropping in late September. Note that the water temperatures are a little cool in April in May. Many visitors mention that the water is much more enjoyable June through October.
The high temperatures and humidity of July and August make the area a little less comfortable. Also, once school lets out, the beaches become crowded with vacationers, making May a great time to go to avoid spring breakers, summer vacationers, and high hotel prices. If you're not planning on going in the water and just want to enjoy walking along the beach, you can save money on hotels by booking rooms in the winter. Typical highs land around 60 degrees with lows around 40, making it very comfortable to wear a light jacket and look for seashells during the day.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Fort Walton Beach, FL:
Fort Walton Beach by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts demonstrating mean nightly cost trends by star rating class in Fort Walton Beach, FL. You can use these illustrations to calculate the best months to stay in Fort Walton Beach for upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotel Options in Fort Walton Beach, FL
4 Star Average Prices: $212.71
For the best in luxurious accommodations in Fort Walton Beach, check out the Courtyard Fort Walton Beach-West Destin. Rooms feature either one king or two queen beds, a flat screen TV, a desk with ergonomic chair, Paul Mitchell bath products, and cotton-rich bedding. Need a pick-me-up? Head to The Bistro where you can get specialty Starbucks coffees or try the breakfast or dinner options. The outdoor pool is a great place to cool off, or just head down the ramp behind the pool and you're on the beach. This highly rated hotel is considered by many to be the best in Fort Walton Beach.
Designed with families in mind, the Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach features many amenities. Head to the game room with the family for a fun indoor activity or to the outdoor lazy river pool for some splashing around. The indoor heated pool is perfect for those visiting the area in the winter or when it's a little cool outdoors. Seasonal activities and kids club are available for the kids. You'll find a full-service restaurant on-site that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so you don't have to leave the resort to find meals. Rooms include a coffee maker, microwave, and refrigerator, along with luxurious triple sheeted bedding and fluffy pillows. Wanting more space? Choose one of the king suites with sleeper sofa.
Affordable Accommodations in Fort Walton Beach, FL
3 Star Average Prices: $152.09
The Emerald Coast Inn & Suites is a great option for those wishing to save money on their trip to Fort Walton Beach. Though a bit dated, the hotel has been working to update the rooms; many visitors commented on the beds being comfortable. Amenities include free Wi-Fi for all guests, a fitness room, and an outdoor swimming pool. The staff at Emerald Coast work hard to keep the hotel clean and comfortable. Wake up to a free continental breakfast each morning to start the day. Rooms include either one king or two queen beds, 40-inch flat screen TVs, refrigerators, and microwaves. Plus, kids stay free, adding to the value of the rooms here. The location is one of the best in the area as well—just across the highway from some of the best beaches in the area.
2 Star Average Prices: $114.51
Where are the real discounts in Fort Walton Beach
The Best Western Fort Walton Beach hotel is a beachfront hotel with many amenities for guests to enjoy. With a 10 percent discount for government/military, it also has one of the best hotel discounts in the area. Amenities include complimentary wireless Internet access throughout the hotel property, a seasonal cabana bar, and free breakfast. Be sure to check out the Swizzle Stick Martini Bar located on-site. Because it's a green hotel, it's designed to help protect the environment, including the turtle lights that are used outdoors to protect the turtles during nesting time. Rooms include Art Deco design, Serta Presidential Suite pillowtop beds, refrigerators, microwaves, and your private balcony. Suites are available as well for those who really want to enjoy luxury, including junior suites that are spacious, have beach views, and have a Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom.
If you're looking for a hotel that offers a discount to AAA members or seniors, consider Quality Inn Bayside Fort Walton Beach. Here you'll get about 10 percent off of one of their beautiful rooms that were remodeled in 2014 and feature TVs with cable channels, refrigerators, and coffee makers. All guests enjoy free Wi-Fi and breakfast. Enjoy the outdoor pool, exercise room, and business center. This hotel is one of the more affordable choices in the area, yet rooms that face the bay (especially those on the second floor) have beautiful views of the water.
Best Hotel Values in Fort Walton Beach, FL
If you're looking for a hotel that has lots of amenities without paying too much, consider La Quinta Inn & Suites Ft. Walton Beach. Located a mile from the beach, rooms sport an updated modern decor. Some amenities include refrigerators, microwaves, a coffee maker, and 32-inch flat screen TV with premium cable. Take advantage of the free Wi-Fi to stay connected during your stay. Every morning, enjoy the Bright Side Breakfast, a buffet that includes hot foods, such as eggs, waffles, and biscuits and gravy, and cold items, such as pastries, bagels, fruit, and cereal, along with coffee and juice. Don't forget to take a dip in the outdoor pool or relax in the hot tub.
For those traveling with family, the Marina Bay Resort might be just the place. If you need more space, head to the Retro Room where you can play games or watch one of the TVs. There's even a weekly movie night. The Snack Shoppe is located right across from the check-in desk and has gourmet coffee, sodas, ice cream, and snacks. If you want to enjoy the outdoors, the patio and courtyard have places to sit and enjoy a meal or just chat. Other amenities include the game room, sand volleyball court, exercise room, and sauna. If you choose one of the suites, you'll get a kitchenette that includes a stove, oven, and refrigerator.
What Are the Best Beaches In and Around Fort Walton Beach, FL?
As you head to Fort Walton Beach, FL, you might be wondering which beach is the best for you and those you are traveling with. Of course, the answer might just be whichever one is closest to your accommodations, especially if it means not having to drive anywhere, but here are some things to consider about beaches in the Fort Walton Beach area.
James Lee County Park is popular with families. This is because the water here is clear and shallow, so it's easier for the little ones to enjoy the water without being engulfed. If you want to do a little surfing or snorkeling, consider John Beasley Beach Park on Okaloosa Island. Newman Brackin Beach Park is a great option if you want to do some shopping and eat out during your day at the beach because it's right on the boardwalk.
Verified reviews of the city: Fort Walton Beach, FL
Below are reviews of the city of Fort Walton Beach, FL from an actual visitor's perspective.
Score 5.0 / 5
KC's Sand Bar is a great place to visit.
"Love traveling there"
Score 5.0 / 5
It's a real nice hotel and we have been going to Fort Walton for years
Score 4.0 / 5
Its a real nice hotel and we have been going to Fort Walton for years.
"Fort Walton was fun."
Score 5.0 / 5
The Gulfarium was nice.
The average traveler rating of the city of Fort Walton Beach, FL shown above is 4.8 out of 5 based on 4 reviews