A Local Guide to The Best Outdoor Activities in Fort Walton Beach

Epic outdoor adventures await your next getaway. No matter the season, the Gulf of Mexico offers the perfect setting for adrenaline-filled excursions. You’ll discover a slew of outdoor activities in Fort Walton Beach, and with each adventure, you’ll enjoy a new facet of the Emerald Coast. 

While you’re here, don’t forget to request our complimentary Vacation Guide. Our expertly crafted guide is full of local insight on some of the area’s top restaurants, attractions, and seasonal events. The best that Fort Walton Beach has to offer is just one click away! 

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Three of the Best Outdoor Activities in Fort Walton Beach 

Dolphin Cruises & Boat Tours 

If you’re searching for unforgettable outdoor activities in Fort Walton Beach, consider adding a dolphin tour to your itinerary. It’s the perfect way to enhance a family vacation or to spend some precious time admiring the beautiful shores of Fort Walton Beach! No matter your needs, these local dolphin cruises and boat tours are perfect for your next visit! 

Golfing  

When you’re staying on the Gulf Coast, get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and practice your golf swing. There are many fantastic golf courses in the area. Whether you’re a serious competitor or want to enjoy an afternoon on the green, you’ll love spending the day at these Fort Walton Beach golf courses. 

Fishing Charters  

Cast your line and reel in the big one during your vacation to Fort Walton Beach! There are many great opportunities for year-round fishing adventures, from visiting the Okaloosa Island Pier to fishing in the beautiful surf. If you’re unfamiliar with fishing these waters, consider hiring a charter! There are plenty of great options from which to choose, each with experienced, friendly, and fun captains who are happy to give you the inside scoop on angling in these waters. Check out three of our favorite Fort Walton Beach fishing charters! 

Rest and Relax by the Sea  

After an exhilarating day of outdoor activities in Fort Walton Beach, we invite you to stay at El Matador. Our Okaloosa Island property is surrounded by coastal charm and endless places to explore. Sandy beaches and glistening turquoise waters are all just steps away from our vacation rentals. Each of our vacation rentals features top-notch amenities and is designed with your ultimate comfort in mind. No matter which accommodation you book, every stay at El Matador will be one for the books! 

During your visit, you can expect to start each morning with beautiful sunrise. Then, venture out into the outdoors, or take a dip in one of our pools. No matter what, every second spent here will be unforgettable.  

If you’re ready to hit the best beaches in the United States, browse our oceanside properties, and book your stay today. We can’t wait to welcome you! 

Fort Walton Beach vs. Destin, FL: Which Emerald Coast Beach Is Better for You?

Are you planning a family getaway to the Gulf of Mexico? Florida is home to some of the best towns in the world. In fact, we have so many that it can be hard to figure out which is the best. Most often, we see visitors comparing Destin and Fort Walton Beach. One area is a world-famous vacation destination that gets thousands of visitors per year, and the other is one of the best-kept secrets of the Emerald Coast. So, in the debate between Fort Walton Beach vs. Destin, which location wins? We’ll compare each destination and help you pick the perfect destination for your next beach trip! 

If you need help finding tons of exciting things to do in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, browse our Things to Do Page. It offers the best local recommendations on attractions, restaurants, parks, and more along the Emerald Coast.  

More to Enjoy in Fort Walton Beach

Fort Walton Beach vs. Destin: Where to Go on Your Emerald Coast Vacation?  

What You Need to Know About Fort Walton Beach, Florida 

Fort Walton Beach, FL, is known for its picture-perfect beaches, family-friendly atmosphere, and beautiful natural areas. This beach town is a popular destination for snowbirds and summer vacationers. You’ll find exciting activities on and off the water and annual festivals, including the Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival and various holiday celebrations!  

Popular Things to Do in Fort Walton Beach:  

  • Take a sunrise or sunset stroll on Okaloosa Island  
  • Get up close and personal with sea life at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park  
  • Shop ‘til you drop at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island 
  • Go fishing on the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier  
  • Test your putt-putt skills at Goofy Golf  
  • Travel back in time at the Airforce Armament Museum  

The Scoop on Destin, Florida 

Destin is known for its sparkling waters and ultra-popular beaches. It originated as the “luckiest fishing village” and has evolved into a haven for beachgoers from all over the country. 

The Best Things to Do in Destin, Florida:   

  • Embark on a romantic sunset cruise aboard the Queen Jean   
  • Savor a delicious dinner at 
  • Zip down a waterslide at Big Kahuna’s Waterpark 
  • Enjoy the emerald waters Henderson Beach State Park  

Staying with El Matador Is Always the Best Choice 

As Fort Walton Beach locals, we can’t help but think you should stay here. Whether you’re young or old, there’s something fun to do here for everyone. We have fantastic weather throughout the year and would love to host you during your next beach vacation.  

El Matador offers premium Fort Walton Beach condos for your vacation. Located on the shores of the beautiful Okaloosa Island, our vacation rentals come in an array of sizes and feature all the amenities you need to feel right at home. Choose from an excellent selection of studiosone-bedroom, and two-bedroom rentals. Enjoy top-notch amenities that include fully equipped kitchens, private pools, balconies, easy beach access, and more. Plus, when you choose to stay with us, you’ll always be close to miles of serene white-sand beaches and the best activities and attractions. 

The Emerald Coast is awaiting your arrival, browse our properties and book your stay today! We can’t wait to show you the best of Fort Walton Beach. 

An Expert Guide to Enjoying Fort Walton Beach Fishing Experiences

The ocean and surrounding waterways are an essential part of the Fort Walton Beach experience, especially when it comes to angling. Whether you want to charter a boat or cast a line in from the shore, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Fort Walton Beach fishing. From in-shore to offshore fishing excursions, everything you need for the ultimate fishing trip is in Fort Walton Beach! To make the most of your Gulf Coast getaway, be sure to request access to our complimentary Vacation Guide! Inside you’ll find details on the best activities, entertainment, dining, events, and more that our beautiful area has to offer.  

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Two Exciting Ways to Enjoy Fort Walton Beach Fishing 

Private Charter Boats & Fishing Charters 

A fishing trip is always an exciting endeavor. You can look forward to the freedom that the ocean provides, the relaxation of the waves, and the thrill of catching your first fish of the day. The Gulf of Mexico is one of the best places to embark on an inshore or deep-sea fishing trip, and Fort Walton Beach offers some of the best experiences in the area!  

If you want to enjoy an exciting Fort Walton Beach deep sea fishing experience or charter a boat, check out our favorite Gulf Coast charters:  

  • Living Right Fishing Charters 
  • One-Shot Fishing Charters 
  • Sunshine Fishing Charters 
  • Blue Water Escape Fishing Charters 
  • Salty Dawgz’ Deep Sea Fishing and Charters 

Surf Fishing 

If you don’t feel like hopping in a fishing boat, you can always catch fish right from the shoreline. Miles of sandy beaches await you, but one of the best spots for casting a line is John Beasly Park on Okaloosa Island. The park is situated in a wide-open stretch of beach, away from crowds and establishments, plus this space even offers a great view of the Okaloosa Island fishing pier in the distance so that you can enjoy a surf fishing adventure like no other!  

Pro Tip: Please be mindful of people swimming around you if you fish from the beach. 

What’s in Season on Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island?  

Spring Summer Fall Winter 
Amberjack Red Snapper Amberjack  Tuna 
Vermillion Snapper Vermillion Snapper Vermillion Snapper Vermillion Snapper 
White Snapper White Snapper White Snapper White Snapper 
Black Snapper Black Snapper Black Snapper Black Snapper 
Shark Shark Shark  Triggerfish 
Cobia King Mackerel King Mackerel 
Spanish Mackerel Spanish Mackerel Spanish Mackerel  
Triggerfish Triggerfish  Grouper  
Mahi Mahi Mahi Mahi Mahi Mahi  
Wahoo Wahoo Wahoo  
Tuna Tuna Tuna 
Sailfish Sailfish Sailfish  
Marlin Marlin Marlin  
 Grouper  

Return to Shore at El Matador 

El Matador is your key to the ultimate Gulf of Mexico getaway. Our collection of vacation rentals features everything from studios to oceanfront properties! In addition to fascinating fishing experiences on Fort Walton Beach, El Matador offers guests exclusive access to an array of outstanding amenities. Throughout the property, you’ll get to enjoy pools, tennis courts, a whirlpool hot tub, a fitness center, and more!  

Browse our selection of beachfront vacation rentals and start planning your fishing trip today. We look forward to welcoming you to Okaloosa Island and Fort Walton Beach! 

When Is the Best Time to Visit Fort Walton Beach?

There are so many things to consider when planning a vacation. Before packing your bags, you have to predict the weather, create an itinerary, and find a home away from home. Beautiful Fort Walton Beach, Florida, is no exception! A question we are often asked is: When is the best time to visit Fort Walton Beach? The answer is always! No matter when you visit, the Emerald Coast offers a fantastic getaway, and each season on Okaloosa Island promises a unique experience. 

To make your beach vacation planning a breeze, we’ve created a free Fort Walton Beach Vacation Guide that contains local insight on the best seasonal events, attractions, and eateries in the area.  

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All Year Long Is the Best Time to Visit Fort Walton Beach!  

Spring: The Ultimate Spring Break Destination  

Weather: Warm, SunnyBreezy  

While it’s difficult to decide on the best time to visit Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island, spring is a popular season for families. The weather here is especially comfortable in April and May, with the average temperature ranging from the low to mid-70s. In addition to perfect weather, the area is filled with all kinds of kid-friendly things to do that will keep the kiddos entertained for hours on end!

Summer: Beachin’ it All Day, Every Day 

Weather: Hot, Summer Rain  

Without a doubt, summer is the most popular time of year to visit the Emerald Coast! Local and visiting beach-goers flock to our beautiful white-sand beaches to sunbathe, relax, and enjoy the Gulf of Mexico’s emerald-green waters. Plan your visit during the first weekend of June, and you’ll have the opportunity to experience one of the United States’ longest-running events, the Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival!  

Fall: Perfect for a Quiet Retreat  

Weather: Warm, Sunny, Clear Skies 

Autumn is a great time to visit Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island because there are fewer crowds, and the weather is lovely. During this time of year, the average high is approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal weather for fantastic beach days, Thanksgiving getaways, and events like the Northwest Florida Fair.  

Winter: A Snowbirds’ Paradise 

Weather: Cool, Chilly Water Temperatures 

Although you may want to stay out of the water in the winter months, this is the perfect time to visit if you want to avoid crowds. The island is just as beautiful in the winter, the beaches are perfect for a mid-day stroll, and of course, there’s no snow!  

Find Your Spot in the Sand 

Once you’ve decided the best time for your visit to Fort Walton Beach, FL, book your vacation rental with El Matador! Consider booking a rental in building four to relax in a beautiful two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo that is perfect for family vacations. When you stay here, enjoy the fantastic amenities, such as hot tubs, private pools, and a fitness center! When you stay at El Matador, you’ll enjoy gorgeous views of the Gulf, 24-hour security, easy beach access, and more.  

Browse our properties and book your stay today! We look forward to having you. 

Three Reasons Why Fort Walton Beach Is the Best Family Destination in Florida

There’s no place in the world like Fort Walton Beach. If you are anything like us, then the sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and magical sunsets have a special place in your heart! We also know that every now and then, we could all use a little beach therapy, and that’s when it’s time to pack your bags and head to one of the best family destinations in Florida! Whenever you crave an authentic coastal experience, it’s time to bring your family to Okaloosa Island.

This one-of-a-kind area offers closeness to the most unique places on the Emerald Coast. If you’d like to learn more about amazing things to do in Fort Walton Beach, request access to our free Vacation Guide. With the help of our guide, you can explore the colorful cities of the Gulf Coast, find pristine white-sand beaches, and enjoy endless family fun all over town.

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Why Fort Walton Beach is the Best Family Destination in Florida for Your Vacation 

Fascinating White-Sand Beaches 

When you visit the best family destination in Florida, an escape to the beach is essential. Luckily, Fort Walton Beach is the ideal beach town. From Okaloosa Island to Santa Rosa Island, you’ll find the best of fun anywhere the sand meets the sea. Plus, the gleaming emerald waters of the shoreline are incredibly mesmerizing when you can enjoy them with family.  

Endless Family Fun 

With beautiful the Gulf’s beautiful weather, you and the kiddos will want to take in the sun as much as possible. Luckily, part of what makes Fort Walton Beach one of the best family vacation spots in Florida is its abundance of water parks, theme parks, mini-golf, and more family-friendly activities that are sure to keep everyone entertained all day long. Here are a few easy ways to treat your family to an unforgettable experience on the Emerald Coast:

Delicious Local Restaurants 

There’s no better way to get to know a place than by trying the food that defines it. From quick bites to fine dining, the restaurants, cafes, and places to eat around Fort Walton Beach offer fantastic variety. For the best family-friendly dining experiences, be sure to have a meal at these local favorites:

Stay at the Best Vacation Rentals on Okaloosa Island at El Matador

When planning your next getaway to Fort Walton Beach, FL, be sure to book your stay at our beautiful Okaloosa Island vacation rentals! With premium accommodations, comfort, and privacy, your family vacation will be filled with endless relaxation and adventure. El Matador is close to all the best things to do on the Emerald Coast, and we offer many specials year-round. Our stupendous on-site amenities include two oceanfront pools, a fitness room, tennis courts, basketball courts, and so much more! 

Check our availability and book your stay today. We can’t wait to meet you!