Exciting Outdoor Activities in Fort Walton Beach to Keep You Entertained for Hours

Our stunning Fort Walton Beach shores are waiting to be explored! From gorgeous beachscapes to exciting activities, an escape to Fort Walton Beach, FL, and Okaloosa Island is extraordinary. We encourage you to enjoy outdoor activities in Fort Walton Beach any time of year. To help you plan your trip, we’ve gathered a few recommendations for the best things to do in the area. Take a look at our free Vacation Guide and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the Gulf of Mexico!  

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What Are the Best Outdoor Activities in Fort Walton Beach?  

Biking in Fort Walton Beach 

Popular with families, Fort Walton Beach Landing Park offers access to some of the best biking trails in the area. The intricate paths are dotted with multiple scenic viewpoints and lead to several of the park’s most entertaining features, including a covered picnic area and rock-climbing wall.  

Where to rent bikes in Fort Walton Beach?  

  • 850 Rentals LLC 
  • Coastalwheels Bike Rentals 
  • Fun Pug Bike Rentals 
  • Good Pedals 

Cast a Line into the Gulf of Mexico 

One of our favorite things about Fort Walton Beach is that you’ll find year-round fun by the sea! The Emerald Coast is an excellent place for all kinds of outdoor fun, but it is primarily known for its exceptional fishing. All year long, avid anglers enjoy the thrill of casting a line from the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier, deep-sea fishing charters, or surf fishing on our beautiful white-sand beaches.   

Paddle Boarding and Kayaking 

Few things can compare to the relaxing experience of paddling through the waterways of Florida. The expansive waters offer visitors the opportunity to witness a fascinating habitat, spot plenty of majestic marine life, and unwind in one of nature’s most beautiful terrains. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a beginner, the Gulf Coast has a beautiful kayaking experience for every level of paddler.  

Where to rent paddleboards and kayaks in Fort Walton Beach?   

  • Fort Walton Beach Watersports 
  • Island Watersports Company  
  • SUP Express Paddle Board Rentals and Tours 

More Outdoor Activities to Enjoy in Fort Walton Beach, Florida: 

  • Grab the kids and take a stroll along the beach.  
  • Spot local wildlife on a dolphin-watching tour.  
  • Take an Eco-Tour of the Gulf Coast.  
  • Spot fascinating marine life on a snorkeling excursion.  
  • Tee-off at a Fort Walton Beach golf course.  

The Getaway of a Lifetime Awaits You in Fort Walton Beach 

There is something for everyone on Fort Walton Beach. Our seaside destination is perfect for a fun-filled beach getaway for everyone, from kids to adults. Whether you want to enjoy an oceanfront view or a comfortable studio-style space, our coastal vacation rentals promise just the scenery you’re looking for. Plus, when you stay with us, you’ll have access to the island’s best experiences, including delicious dining, fantastic attractions, and much more!  

What are you waiting for, browse our available vacation rentals, and book the beach vacation you’ve been dreaming of. The beach is waiting for you! 

How to Enjoy the Perfect Fort Walton Beach Christmas

Ever wonder what a Christmas on the beach would be like? Fort Walton is the place to be this holiday season! You’ll discover why a Fort Walton Beach Christmas is both exciting and relaxing while you take in the beauty 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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Here’s the Secret to an Unforgettable Fort Walton Beach Christmas!

Enjoy the Beach

There is no place on Fort Walton more beautiful than the Gulf Shore beaches! While it might not be 80 and sunny, the mild temperatures are usually good for long strolls or activities like beach volleyball.

Off the beach, Baytowne Wharf offers nightly ice skating for $11 with $3 ice skate rentals. If you arrive earlier in the month you can catch a holiday-themed show at Mattie Kelly Arts Center or find Santa somewhere downtown for a quick picture and lunch!

Christmas Light Shows

After a big day on the beach, take a trip through the Grand Boulevard at Sandestin to see the Coastal White Christmas holiday lights! Start in Town Center and make your way through the Boulevard as you are dazzled by thousands of festive white lights in the Florida evenings.

HarborWalk Village hosts an annual holiday-themed Destin Boat Parade. Each boat in the parade is equipped with holiday trim and can be seen from the harbor’s docks and restaurants. Following the light parade is a firework show over the water.

Bonus: Stay by the Sea

After an awe-inspiring Christmas week 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 a 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!

The Best Fort Walton Beach Snowbird Rentals | El Matador

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! 


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! 

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  

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. 

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!


Thanksgiving Getaway

A Thanksgiving getaway is what the whole family needs to relax and spend quality time together. Fort Walton Beach is the perfect beach getaway. Here a few attractions that will surely keep everybody entertained: 
-Gulfarium Marine Adventure park 
-Heritage Park & Cultural Center
-Emerald Coast Science Center
-Goofy Golf 
-Destin Commons- Perfect to get all your black Friday shopping done.
-Water activities- boat tours, dolphin tours, jet-skiing, snorkeling, fishing, etc.

If you are looking for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, here are a few yummy options: 
-Hilton Sandestin Beach Cooks Up Tasty Thanksgiving To-Go- November
26th from 10 am to 4 p.m. Reservation required. 
-Thanksgiving at Beachwalk Café- November 26th from noon to 5 p.m.
Reservation required. 
-Thanksgiving Buffet at The Henderson-November 26th from 11 am to 3 pm.
-24th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Harbor Docks- This is an
affordable thanksgiving dinner that also gives you the chance to give back to the community. 

And to get in the Christmas spirit, you can’t miss the Downtown Christmas Lights and Landing Christmas Tree on November 27th at 5:30 pm. 

Here at El Matador, we are all so grateful for your preference. The whole Matador family wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Keeping your home safe while on vacation

One main worry many of us have when planning a vacation is leaving our homes alone for so many days. The last thing you want to be thinking about while you bask in the sun is home security. So, here are a few tips to help you keep your home safe and help you relax and enjoy your vacation.

1. Make it look like someone is always home. If possible set a timer on TV’s and lights so that they turn on and off throughout the day.
2. Illuminate the outside of your home. It’s a great idea to have motion-
activated lights.
3. Keep your plans off social media. You can always post photos and updates on social media upon your return.
4. Make sure the door and locks are sturdy.
5. Keep your valuables hidden in the least obvious places.
6. If possible, install a home security system that will keep you updated.
7. Don’t have packages delivered while you’re away. A package sitting at your door for days is usually a sign of no one being home.

Following these few tips will help you have a stress-free vacation. Contact us today to book your next Fort Walton Beach vacation.

5 tips for a Great Beach Vacation with Kids

The Emerald Coast is full of incredible attractions for the whole family. Traveling with your little ones is a great way to bond with them and get some very much needed family time. But it can also become stressful when thinking about how to keep them entertained and safe. That’s why we have a few tips that might come in handy on that next family vacation.

Plan Fun Water Activities
Water activities will keep the kids entertained all day and will surely tire them out at the end of the day. The Emerald Coast offers a variety of fun activities:
Paddleboarding, fishing, boat tours, snorkel tours, waterparks, etc.

Bring Toys
If your plan is to just sit back and relax at the beach or pool, bringing along some toys for the kids will surely keep them entertained for hours. Have them choose two or three toys that are not bulky or heavy, making it easy to carry them around.

Pack Snacks and Drinks
It is important to always stay hydrated at the beach so bring along water and juice boxes for the little ones. We also know that our kids can get hungry quickly so bring along snacks that will keep them satisfied for a few hours.

Stay Vigilant
When mixing kids with water we most always stay vigilant and make sure they are okay. For the inexperienced with water using a lifejacket is important. Sitting near a lifeguard if you have the option is a good idea. Take turns with the other adults to watch them so that everybody can have fun.

Now is the perfect time to visit Destin, contact El Matador Rentals to book your next beach vacation.

Tips to reduce stress levels

As we continue to shelter at home due to Covid-19, many of us have started to feel our stress levels going up. Our team has come up with a few tips that may help decrease those stress levels.

Stay physically active
Incorporating a physical activity into your daily schedule will help your body and mind be calmer and be able to stay in a more relaxed state.

Eat Healthy
Eating nutritionally balanced meals is a good defense to fight stress. Having a nutritious diet will help stabilize our moods and help us feel physically and mentally healthy.

Get enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep can lead you to feel a significant increase in your stress levels. It is important to get the hours of sleep your body needs to recharge and start over the next day.

Talk to a friend
Talking to a friend about how you feel will help release some of the built-up tension you may have. This may help you find a solution to your problem and put things into perspective.

Plan for the future
It’s good to look ahead and make plans for when this is over. For us that includes a beautiful beach and a relaxing stay. El Matador is here to turn your Destin beach vacation into a reality.