The Wyndham Vacation Rentals at Waterscape Fort Walton Beach are a popular vacation destination, and it’s easy to see why. I had the opportunity to spend a lovely weekend in Fort Walton Beach and discovered it’s a fantastic vacation destination that’s both girlfriend getaway and family-friendly. Read on to find out why!
Along the powder soft shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico, Florida’s panhandle is home to the stunning Emerald Coast. This piece of paradise stretches over multiple cities with some of the most beautiful white sand beaches and a variety of attractions that make it a blissful vacation spot.
Fort Walton Beach and Destin are two of the major cities within the Emerald Coast. They are packed with activities for beach loving vacationers like water adventures and fishing charters.
Here are our best tips to help you make the most of your Emerald Coast vacation – from where to stay in Fort Walton Beach, places to eat and things to do.
Where to Stay: Wyndham Waterscape Fort Walton Beach
If you are going to vacation on the Emerald Coast, you have to find a room that overlooks the water. This is pretty much a MUST have.
The Wyndham Vacation Rentals Waterscape resort in Fort Walton Beach has beachfront condominiums angled perfectly to capture maximum views of the Gulf of Mexico. With floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows, you don’t even have to go outside to take in all of the gorgeous sights.
But of course, you absolutely should go outside. Definitely plan on enjoying your patio or deck as much as possible. I loved sipping on my morning coffee while watching the waves at breakfast. It was also our go-to spot for kicking up our feet with a glass of wine at the end of the day.
Some resorts that offer amazing views and beach front locations tend to lack in other areas, like things to do. You won’t run into that problem when you stay at Waterscape Fort Walton Beach.
Waterscape has an impressive pool area with three swimming pools, a lazy river, and a waterfall. The pool decks are an optimal spot to cool down after a long day on the beach, and you or the kids will have plenty to do just outside your door.
To be perfectly honest, there were days when we never left the property and were perfectly happy, after all, we were basically living on the beach – our happy place.
When traveling, I always make it a priority to save money when possible (like not eating out for every meal) so we can splurge on an experience instead. At the Waterscape Fort Walton Beach, the “just like home” feel of our 3 bedroom unit made doing this really easy.
With a fully stocked kitchen and dining room, we were able to stay on budget by stopping by the nearest grocery store and grabbing our favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner staples. When I say “full kitchen”, I mean it. This thing is bigger and better than my kitchen at home!
If being on the beach makes you want to have BBQ for dinner, you can take advantage of the split-level courtyard where there are two hot tubs, grills and tables for a delicious cookout as well as a play area for the kiddos.
After a night of grilling, go for a stroll down the boardwalk (handicapped accessible) to the beach where you can catch a beautiful sunset. You’ll love the feel of the powdery white sand on your feet – it’s what this area is known for!
The spaciousness of the condo was incredible (seriously, this place is twice as big as my house). When you’re traveling with family (heck, even friends!) it’s lovely to not be on top of each other or feel like you’re confined to just your bed in a shared hotel room.
The living room gave us a spot to hang out, chat, watch TV, get some work done or just read a book without feeling like we were in a dungeon. We also loved that we could pack light and take advantage of our in-unit laundry room, which meant I had room to pack the more important things – like shoes and a curling iron.
And as much as I love my bestie, after a long day of play, we both looked forward to retiring to the sanctity of our own peaceful bedrooms to have some much needed “me time”.
Things to Do in Fort Walton Beach
Some beach towns are just that, beach towns. You usually need to drive a ways to find entertainment or activities. I’m happy to report that you won’t run into that problem here. There are a ton of things to do in Fort Walton Beach that are within a few minutes of the Waterscape.
The Track in Destin is a playground for adults and kids alike. A variety of Go-Kart rides will keep everyone busy from the family track to a slick track and even a track just for the little ones. Enjoy some fun on the bumper rides including the Blaster Boats and Bumper cars or let those wild ones run free on one of the many kiddie rides.
There is also miniature golf, an arcade and rides all for adults. With all day entertainment, it is the perfect place to hit up when you need a day away from the beach.
Okaloosa is a barrier island between Fort Walton Beach and Destin, and it is where visitors flock to enjoy some spectacular beach time. The island has some of the most pristine beaches in Florida with plenty of water sports available to enjoy all day.
Take a swim with the dolphins, snorkel in the sparkling waters and even try parasailing. There is also beach volleyball in the silky white sands and the chance for some exotic fishing off the massive pier.
You can even catch the world’s oldest operating live marine show with adorable sea lions so cute you will fall in love with them.
Destin History and Fishing Museum
Fun fact, Destin is known as the luckiest fishing village in the world. The fishing museum captures the development of the area through detailed exhibits starting with early Indians to present day.
Take a guided tour or even a scavenger hunt through the many locally caught mounts, and learn about the long history of this fishing village and the wide array of marine life that call it home.
Air Force Armament Museum
The Air Force Armament Museum, located next to Eglin Air Force Base, is the only place in the United States dedicated to the display of Air Force armament.
There are over 29 different aircraft from the WWII era to present on display including an AC-130, B-25, B-52, P-51, A-10, F-15, F-16, F-100, F-101, and many more. You’ll also get to check out a gun collection, bombs, and missiles up close.
Admission is free and they are open Monday through Saturday, 9:30am to 5:00pm.
Learn to Build a Sandcastle
Have you ever wanted to build an epic sand castle, but you just don’t have the skills? Not anymore! You can actually go for Sand Castle building lessons in Fort Walton Beach.
Set the kids up for a meeting with your own sand castle coach while you catch some rays. But something tells me you might not be able to resist joining in on the fun too!
Destin Harbor Boardwalk
The Destin Harbor Boardwalk is where you need to go to do your souvenir shopping. Yes, it can be a bit touristy, but we found some unique items we fell in love with and if anything, we enjoyed shopping in the beautiful sunshine.
From the gift shops to the restaurants, the boardwalk is always packed with activity and the perfect spot to explore the wide array of tours and adventures you can do in the area. They offer fishing, parasailing, jet ski rentals, boat rentals, paddleboards and kayaks, snorkeling, sailing charters and so much more.
If by some rare chance you find yourself bored in the Emerald Island, visit the boardwalk, and I’m sure you will be able to find something to do.
Fort Walton Beach Restaurants
As the original Waterfront Crab Shack, this family owned restaurant is dedicated to providing its patrons with the best and freshest seafood while enjoying the sparkling ocean sights. An evening on the outdoor deck with an order of fish tacos is probably one of the best ways to refuel on vacation.
Stewby’s Seafood Shanty
Open for dine in or take out, Stewby’s is known for its incredible gumbo and signature “samwiches” made from the freshest local bought seafood. They even have gluten free options! Grab a fried fish of the day sandwich and get back to the beach.
Oh Fort Walton and Wyndham Vacation Rentals Waterscape, you’ve earned a special spot in my ❤, and a top spot on my family travel recommendation list.
It’s so easy to see why so many people come back here year after year. Sad to be leaving so soon, but looking forward to visiting again with my family. Til next time!