In 1930, the population of the Fort Walton Beach area was less than 100. Today, the City of Fort Walton Beach counts 22,000 residents. No wonder, since Fort Walton Beach is rated as one of the top 100 small places to live by Forbes magazine. The City of Fort Walton Beach has an ambitious website, where they provide all kinds of useful information.
Okaloosa County has an informative site, and the county's Tourist Development Council has a site with virtual tours and other useful features.
Part of Fort Walton Beach is made up of an island known as "Okaloosa Island" where all of the beachfront accommodations are built. Between Okaloosa Island and the mainland is a body of water known as "Santa Rosa Sound", which many of the mainland accommodations and restaurants overlook.
There are many things to do in the Fort Walton Beach area. The main thing to do is to enjoy the beach ! If you are not staying in one of the beachfront accommodations, we suggest you go to Beasley Beach Park, which is on the Gulf and has beach assess and restrooms.
Beasley is located just east of the Visitors Center on Highway 98. Just west of Beasley Beach Park, on the north side of 98, is a National Seashore Park facing the Choctawatchee Bay. This is a good place for a more casual swim, picnic and watersports. The park has restrooms for your convenience. The State of Florida offers detailed parks information about all of their Northwest Florida parks on their website.
State Parks: none directly on the beach, the closest one is Rocky Bayou State Recreation area in Niceville. National Parks: none, head west to Gulf Island National Seashore if National Parks are what interest you.