The most patriotic of holidays for the most patriotic of cities. Fort Walton Beach, while often considered a quiet coastal getaway in the sunshine-soaked state of Florida, has played a significant part in American history.

From its original Native American inhabitants to the Spanish Pirates to the heavy Confederate soldier presence pre-civil-war, the Fort Walton Beach area has been a cornerstone of American history. So, what better place to take the family to celebrate the land of the free?

Let freedom ring this year from the white sands near the Landing at Fort Walton Beach and sleep comfortably nearby in one of our waterfront vacation rentals within easy walking distance of the show. This is what you need to know about Independence Day celebrations in FWB.

Fort Walton Beach 4th of July Events in 2024

Most 4th of July events in the FWB area are annual. Here’s a look at what is on the docket for this year.

4th of July in Florida

Photo Credit: Maxim Studio

The 4th of July is a celebration commemorating the passage of the Declaration of Independence or the very creation of our nation. A true American holiday worth celebrating.

If you had to label one state in the USA as “most patriotic,” Florida would be a major contender. The sunshine state certainly doesn’t shy away from Independence Day Celebrations. The most common include BBQs in the park roasting up the perfect hot dog, live music, booming firework shows, and a family-friendly community gathering.

Why Visit Fort Walton Beach For the Fourth of July

Fort Walton Beach is an excellent tourist destination any time of year. But it’s particularly good for the 4th of July because what better place to BBQ than a white sand beach? You can spend your day celebrating America, swimming in the calm, cool Gulf waters, walking the Baytowne Wharf, and drinking a cold beer while floating in a pool inflatable. The perfect getaway or family vacation.

The Fourth of July is one of the biggest events in Fort Walton Beach, which means advance reservations are highly recommended!

Best Places to Watch Fireworks in Fort Walton Beach

There are numerous Fourth of July fireworks displays in the Gulf Area. These are our favorite places to enjoy them starting with the closest to Fort Walton Beach itself.

1. Fort Walton Beach Landing Park

Right in the heart of Fort Walton Beach, this evening event is the perfect way to cap off your 4th of July celebrations within the city and close to your vacation rental. Beginning at 5 PM and serving BBQ until the fireworks show at 9 PM, this event is totally free. The fireworks themselves are launched from a floating barge over the Santa Rosa Sound, which allows for epic views from anywhere near the water.

2. Okaloosa Island

Photo Credit: Mike Whalen

The Okaloosa Island celebrates summer with a weekly fireworks show of a smaller scale. So stick around and extend your Fourth of July celebration!

3. Destin Commons & Star-Spangled Food Truck and Fireworks Festival

This is known as one of the best fireworks shows on the Emerald Coast. The growing popularity means the parking lots are likely to be full. Arrive early to beat the crowds!

4. Boggy Bayou in Niceville/Valparaiso

This celebration is also known as Freedom Fest 850. Located in Lion’s Park on Bayshore Drive, this event is an all-day extravaganza. Live music and tasty food trucks begin filling in early in the day, usually around noon, while the fireworks themselves don’t start until dusk or around 8:45 PM.

This is a family-friendly event, and the shape of the coastline here offers plenty of excellent vantage points for the fire show itself. Some of the best (aside from Lion’s Park itself) are Kiwanis Park, Niceville Landing, Shipyard Point Park, and Lincoln Park.

5. City of Destin Fireworks

Photo Credit: Patricia G. Adderley

Not interested in the BBQ, crowds, and live music events? Join the locals for the smaller annual fireworks show at dusk in the nearby town of Destin. Just park yourself near Destin Harbor and watch the explosions over the waters of East Pass.

Other Things to Do in Fort Walton Beach in July

1. Enjoy a Fourth of July Destin Dinner Cruise

Photo Credit: Patryk Kosmider

For a more luxurious Independence Day, hit the bay from Miramar Beach for a 3-hour dinner cruise aboard the SOLARIS Yacht. They offer a perfect romantic evening with a three-course dinner, champagne, live music, and, of course, the best views of the Destin Independence Day fireworks show.

You can also opt for a less all-inclusive option with Southern Star Dolphin Cruise. They offer a 1-hour cruise through the harbor that’s designed to get you and your family as close as possible to the fireworks show. There’s nothing like laying beneath the booming colors out on the placid bay waters.

2. Visit the Harborwalk Village in Destin

Photo Credit: Stephanie A Sellers

This scenic boardwalk snakes alongside the Gulf of Mexico and offers unrivaled shopping, dining, and exciting activities. Go for a stroll with the family or pay a visit during their Fourth of July Festivities from July 2nd-4th that ends with a firework show of its very own. During the three-day event, you’ll experience a variety of shows, like the Victory Belles belting out 1940s hits.

3. Eat an All-American Breakfast

Photo Credit: New Africa

Before you head out to your choice of daytime festivities or fireworks show, be sure to fuel up in Fort Walton Beach. There is no shortage of diners to grab an American breakfast with a tall stack of pancakes and bacon. Try a local favorite like Neighborhood Cafe.

Come Celebrate The Birth of America in FWB Florida!

Guarantee yourself an excellent fireworks show, warm weather, and some of the world’s best beaches this Independence Day. Our vacation rentals in and around Fort Walton Beach are ready to help you feel rested and refreshed even after a long week of celebrating!

You can choose from a variety of beachfront condos with panoramic ocean views and luxurious design details ranging from private studios to sprawling condos.

Book your Legacy Vacation today!

Welcome to the sun-drenched Florida panhandle, also known as the Emerald Coast. Known for its sugar white sand beaches, exceptional fishing charters, historical attractions, and family-friendly environment.

There are simply loads of things to do here in FWB. Discover Okaloosa Island, set sail at high tide to Crab Island, drive the scenic coast to Pensacola, swim in the warm turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or even pay a visit to the Air Force Armament Museum or the Eglin Air Force Base.

Our travel guide is designed to help you decide when to visit Fort Walton Beach and when to book your stay at one of our exceptional vacation rentals. We have vacation rentals with hot tubs, open-air balconies, and panoramic seaside views. The choice is yours all year round!

Busy Season in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

There’s no denying it Fort Walton Beach is a top vacation spot along Florida’s Gulf Coast. But each season brings a little different landscape when it comes to crowds, weather, and the best things to do in the seaside town.

School breaks like Spring Break and Winter Vacation bring crowds to Fort Walton. The summer months also see an uptick in visitors. The same goes for long weekends or holidays like Labor Day, Memorial Day, and 4th of July weekend.

If your vacation lands on one of these special holidays it’s important to book your accommodation ahead of time and to expect larger than normal crowds at beaches and other attractions.

Spring in Fort Walton Beach: What To Know

Photo Credit: Serge Yatunin

The Dry Season. Unlike many other parts of the country where the weather seems to start getting wetter around spring, the Florida panhandle is drying up. This means you can expect temperate sunny days with lower humidity than other months during spring in Fort Walton.

Some even say this spring brings Florida’s most agreeable weather. You can expect temperatures to be in the low 70s Fahrenheit during the day and creeping up to the high 80s by the end of May. The Gulf’s waters sit at about 10 degrees cooler than the air. It’s still swimmable, but bring a warmer outfit for beach strolls after the sun goes down!

Why Visit Fort Walton in the Spring

  • If you don’t mind the potential Spring Break crowd.
  • If you are looking for a getaway that isn’t 100% centered around the beach.
  • If you’re traveling as a family and are hoping for kid-friendly activities like the Gulfarium.
  • If you’re hoping to stop in at a local event like the Tequila and Taco Fest or Burning Up the Beaches.
  • If you prefer mild weather over Florida’s hot tropical summer climate.

Summer in Fort Walton Beach: What To Know

Photo Credit: Andriy Blokhin

The warmest, wettest, busiest summer in Fort Walton Beach is without a doubt the most popular time to plan your visit and the most unpredictable weather-wise. Expect temperatures to sit in the low 90s, but know they have the potential to rise much higher. July and August are the hottest months, and you have the potential to see a hurricane during the June through November months.

Why Visit Fort Walton in the Summer

  • If you love a lively beach atmosphere.
  • If you don’t mind sharing the attractions and beaches with others.
  • If you’re ready to embrace warmer weather.
  • If you’re hoping to travel with kids on summer vacation.

Fall in Fort Walton Beach: What To Know

The Floridian local’s favorite time to plan a getaway. The skies begin to clear, and the temperatures drop to a more reasonable average high of the low 80s.

While most of the out-of-state tourists visit during the spring or summer months, local Floridians know how wonderful the Gulf Coast is during autumn. Water temperatures remain pleasant, and precipitation is low. This is a great time of year to walk the boardwalk or see what other attractions the city of FWB has to offer.

Why Visit Fort Walton in the Fall

  • If you want warm beach weather but fewer crowds.
  • If you’re not looking to take a trip during normal school vacations.

Winter in Fort Walton Beach: What To Know

The least popular time to visit Fort Walton Beach. While much of Florida is considered a haven for travelers from the American North seeking a tropical warm getaway in the dead of winter, FWB is not typically that place. This is because Florida’s panhandle is a little chilly during the winter season and certainly cooler than Key West or Orlando.

Fortunately, aside from the stunning beaches, Fort Walton Beach offers plenty to keep you occupied. Average temperatures range in the mid to low-60s, and many “summer-only” attractions close up shop.

Why Visit Fort Walton in the Winter

  • If you are most interested in having a crowd-free getaway and aren’t concerned with swimming in the Gulf.
  • If you want to explore Okaloosa County.
  • If you are hoping for a cheaper flight into Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport.

Highlights in Fort Walton Beach by Month

Let’s take a look at some local events you can see depending on the month you visit Fort Walton Beach.

January

Winter Guest Fest

Located at the Emerald Coast Convention Center, this community event gathers locals to win gifts and giveaways at this trade show.

February

Photo Credit: VIAVAL TOURS

Mardi Gras Parade

Fort Walton Beach loves a parade! Any excuse to celebrate is taken here. Although we are far from the epicenter of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, FWB does throw its own lively parade and celebration near Fat Tuesday.

March

Photo Credit: YES Market Media

Spring Kite Festival at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island

Usually lasting two days, you can take the family to the beach to see some of the most beautifully crafted kites take to the skies for some serious stunt-flying. Or grab a kite of your own and get involved.

April

Musical Echoes Flute Festival

See the landing come alive with traditional Native American flute music. This is an excellent cultural festival for the whole family!

May

Photo Credit: Pixel-Shot

Taco & Tequila Fest

Local restaurants compete for the best taco on the Emerald Coast! Stroll the Baytowne Wharf and watch the Chihuahua beauty contest, stuff yourself with unlimited tacos and margaritas, and listen to live music from several DJs and a mariachi band.

June

Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival

Sometimes occurring in May, this pirate-themed festival is fun for the whole family. Here you’ll experience a parade, fireworks, games, and live battle reenactments.

July

4th of July fireworks at Fort Walton Beach Landing

Fort Walton Beach area has no shortage of fireworks celebrations if you’re hoping to visit during Independence Day. There are local BBQs, food trucks, and numerous after-dark displays.

August

The Emerald Coast Poker Run

This is the headlining event for Boat Week in Fort Walton Beach! Every year, dozens of boats, from powered speed boats to pontoon boats, drift through the green waters to 5-7 different checkpoints, with the end goal of having the best poker hand after acquiring a card at each checkpoint. While the marine event happens during the day, an evening afterparty keeps the event going well past sundown. Even better, all proceeds go to youth organizations in Okaloosa County.

September

Northwest Florida Fair

An annual local fair complete with rides and delicious fried foods that has brought joy to the community for more than 50 years now.

The Greek Festival

Vendors gather to showcase Greek culture and food to visitors.

October

Destin Fishing Rodeo

This event runs for the entirety of October. In fact, during this month all the best anglers in the state vy for the best fishing spots and it becomes one of the number-one fishing destinations in the country. There are running events, the biggest shark of the day contests, and so much more!

Destin Seafood Festival

More interested in eating the seafood than catching it? This festival could be more your style. This is one of the most celebrated events in the city. Come enjoy art, music, community, and the best local seafood.

November

Thanksgiving

If you’re looking to visit during the Thanksgiving holiday, there are plenty of local restaurants hosting banquets, so you won’t have to cook at all! Joe’s Crab Shack and Marina Cafe both offer annual Thanksgiving celebrations.

December

Destin Harbor Boat Parade

This is the much-awaited month of the Christmas boat parade! Beginning at Bochamps restaurant and ending near Destin Bridge and Norriego Point, this parade of boats is fully lit and decorated to bring holiday cheer to the harbor.

Downtown Fort Walton Landing Christmas Tree and Lights

Come watch the town’s Christmas tree and lights be strung up for all to see. There is a annual tree lighting event during the first week of December, and lights and various events are hosting downtown during the rest of the month.

Stay With Us in Fort Walton

The choice is yours! There are pros and cons to visiting Fort Walton Beach any time of year. Depending on the type of vacation you are seeking, Fort Walton can offer a pristine, quiet beach getaway filled with white sand beaches in the off-season or a busy, vibrant nightlife scene during the peak travel months.

The one thing that always remains the same, however, is our excellent vacation rentals. Stay with us in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and we can guarantee you’ll have a relaxing, comfortable place to unwind on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Book your stay with Legacy Vacations today!

The Gulf Coast of Florida is known as a year-round beach-lovers paradise with crystalline white sand, an abundance of water-bound activities, and turquoise-colored waves. It’s called the Emerald Coast, after all. But some times of the year are better to visit than others, especially if you hope to escape the crowds and savor the city like a local.

Our Legacy Vacations rentals are tucked into the most scenic corners of Walton County and pose as the perfect home base for travelers hoping to combine convenience with comfort during their visit to Fort Walton Beach (FWB).

Here’s everything you need to know to plan the perfect visit to Fort Walton Beach in the Spring months.

Getting to and Around Fort Walton Beach

By Air

The Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport is located within the Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County and is the most popular airport in the vicinity for FWB vacationers. For domestic travelers, if you are not driving into Fort Walton Beach, this is where your journey will begin.

If you’re looking for an international airport, Pensacola International Airport is about 50 miles from FWB.

Getting Around

While the downtown area of Fort Walton Beach is small, it’s also very walkable and lined with bike paths. This makes exploring the city center quite easy. Unfortunately, most of the state parks, crystal-clear water springs, and recreation areas are further afield and require a car.

While Uber and other ride-sharing apps are available, renting a vehicle or driving your own if you plan to explore outside the city will be easier.

Spring Weather in Fort Walton Beach

During spring, Fort Walton Beach revels in mild temperatures averaging between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, offering a perfect climate for visitors looking to escape the colder northern weather.

This season heralds the awakening of vibrant flora, with comfortable, crisp mornings that move into warm, sunlit afternoons, creating ideal conditions for beach outings and outdoor activities. Rainfall is moderate during spring, so it’s always a good idea to pack a light rain jacket!

Why Spring in Fort Walton Beach

It’s perfect for families and couples looking to escape the busy crowds of “spring-breakers” flooding Panama City Beach’s shores and New Orleans’s streets during this time of year.

In fact, this is one of the best times of year to plan your trip to the Gulf Coast.

You won’t have to contend with any hurricanes, the temperatures are mild rather than sweltering, and the crowds haven’t yet begun to flock to the white-sand beaches. Instead, you can have a relaxing getaway that satisfies all the sea-lovers and swimmers in your family.

Best Springtime Attractions in Fort Walton Beach

Many of these attractions can be experienced any time of year. But Spring is the best season for all the activities below.

Attend one of the Seasonal Community Events

Every spring, the community is besieged by local events like the Tequila and Taco Fest, where food trucks convene at The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort to offer unlimited margaritas and tacos. Don’t worry; this is a family-friendly affair!

You’ll also find the Burning Up the Beaches car and motorcycle show in nearby Destin. For a full list of Springtime events, be sure to check out the official Fort Walton Beach events page.

Watch a Spectacular Sunset (or Sunrise) at the Okaloosa Fishing Pier

Photo Credit: JJM Photography

Okaloosa Island is one of the most interesting attractions in the area. This pier stretches out (seemingly) endlessly into the ocean, offering unrivaled panoramic views of the Pacific during both sunrise and sunset.

Spend the Day at John C. Beasley Park

Come and smell the flowers. This park is fun for the whole family! This lush beachfront area is in bloom this time of year and has an ample picnic area with picnic tables, public restrooms, and the perfect paddleboarding and kayak-friendly waves. Visitors looking to leave the kids in the water and hike will be pleased to know the park has long stretches of nature trails and a lifeguard on duty to protect the kids.

Work on Your Tan at the Beach!

Photo Credit: ryanmccarn

There are lots of beaches in the Fort Walton Beach area that are ideal for a springtime visit. Even with the slightly cooler temps in the air, the Gulf water remains warm and welcoming.

  • Wayside Park on Okaloosa Island is one of the most accessible beaches in the area. Soft white sand, lots of nearby amenities, and sitting right near the famous fishing pier of Okaloosa Island.
  • Henderson Beach State Park. Picture snow-white sand dunes cascading into the placid blue waters of the Gulf. This park/beach won the award for the most scenic spot in the area.
  • Navarre Beach is a nearby beach that’s known for its seclusion and long boardwalk pier. Well worth the short drive to visit.
  • John C. Beasley Park is excellent for the whole family.

Hit the Water and Visit Crab Island Without the Crowds

Crab Island is a man-made sand bar sitting in the middle of the Gulf. While summer is the most popular time of year to visit, Springtime is more fun for families and couples as the crowds thin out. Aside from the occasional Spring Breakers, you’re unlikely to see many party boats disturbing the marine life. There are plenty of local tour companies that offer daytime excursions!

Visit the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Learn about exotic wildlife like sea lions, penguins, and dolphins from the educational shows and experiences at the Gularium Marine Park. You can also snorkel with stingrays or take a reptile safari with the kids!

Want more family-friendly Springtime attractions? Pay a visit to Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone for go-karting, mini-golf, and laser tag.

Take a Day Trip to Some Freshwater Springs

Photo Credit: Christy A Rowe

This is one of the most interesting things to do in Florida. While most visitors are enamored with our long coastline, the inland freshwater springs are where locals go to spend a hot afternoon.

Vortex Spring in Ponce De Leon, Florida

Divers rejoice! We’ve got a clear-water spring for you. This privately owned spring is more than 200 feet deep and features a cave. Be sure to plan your dive with Vortex Spring Adventures.

Pitt and Sylvan Spring in Youngstown, Florida

This breathtaking natural spring pool has crystal-clear water and is framed by cypress trees. Perfect for springtime snorkeling or anyone looking to relish in the midst of Floridian nature. Just watch out for stray alligators!

Ponce De Leon Springs State Park in Ponce De Leon, Florida

Just 40 miles from FWB, this stunning freshwater pool is the perfect 72-degree swimming area year-round. Depths range from 18 inches to 30 feet!

Note: This is different from the Ponce De Leon Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida.

Morrison Springs in Ponce De Leon, Florida

Looking for a spring to dive in but with a more natural environment? Take in the mangroves and the blue springs at this scuba dive site in Northwest Florida.

Pay a Visit to Turkey Creek in Niceville, Florida

Photo Credit: Daniele RUSSO

This 20-acre park and boardwalk nature trail cuts through the mangroves and flooded forests of Florida’s unique ecosystem, offering visitors picnic-ready pavilions and swimming areas. This is yet another incredible destination to add to your Fort Walton Beach visit.

What to Pack

Florida is a warm tropical destination year-round. This means the packing list is more or less the same regardless of season. Here are a few things to make sure you throw into your travel bag.

  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito Spray
  • Beach towel
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hats
  • Flip-Flops or Sandals
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Beach cover-up

Enjoy A Crowd-Free Fort Walton Beach!

While Fort Walton Beach may not have the same name recognition as nearby Florida panhandle destinations like Pensacola and Panama City Beach, that works to most visitors’ advantage! Fort Walton Beach has all of the beauty and none of the pitfalls of your typical Florida beach vacation.

Book your scenic beachfront vacation rental now for your spring adventure!