15 Best Things to Do in Fort Walton Beach for Adults

While Fort Walton Beach is a great destination for the whole family, sometimes you want to sneak away for some ‘adult-only’ fun. With beautiful white sand beaches, waterfront vacation rentals, great shopping, dining, and bars, and lots of outdoor recreation — Fort Walton Beach has plenty of ways to spend a kid-free day.

Whether you’re planning a romantic couples retreat or a getaway with friends, here are the 15 best things to do for adults in Fort Walton Beach!

Enjoy a Day at Fort Walton Beach

Fort Walton Beach is known for its pristine white sandy beaches and sparkling blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. There’s no better way to spend a day on vacation than putting your toes in the sand, soaking up some sun, or going for a swim.

If you want to add some adventure to your beach day, Fort Walton Beach has plenty of watersports to choose from. Rent a kayak or paddleboard, ride a jet ski, or take the ultimate thrill ride above the water with a parasailing excursion.

To explore more of the Emerald Coast, visit some of the equally beautiful beaches of nearby Destin and Okaloosa Island, or take a day trip to Pensacola or Panama City. The entire Florida Panhandle is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world!

Take a Day Trip to Crab Island

A floating oasis in the middle of the bay, Crab Island is a must-visit when traveling to Fort Walton Beach. While not actually an island in the traditional sense, it is actually a sandbar known for its incredibly clear, turquoise water where locals and visitors alike gather to socialize, play watersports, have cocktails, and enjoy food from floating vendors. Crab Island is one big party on the water!

To reach Crab Island you can rent a boat, hop on the Crab Island water shuttle, or choose from one of many local boat tours in the area. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and sea turtles on your way out there!

Eat, Play, and Shop at the Okaloosa Island Boardwalk

Photo Credit: Jason Finn

A perfect spot to spend the afternoon or evening, the Okaloosa Island Boardwalk features shops, restaurants, live music, and plenty of great views. You can stroll the pier to spot an array of marine life, including sharks, sea turtles, and stingrays, or catch an epic sunset over the water.

There are some excellent dining options here that feature fresh seafood and island fare, or grab dessert at one of the ice cream or gelato shops. Need some new beachwear or souvenirs to take home? Browse the shops for some one-of-a-kind Okaloosa Island goods.

Take a Swing at the Fort Walton Beach Golf Club

The Fort Walton Beach area is a great spot for golfers. In town, you have the Fort Walton Beach Golf Club, which boasts two beautiful championship courses. In the greater Fort Walton Beach-Destin area, you’ll find several more courses, all within 30 minutes of the beach.

Take your pick of playing 9, 18, or even 36 holes, or hit the driving range to work on your swing. Play amid gorgeous green fairways, towering pine trees, and sparkling lakes with resident alligators swimming by—all part of the charm that Florida golf courses bring!

Go Wine Tasting

Photo Credit: Werner Heiber

You might not think of Fort Walton Beach as a destination for wine, but you’d be wrong. The area boasts several spots where you can grab a great glass. Enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting and tapas at Taste Tapas and Wine Bar. Shop and sample some wine and cheese at Wine World. Or, visit the tasting room at The Twisted Grape to sample local wines, snack on charcuterie, and enjoy live music.

If you have a designated driver, Chautauqua Winery is about an hour away and well worth the drive. You can learn all about the winemaking process, tour the vineyard, and sample some wines. Don’t forget to grab a bottle to enjoy later during your vacation rental.

South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival

Wine lovers visiting Fort Walton Beach in the spring will have an extra special treat — the South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival. This event takes place in April, about 30 minutes from Fort Walton Beach, and is a must for wine lovers, foodies, and just about anyone who likes to have a good time!

Visit Local Breweries

Beer lovers rejoice — Fort Walton Beach is much more than just wine! If you’re looking for the perfect place for a pint, this town is brimming with breweries and taprooms. Pop over to Props Craft Brewery where you can watch the beer-making process in their state-of-the-art brewhouse and try their signature craft beer. Or, try Tapworks, with a whopping 60 beers on tap you’re sure to find a brew you love.

The brand-new Woodfoot Beer Compan, which just opened in 2024, has quickly gained a following for its signature IPAs, unique passionfruit sour ale, and tasty pizzas. For cozy vibes, head to the Salty Duck, a small beer pub known for their comfy couches, old-school arcade games, and over 40 beers on tap.

Explore Nature

While Fort Walton Beach is great for bringing the family out to enjoy nature – little legs and a ton of kids’ gear can shorten the day’s fun!

Fort Walton Beach is home to several parks and nature preserves where you can take a peaceful walk, hike, or bike ride while enjoying the unspoiled natural scenery. No bike? No problem — there are plenty of bike rentals to be found in Fort Walton Beach.

Take a walk or bike ride through the waterfront Liza Jackson Park, stroll through the sugar sand beaches at John Beasley Park, or get to know some gorgeous Great Blue Herons at the Veteran’s Park Rookery.

Want to get deeper into nature? About 30 minutes away, you’ll find the Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, where you can hike through pine trails, spot wildlife, and canoe or kayak on the Bayou.

Go Fishing

Want to reel in your next big catch? The waters of the Gulf of Mexico are teeming with fish, including snapper, amberjack, mahi mahi, grouper, tuna, and much more. You can reserve a fishing charter, rent a boat, or just head to the fishing pier. You’ll find everything you need for fishing gear rentals locally, with plenty of bait and tackle shops around town.

Get Cultured at the Local Museums

Fort Walton Beach is home to some fascinating historical and cultural museums that are definitely worth a visit. Learn about local Native American history and browse artifacts at the Indian Temple Mound Museum.

Walk among decommissioned aircraft from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and more at The Air Force Armament Museum. You can also learn some local history at one of the earliest schools, Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum, and post offices, Garnier Post Office Museum.

On Sundays, immerse yourself in Thai culture with a visit to the Wat Mongkolratanaram Buddhist Temple. You can learn about Thai culture and traditions, try some Thai cuisine, and admire the extraordinary architecture and statues that adorn the temple.

Take a Boat Tour

Photo Credit: Artiom Photo

What better way to explore the gorgeous waters off the Gulf Coast than on a boat? From snorkeling tours to sunset cruises, you’ll find a wide variety of boat tours available in Fort Walton Beach. Spend an afternoon exploring the waterways looking for wildlife, sipping champagne on an evening sunset cruise, or for a truly one-of-a-kind experience — book a dolphin cruise. Of course, you always have the option to charter your own boat and go wherever the wind takes you!

Sip, Shop, and Dine Downtown

Downtown Fort Walton Beach is a great place to spend the day. You can stroll local shops, grab coffee or lunch at a cafe, or hit up happy hour at a local bar. If you’re into arts and crafts, stop by the Fort Walton Beach Art Gallery to browse one-of-a-kind pieces from local artists and find handmade jewelry, pottery, hand-blown glass, and more.

There’s truly something for everyone to do in the downtown area. Hungry? There are plenty of great restaurants to choose from. Want to pamper yourself? Visit the nail salon, day spa, or yoga studio. Looking for some fun activities? You’ll find everything from movie theaters and mini golf to virtual reality sports and even axe-throwing rooms.

On the weekends, the Downtown Saturday Market is not to be missed. This farmer’s market features local artisans, fresh produce, and tasty treats from local bakeries.

Catch a Show

Have a penchant for the performing arts? The Fort Walton Beach area has a lively theatre scene. Catch a show at Stage Crafters, a local community theatre that puts on a variety of independent shows, including musicals, dramas, and comedies. Or, head over to the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, where you’ll find Broadway classics like Chicago, ballet and dance performances, and symphony orchestras.

Take a Scenic Drive

Fort Walton Beach and the surrounding areas are full of epic views. There’s nothing quite like taking a leisurely drive down Highway 399 with the windows down.

The mix of salty sea air and scenic views is a great way to spend the afternoon getting to know the city. You can explore the coastline, stop at local restaurants and shops, and admire the endless ocean views.

Go Antiquing

Into antiques? You never know what special treasures you might find in Fort Walton Beach. Spend the afternoon antiquing at the De’France Indoor Flea Market — the largest antique mall in the Panhandle.

Browse their large collection of antique art, collectibles, furniture, and vintage handbags, jewelry, and other items. You can also try your luck at several smaller antique shops around town, including vintage comics, collectibles, and more.

Hit Up Happy Hour

As Jimmy Buffet famously said, “It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere,” and that somewhere is Fort Walton Beach. You’ll find plenty of places around town to hit up for happy hour. From beachy cocktails at the boardwalk bars to tequila tastings at Rockin’ Tacos Grill & Tequila Bar or live music and drink specials at Docie’s Dock — there’s always a great cocktail to be found!

Where to Stay in Fort Walton Beach

Looking for the perfect place to stay for your adults-only retreat? Book your stay with Legacy Vacations for beautiful beachfront vacation rentals. You’ll enjoy fully furnished condos with premium amenities and access to private beaches, pools, hot tubs, and fitness centers.

Want to create your own happy hour? Enjoy fully stocked kitchens where you can make your own cocktails and watch the sunset from your balcony overlooking the Gulf. Legacy Vacations has everything you need to relax and unwind in Fort Walton Beach!