15 Best Things to Do in Okaloosa Island, FL

Okaloosa Island, FL
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Located on Santa Rosa Island in Florida lies Okaloosa Island, a three-mile stretch of white beaches, crystal clear waters, and sand dunes.

This local favorite is part of Fort Walton Beach and has a wide variety of activities you can do that can cater to all ages to ensure a memorable getaway!

With both indoor and outdoor facilities, you can soak up a nice tan with their aquatic sports or enjoy their museums and restaurants.

This beach paradise brings guests closer to the sea life that this island is home to with all the adventurous experiences it offers.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the 15 best things to do in Okaloosa Island, FL:

Go Fishing at Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier

 Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier
JJM Photography / Shutterstock.com

Also known as “The Island Pier,” this dock stretches over 1,262 feet into the water, giving you an amazing view of the sea and sky.

Guests can strategically walk out during sunrise or sunset hour to get a breathtaking background for your pictures!

This venue also offers fishing passes, complete with gear and bait, if you want to throw your reel into the water and catch some live fish.

Sunset and a far view of the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier.
BeachfrontPhoto / Shutterstock.com

You can visit their available snack bar, where you can grab a sandwich or beverage for some extra energy after your day trip.

Visitors may purchase hats, t-shirts, and other souvenir items from their novelty shop to serve as a reminder of this trip.

This fishing pier is the perfect place to take a nice stroll and enjoy that lovely ocean breeze that’s just a few steps away from the sandy beaches here at Okaloosa Island!

View under the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier fort.
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Explore Animal Exhibits at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

This marine park is home to dolphins, sharks, stingrays, sea lions, and other aquatic creatures that guests can admire during their daily shows and performances!

You can watch the animals up close or explore the park to see other exhibits that feature various species of fish, reptiles and mammals, birds, and more.

This Gulfarium has been serving the community since its opening in 1955 and provides a unique, educational experience for all who visit!

One of their main goals is to inspire and encourage everyone to preserve our natural wildlife through their exciting entertainment and opportunities.

You can connect with the animals here at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park and learn a thing or two about them!

Spend Some Quality Family Time at Wild Willy's Adventure Zone

This dinosaur-themed amusement park contains amenities for all ages to ensure a fun time for the whole family!

From an indoor arcade to laser tag to a 4D movie theatre, this family entertainment center has it all!

Located just outside Fort Walton Beach, guests can spend their day indoors at this adventure zone that provides fun and entertainment no matter what season.

They also feature a 9-hole mini-golf course where you can practice your putt skills and a bumper boat pool to spray and splash during a game of bump wars for younger visitors.

The fun continues on their mini go-kart track and their bungee trampoline!

There’s so much to do at the largest family entertainment center in Okaloosa Island, so make sure to add this place to your travel itinerary.

Learn about the History of Fort Walton Beach at Indian Temple Mound Museum

Pottery display at the Indian Temple Mound Museum.
Infrogmation, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Home to traditional and cultural artifacts that present and preserve the history of Fort Walton Beach, the Indian Temple Mound Museum is the go-to place if you want to learn more about the story of this amazing seaside town.

This museum was previously the center of religious, political, and social activities before it was converted into what is now the Indian Temple Mound Museum.

This sacred burial ground is home to a large mound that stands at 12 feet high and 223 feet wide and covers over 50,000 square feet, which was built by the Pensacola Indian tribe as early as 800 CE and has been a common tourist attraction to those who visit Okaloosa Island.

You can find preserved American-Indian artifacts and weaponry rich with a background and history of their time.

There are also exhibits and programs, as well as educational events and publications that interpret and present the significance of the community here.

As part of the Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park & Cultural Center and one of the three surviving mound complexes, there’s so much to learn about this historical era in this Emerald Coast!

Have Dinner Overlooking the Water at The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk is one of Okaloosa Island's most popular tourist attractions with its waterfront dinner options, beachfront shopping, and other activities!

After spending the whole day soaking up the sun, grab a nice dinner at one of the many restaurants along the boardwalk that range from fast-casual to fine dining.

You can also purchase numerous items at the various stores that line this beach that can serve as your souvenir while on your Emerald Coast vacation!

They also host family-friendly events year-round that will keep you and your loved ones entertained!

The Boardwalk ensures a magical and relaxing getaway with its various amenities from sunrise to sunset that is sure to make lasting memories.

Visit a Historic Museum at Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum

Housing artifacts between 1911 to 1936, Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum is the place to go to learn about the local educational system of Fort Walton.

This historic building was once a single-room schoolhouse that has been restored close to its original setup when it first opened in the early 1900s.

Inside the small museum, you can find refurbished, different size desks, a blackboard, and the teacher's desk to give guests a glimpse of their educational system in the past.

Museum volunteers will happily welcome you inside and will answer any questions you may have pertaining to their rich history as another establishment part of the Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park & Cultural Center!

This local museum encapsulates the lovely educational past of Fort Walton, which you can learn more about in their available exhibits.

Soak Up under the Sun at Ross Marler Park

One of the most-visited parks in Okaloosa Island, Ross Marler Park, is complete with boating options, fishing access, a playground, a walking trail, and so much more, along Choctawhatchee Bay!

You can spend the entire day at this park exploring all the amenities they have to offer that will keep you and your family preoccupied and entertained.

Make sure to enjoy their swimming pool on a hot summer day to cool off!

Take a nice walk along their fishing pier or catch some live dinner before grilling it at their pavilion for a hearty meal.

They also have picnic spots where guests can enjoy a nice breeze under the shade or avail of their boating options out on the open water.

Ross Marler Park has almost all the Okaloosa Island activities available that will complete your summer vacation!

Wind Back at Fort Walton Beach Landing Park

Light post at Fort Walton Beach Landing Park.
Infrogmation of New Orleans, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Conveniently found at the heart of Fort Walton Beach is what locals call “The Landing,” a waterfront park with so much to do!

Whether it’s a relaxing day under the sun or a lively concert on a Friday night, this park can give you both!

You may even catch some fireworks to light up the night sky on special occasions and holidays.

People at the Fort Walton Beach Landing Park.
Infrogmation of New Orleans, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Every Saturday morning, they open a Farmer’s market where both tourists and locals alike can purchase a variety of goods, produce, and food items.

Guests may also enjoy a lovely stroll or their lunch at this park with a lovely view of the water, where you may watch boats and barges pass by.

Younger visitors may take advantage of their playground and wall-climbing facilities or run around the vast, open space.

Have a nice relaxing day afternoon, then dance the night away here at The Landing!

Tents at the Fort Walton Beach Landing Park.
Infrogmation of New Orleans, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn How to Build Your Own Sandcastle at SandCastle Lessons

Located in John Beasley Park along Okaloosa Island, you can learn how to create impressive sandcastles at Sandcastle Lessons!

For two hours, you can spend quality time with your friends and family as you’re taught the basics and techniques of stacking sand to form the tower of your dreams.

Guests can also get creative and artistic with their craft using the sugary-soft, high-quality sand that Fort Walton Beach offers.

Just remember that practice makes perfect, so don’t get discouraged when your little sculpture isn’t quite right on the first try!

With the right amount of water and sand, you can master the methods needed to create an impressive sandcastle that is sure to amaze your friends and family!

Book a Room at The Island Resort at Fort Walton Beach

This modern, beachfront hotel is the perfect place to book your stay if you want to be within walking distance from the water but also near the other establishments that Okaloosa Island is home to.

With various room options for all guests ranging from poolside to beachfront, this hotel will take good care of you and your family while you’re on your getaway!

This resort also features a waterfall that you can swim under and a tropical garden where you can enjoy a nice stroll.

They also have other amenities such as fitness centers, hot tubs, and mini-golf, where you can kill some time after spending the day at the beach.

You may also dine at their indoor functions that serve American cuisine all throughout the day.

Take Your Kids to Emerald Coast Science Center

Exterior of the Emerald Coast Science Center.
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This science museum is full of interactive exhibits, animal presentations, robotics, a space frontier, and many more to mentally stimulate you and your kids!

Previously named “FOCUS Center,” this facility changed their name to Emerald Coast Science Center in 2001 to market themselves as a science center.

Specializing in STEM presentations that include engineering, physics, and electricity, there’s so much to learn here!

Their indoor and outdoor exhibits cover a wide variety of categories, such as a sea turtle sanctuary where you can learn about their health, paleontology that lets you rediscover dinosaurs during their era, and even a light spectrum to know about the properties of lights.

There’s so much to explore and discover in Emerald Coast Science Center to enrich your experience!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Dine at Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House at Destin, Florida

Serving freshly-caught and locally-sourced seafood, Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House is home to Southern-style meals with an amazing view of the water and only a short 8-minute drive from Okaloosa Island!

This restaurant serves only the freshest, highest quality seafood to ensure a hearty meal for you and your family on your visit to this island.

Since its opening in 1985, this establishment has been a tourist attraction with its gulf-to-table service.

You’re bound to make lasting memories in this family atmosphere in Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House with their comfortable yet fine dining experience.

You’ll leave this restaurant with a complete and happy stomach after tasting the wide variety of entrées they offer!

Get Active at Urban Air Adventure Park

From thrilling attractions to trampoline parks, there’s so much to do at this indoor entertainment center!

Kids can enjoy using their energy jumping on the trampoline parks or rock climbing.

They also have dodgeball activities for some extra fun!

Urban Air also has amenities for older visitors with laser tag, virtual reality, and a warrior course to experience an obstacle course-like playground.

This park is suitable for all ages with all the facilities they offer to ensure an exciting, special, fun-filled day for everyone!

Admire the Underwater Ecosystem at Destin Snorkel

Your trip to the Emerald Coast wouldn’t be complete without getting out into the water.

At Destin Snorkel, you can dive deep down into the ocean and see the beautiful ecosystems that thrive here through their snorkeling and scuba diving options.

For their younger visitors, they also provide shelling tours where they can collect beautiful seashells that have washed up on the shore and dolphin tours as well!

Located in HarborWalk village, you get the chance to see all the beautiful marine life, such as seahorses, crabs, anemones, and so much more, through the crystal clear waters!

Despite being known for their stunning, sandy beaches, there’s so much more to see under the surface.

Feed a Live Alligator at Gator Beach

Dubbed as “The World’s Greatest Alligator Park,” Gator Beach is home to over 100 live gators!

This establishment also hosts daily gator shows that are both thrilling and informative.

You can view their various alligators, ranging from babies to full-grown adults, as well as the different species.

Make sure to check out one of the rarest albino alligators they have named “Pearl.”

For those who are on the braver side, the friendly staff will even let you hold a live gator for some nice pictures!

Visit Gator Beach with your entire family to make some adventurous memories!

Final Thoughts

Diving into the water is one of the best ways to get a full experience of this island paradise!

You can’t run out of things to do on Okaloosa Island with its vast range of establishments, including restaurants and museums, as well as the beaches and marine sports.

Soak up the sun and get a stunning tan or simply admire the breathtaking views of the ocean, sunset, and sunrise.

Okaloosa Island is the perfect getaway from the city, and this Emerald Coast is packed with tons of adventure!

Book a trip to this island for your next summer vacation.

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