How To Airbnb, Industry News

Must-Visit Hidden Gems for Airbnb Guests of Fort Walton Beach

Must-Visit Hidden Gems for Airbnb Guests of Fort Walton Beach

Nestled along the Emerald Coast of Florida, Fort Walton Beach offers an exquisite blend of powdery white sands, turquoise waters, and a serene atmosphere that captivates the heart of every traveler. Beyond its famous beaches and bustling boardwalks, this charming city hides several gems that promise an unforgettable experience for Airbnb guests of Fort Walton Beach. Discover these top 10 must-visit hidden treasures to make Airbnb guests’ stays truly unique.

Heritage Park & Cultural Center

Nestled in the heart of Fort Walton Beach, the Heritage Park & Cultural Center stands as a beacon of historical and cultural education, offering visitors an in-depth look into the rich heritage of the Florida Panhandle. This remarkable complex is home to several key attractions, each providing a unique perspective on the area’s past, making it an essential visit for those eager to connect with the region’s history.

Indian Temple Mound Museum: This museum is built around a prehistoric Indian temple mound, dating back to approximately 850 AD. The mound itself is an impressive structure, standing about 12 feet high and covering an area of 17,000 square feet. It serves as a testament to the ingenuity and culture of the Native American tribes that inhabited the region. Inside the museum, visitors can explore an extensive collection of artifacts that span 12,000 years of Native American occupation, including tools, pottery, and weapons. The exhibits provide insight into the daily lives, spiritual beliefs, and societal structures of these early inhabitants.

Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum: Offering a glimpse into the educational practices of the early 20th century, the Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum is a restored one-room schoolhouse from the 1910s. Visitors can step back in time and experience the classroom setting, complete with original desks, a potbelly stove, and educational materials from the era. It highlights the challenges and triumphs of schooling in a rapidly changing world and reflects on the community’s commitment to education.

Garnier Post Office Museum: Another gem within the Heritage Park & Cultural Center is the Garnier Post Office Museum. Housed in the original post office building from 1918, the museum showcases the evolution of postal services and communication in the Fort Walton Beach area. With its historical postal equipment, uniforms, and correspondence, the museum offers a fascinating look at how communication methods have shaped local society and connected the community to the wider world.

Civil War Exhibits: The center also features exhibits related to the Civil War, providing insights into the impact of the conflict on the region. Artifacts, documents, and photographs tell the stories of local soldiers, battles, and the broader implications of the war on the community’s development.

Special Events and Educational Programs: Beyond its museums, the Heritage Park & Cultural Center hosts a variety of special events, workshops, and educational programs throughout the year. These events aim to engage the community and visitors alike in interactive learning experiences, ranging from historical reenactments and lectures to hands-on craft workshops and cultural celebrations.

A Visit That Enriches: A visit to the Heritage Park & Cultural Center is more than a journey through time; it’s an opportunity to immerse oneself in the stories that have shaped Fort Walton Beach and its surroundings. It stands as a testament to the area’s resilience, diversity, and cultural richness, offering an educational and enlightening experience for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a history buff, a cultural enthusiast, or simply curious about the past, the Heritage Park & Cultural Center promises a rewarding exploration of Fort Walton Beach’s heritage.

Must-Visit Hidden Gems for Airbnb Guests of Fort Walton Beach

Liza Jackson Park

Liza Jackson Park, a picturesque waterfront park located in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, spans several acres along the Intracoastal Waterway. This verdant park offers a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, providing a variety of outdoor activities set against the backdrop of stunning water views. Its amenities and natural beauty make it an ideal destination for families, nature lovers, and anyone looking to spend time outdoors.

Waterfront Access: One of the park’s main attractions is its extensive waterfront access. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the water’s edge, fish from the park’s piers, or launch kayaks and paddleboards to explore the surrounding waters. The park’s location on the Intracoastal Waterway offers calm waters, perfect for water sports enthusiasts of all skill levels.

Picnic Areas and Pavilions: Scattered throughout Liza Jackson Park are numerous picnic areas and pavilions, equipped with tables and grills. These spots provide a perfect setting for a family outing or a casual get-together with friends. The shaded pavilions offer a comfortable retreat from the sun, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy the park’s natural beauty.

Playgrounds: The park features modern playground equipment that caters to children of various ages. The playgrounds are designed with safety in mind, ensuring a fun and secure environment for kids to play and explore. With swings, slides, and climbing structures, the playgrounds at Liza Jackson Park are a hit among the younger visitors.

Dog Park: Liza Jackson Park is also home to a well-maintained dog park, where pet owners can let their furry friends run and play off-leash. The dog park is divided into sections for large and small dogs, ensuring a safe play environment for all. It’s a great place for dogs to socialize and for owners to meet fellow pet enthusiasts.

Walking and Jogging Paths: For those looking to get some exercise, the park offers paved walking and jogging paths that wind through its scenic landscape. These paths provide a peaceful setting for a morning jog or an evening walk, with beautiful views of the waterway and the surrounding greenery.

Public Amenities: Liza Jackson Park is equipped with clean and accessible restrooms, making it convenient for visitors to spend the entire day at the park. Additionally, the park has ample parking space, ensuring easy access for all visitors.

Events and Activities: Throughout the year, Liza Jackson Park serves as a venue for community events and activities, including outdoor concerts, festivals, and educational programs. These events bring together locals and visitors alike, fostering a sense of community and offering unique experiences in the park’s picturesque setting.

A Place for Everyone: With its diverse array of amenities and activities, Liza Jackson Park truly has something for everyone. Its lesser-known status means that it remains a peaceful retreat, even on sunny weekends, allowing visitors to enjoy the park’s beauty without the crowds found at more popular destinations. Whether you’re seeking a day of adventure on the water, a leisurely picnic with family, or simply a quiet spot to enjoy nature, Liza Jackson Park promises a memorable experience in the heart of Fort Walton Beach.

The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island

The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island is a vibrant beachfront destination that serves as a focal point for visitors and locals seeking a blend of leisure, dining, and entertainment against the backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico’s breathtaking views. Situated on the beautiful Okaloosa Island, just a stone’s throw from Fort Walton Beach, The Boardwalk offers an experience that encapsulates the essence of Florida’s Emerald Coast lifestyle.

Diverse Dining Options: One of the highlights of The Boardwalk is its array of dining options that cater to all tastes and preferences. From casual beachside cafes to fine dining restaurants, visitors can enjoy a variety of cuisines, including fresh seafood, traditional American fare, and international dishes. Many of the eateries offer outdoor seating, allowing Airbnb guests of Fort Walton Beach to dine al fresco while enjoying the sea breeze and panoramic views of the Gulf.

Shopping and Retail: The Boardwalk also boasts a selection of shops and boutiques, where visitors can find everything from beachwear and accessories to souvenirs and local crafts. Whether you’re looking for a new swimsuit for a day at the beach or a unique gift to take home, the retail outlets at The Boardwalk provide a shopping experience that complements the beachside atmosphere.

Entertainment and Activities: Beyond dining and shopping, The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island is a hub for entertainment and activities. Throughout the year, it hosts a variety of events, including live music performances, festivals, and seasonal celebrations. The area is also home to attractions such as volleyball courts, making it a perfect spot for those looking to engage in some beach sports.

Stunning Beach Access: The Boardwalk offers direct access to the soft, white sandy beaches of Okaloosa Island. Visitors can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, making it easy to relax and soak up the sun. The clear, emerald waters of the Gulf are ideal for swimming, paddleboarding, and snorkeling, offering endless opportunities for water-based fun.

Family-Friendly Environment: With its wide range of attractions and amenities, The Boardwalk is a family-friendly destination. Children can enjoy playing in the sand, exploring the shops, or indulging in a sweet treat from one of the ice cream parlors or snack stands.

Spectacular Sunsets: One of the most magical times to visit The Boardwalk is during sunset. The western-facing beaches offer unobstructed views of the sun dipping below the horizon, creating a stunning display of colors over the Gulf. It’s a popular moment for photographers and romantics alike, providing a serene end to a day of adventure.

Accessibility and Amenities: The Boardwalk is designed to be accessible to everyone, with ample parking, restroom facilities, and easy access to all attractions. It’s a convenient and welcoming destination for visitors of all ages and interests, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Must-Visit Hidden Gems for Airbnb Guests of Fort Walton Beach

Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone

Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone, located on Okaloosa Island near Fort Walton Beach, stands as a premier family entertainment center where adventure and excitement meet to create unforgettable memories. This sprawling complex offers a diverse array of attractions suited for all ages, making it an ideal destination for families, groups, and adventure seekers exploring the Emerald Coast.

Dinosaur-Themed Mini-Golf: One of Wild Willy’s signature attractions is its dinosaur-themed mini-golf courses. Players can put their way through two 18-hole courses, each meticulously designed with prehistoric creatures, waterfalls, and caves that transport you back in time. The courses are both challenging and fun, providing a unique mini-golf experience under the watchful eyes of life-sized dinosaurs.

Ropes Course Adventure: For those seeking a thrill, the ropes course at Wild Willy’s offers an exhilarating challenge high above the ground. Safely harnessed, participants navigate through obstacles, bridges, and zip lines, testing their balance and agility while enjoying views of the surrounding area. It’s a great way for both kids and adults to build confidence and have fun in a safe environment.

Laser Tag Arena: Dive into action in the state-of-the-art laser tag arena, where players engage in futuristic battles in a themed setting. The arena is equipped with the latest laser tag technology, providing an immersive experience that combines strategy, teamwork, and fast-paced fun. It’s perfect for birthday parties, family outings, or just a fun day with friends.

4D Movie Experience: Wild Willy’s also features a 4D movie theater, where Airbnb guests of Fort Walton Beach can experience the thrill of 3D visuals combined with physical effects like wind, water, and movement. This immersive cinematic adventure brings movies to life, offering an exciting entertainment option for visitors of all ages.

Arcade and Redemption Center: With a vast selection of the latest arcade games, classic favorites, and a redemption center filled with prizes, the arcade at Wild Willy’s provides endless entertainment. Whether you’re racing cars, battling aliens, or scoring points in basketball, the arcade is a hit for gamers and fun-seekers.

Bumper Boats: Cool off and make a splash with the bumper boats attraction. Each boat is equipped with water squirters, allowing Airbnb guests of Fort Walton Beach to battle it out on the water in a friendly and refreshing competition. It’s a great way to beat the heat and enjoy some laughs with family and friends.

T-Rex Island Adventure Park: Younger adventurers will love T-Rex Island, a specially designed play area with themed obstacles, slides, and interactive elements. It’s a safe and engaging environment for children to explore, play, and let their imaginations run wild.

Dining and Refreshments: After a day of adventure, visitors can refuel at one of Wild Willy’s on-site dining options. From quick snacks and sweet treats to full meals, there’s something to satisfy every appetite, ensuring that the fun never has to pause for too long.

Events and Parties: Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone is also the perfect venue for celebrating special occasions. With party packages and customizable options, it’s an ideal location for birthdays, family reunions, and group events, providing entertainment and fun for guests of all ages.

Okaloosa Island Pier: A Serene Gateway to Nature

The Okaloosa Island Pier, extending majestically into the Gulf of Mexico, serves as a serene gateway for both locals and visitors to immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the Emerald Coast. This iconic structure is not just a fishing pier; it’s a destination where the beauty of the Gulf unfolds in a tranquil setting, offering an array of activities and experiences for everyone.

Fishing Haven: The pier is a popular spot for anglers of all skill levels. With no need for a fishing license when fishing directly from the pier, it’s incredibly accessible for those looking to cast a line into the abundant waters of the Gulf. The pier is well-equipped with bait and tackle shops where anglers can rent equipment or purchase bait. Species commonly caught here include Spanish mackerel, pompano, and even the occasional shark, making every fishing trip an exciting adventure.

Wildlife Watching: For nature enthusiasts, the Okaloosa Island Pier provides a unique vantage point to observe marine life in its natural habitat. Dolphins are frequently seen frolicking in the waves around the pier, while sea turtles glide gracefully beneath the surface. Birdwatchers can delight in spotting a variety of seabirds, including pelicans and seagulls, as they dive and soar in the coastal breeze.

Panoramic Gulf Views: The pier offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico, making it a perfect spot for photography or simply soaking in the scenic beauty. Sunrise and sunset are particularly magical times to visit, as the sky explodes in vibrant colors, reflecting off the crystal-clear waters. The unobstructed views of the horizon are equally impressive by day or night, with the moonlit sea providing a peaceful backdrop for evening strolls.

Educational Opportunities: The pier often serves as an informal educational platform, where visitors can learn about the local ecosystem, conservation efforts, and the marine species that inhabit the Gulf waters. Signage and occasional talks or guided tours add an educational dimension to the pier experience, enriching visitors’ understanding of the coastal environment.

Amenities and Accessibility: The Okaloosa Island Pier is designed to be accessible and enjoyable for everyone. With ample parking, restroom facilities, and easy access, visitors can comfortably spend hours enjoying all that the pier has to offer. The nearby boardwalk features restaurants and cafes, providing convenient options for refreshments or a meal with a view.

Community and Events: The pier is a focal point for community events, including fishing tournaments, holiday fireworks, and environmental activities. It’s a place where locals and visitors alike gather to celebrate the beauty and bounty of the Gulf Coast, fostering a sense of community and shared appreciation for the natural world.

A Peaceful Retreat: Above all, the Okaloosa Island Pier stands as a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life. It’s a place where one can find solace in the rhythm of the waves, the warmth of the sun, and the gentle sea breeze. Whether you’re casting a line, watching wildlife, or simply enjoying the view, the pier offers a chance to connect with nature and find a moment of peace and reflection.

Must-Visit Hidden Gems for Airbnb Guests of Fort Walton Beach

Air Force Armament Museum: A Deep Dive into Military Aviation History

Situated on the outskirts of Fort Walton Beach, adjacent to the sprawling Eglin Air Force Base, the Air Force Armament Museum is a premier destination for anyone fascinated by military aviation and the technological advancements in air power armament. This unique museum is dedicated to preserving and displaying the tools of air warfare—from vintage aircraft to modern precision weapons and the stories behind them.

Extensive Collection of Aircraft: The museum boasts an impressive collection of over 30 aircraft, ranging from World War II bombers to the modern stealth fighters that define contemporary air combat. Highlights include the legendary B-17 Flying Fortress, the sleek F-4 Phantom II, and the formidable F-15 Eagle. The museum also displays the only complete B-52 Stratofortress bomber on public exhibit in the southeastern United States, offering visitors a rare glimpse into the scale and might of this iconic aircraft.

Interactive and Educational Exhibits: Beyond the static aircraft displays, the Air Force Armament Museum offers a variety of interactive exhibits that engage visitors of all ages. These exhibits cover the evolution of air combat tactics, the science behind flight, and the detailed history of armament development. Touch screens, simulators, and informational kiosks provide a hands-on learning experience, making the complexities of air warfare accessible to everyone.

Rare Armament Collection: A significant aspect of the museum is its extensive collection of air-delivered weapons. This includes early unguided bombs and sophisticated guided missiles that represent the cutting edge of military technology. Among the exhibits are the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast) or “Mother of All Bombs,” precision-guided munitions, and examples of Cold War-era nuclear weapons, highlighting the technological progression of armaments over the decades.

Memorials and Honorary Displays: The museum grounds also feature memorials and displays that honor the service and sacrifice of Air Force personnel. These include a Medal of Honor memorial, a Doolittle Raiders exhibit, and a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, ensuring that the human element of air warfare is not forgotten.

Educational Programs and Resources: The Air Force Armament Museum is committed to education, offering resources and programs for students, teachers, and researchers. From guided tours tailored to school groups to archives and resources for academic study, the museum serves as an educational hub for military history and aviation science.

Special Events and Activities: Throughout the year, the museum hosts special events, including commemorations, air shows, and educational workshops, that bring history to life. These events offer unique opportunities to meet veterans, witness aircraft demonstrations, and participate in celebrations of aviation history.

Visitor Information: Admission to the museum is free, making it an accessible attraction for everyone. The facility is wheelchair accessible, and ample parking is available on site. The museum operates Tuesday through Saturday, welcoming visitors to explore at their own pace or join guided tours offered by knowledgeable docents.


Fort Walton Beach is a city of hidden wonders, each offering a unique experience that enriches a stay. These hidden gems are perfect for Airbnb guests of Fort Walton Beach looking to explore beyond the beaten path and discover the true essence of this coastal paradise.

Previous ArticleNext Article