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A local’s guide to Fort Walton/Destin

Lexie

A local’s guide to Fort Walton/Destin

Food scene
This is the 1st stop for our returning friends/family when they arrive back in the area... it is the very best little hole-in-the-wall spot for fresh local seafood! Huge bonus that it’s only about 5 minutes down the road from the air bnb! There is no way my description could really do justice to just how good this place is. (Also- They just opened a second location on Okaloosa Island!)
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STEWBY'S Seafood Shanty
427 Racetrack Road Northwest
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This is the 1st stop for our returning friends/family when they arrive back in the area... it is the very best little hole-in-the-wall spot for fresh local seafood! Huge bonus that it’s only about 5 minutes down the road from the air bnb! There is no way my description could really do justice to just how good this place is. (Also- They just opened a second location on Okaloosa Island!)
Great food, creative craft drinks, and the biggest beer selection in Fort Walton. Their happy hour is top notch, Monday is half-priced burgers and on Wednesday nights they have trivia! My personal favorite is their Nashville hot chicken.
The Craft Bar - Fort Walton Beach
99 Eglin Pkwy NE
Great food, creative craft drinks, and the biggest beer selection in Fort Walton. Their happy hour is top notch, Monday is half-priced burgers and on Wednesday nights they have trivia! My personal favorite is their Nashville hot chicken.
Love this spot for dinner!! Menu is always changing & delicious. Scenery is gorgeous. Our very favorite place to send families with kids and large groups as it has lots of room for little ones to run & play. Bring along some beach toys & make sure to browse their adorable gift shop!
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The Gulf on Okaloosa Island
1284 Marler Ave
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Love this spot for dinner!! Menu is always changing & delicious. Scenery is gorgeous. Our very favorite place to send families with kids and large groups as it has lots of room for little ones to run & play. Bring along some beach toys & make sure to browse their adorable gift shop!
Our favorite spot for a nice dinner, but it’s still casual. Their food is incredible (try the award winning Oysters Boshamps), they have a bay view, a beach out back where the kids can play, and most nights they have live music as well. The wait can be pretty lengthy as it seems to be everyone in the areas favorite spot, but you can join the waitlist by looking them up on Y3lp.
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Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House
414 Harbor Boulevard
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Our favorite spot for a nice dinner, but it’s still casual. Their food is incredible (try the award winning Oysters Boshamps), they have a bay view, a beach out back where the kids can play, and most nights they have live music as well. The wait can be pretty lengthy as it seems to be everyone in the areas favorite spot, but you can join the waitlist by looking them up on Y3lp.
Our very favorite lunch spot! Their Cuban sandwich is hands down the best in town; but every single thing on the menu is top notch! They have house made pickles, sauces, juices, rotisserie chickens, and you can mix & match to make your own 6-pack of local beers! The atmosphere is very cozy/homey meets eclectic. It’s one of the areas best kept secrets.
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The Local Market
950 Gulf Shore Dr
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Our very favorite lunch spot! Their Cuban sandwich is hands down the best in town; but every single thing on the menu is top notch! They have house made pickles, sauces, juices, rotisserie chickens, and you can mix & match to make your own 6-pack of local beers! The atmosphere is very cozy/homey meets eclectic. It’s one of the areas best kept secrets.
A killer New-York-style pizza place that delivers!
Wiley's Pizzeria & Grill
433 Page Bacon Road
A killer New-York-style pizza place that delivers!
The very best wings & house made jalapeño poppers. It’s definitely very “divey” - so prepare yourself for that. (Order food to-go if you have kids in your party) But the wings are spicy, the beer is cold, and the people are friendly in this little hole-in-the-wall local favorite!
Papa Joe's Hideaway
104 Perry Ave SE
The very best wings & house made jalapeño poppers. It’s definitely very “divey” - so prepare yourself for that. (Order food to-go if you have kids in your party) But the wings are spicy, the beer is cold, and the people are friendly in this little hole-in-the-wall local favorite!
A very favorite amongst brunch lovers! Their food is so so good with great prices, plus bottomless mimosas on Saturday & Sundays. In the afternoons & evenings they switch to a really great tapas menu & it’s a wine bar - so there’s no shortage of selection!
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Taste Tapas & Wine Bar
196 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE
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A very favorite amongst brunch lovers! Their food is so so good with great prices, plus bottomless mimosas on Saturday & Sundays. In the afternoons & evenings they switch to a really great tapas menu & it’s a wine bar - so there’s no shortage of selection!
Sightseeing
A great spot to find restaurants, shops, live music, boat & dolphin tours, and amazing views. Something to do for all ages!
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HarborWalk Village
10 Harbor Boulevard
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A great spot to find restaurants, shops, live music, boat & dolphin tours, and amazing views. Something to do for all ages!
Walk the pier for a few dollars, you’ll see fishermen bring in their catch & usually see some dolphins! During the busy season there are fireworks on Wednesday nights at 9pm. Park at the Anglers restaurant & then take advantage of their amazing brunch with bottomless mimosas on Sunday’s and an unbeatable view! Next door is a handful of touristy restaurants with decent food, a couple shops, volleyball courts and a playground all right on the gulf. Al’s Burger Bar has a small splash pad area for kids & The Crab Trap is famous for their very potent “Bucket” rum drinks, and Rockin’ Tacos has some really great guacamole!
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Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier
1030 Miracle Strip Parkway Southeast
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Walk the pier for a few dollars, you’ll see fishermen bring in their catch & usually see some dolphins! During the busy season there are fireworks on Wednesday nights at 9pm. Park at the Anglers restaurant & then take advantage of their amazing brunch with bottomless mimosas on Sunday’s and an unbeatable view! Next door is a handful of touristy restaurants with decent food, a couple shops, volleyball courts and a playground all right on the gulf. Al’s Burger Bar has a small splash pad area for kids & The Crab Trap is famous for their very potent “Bucket” rum drinks, and Rockin’ Tacos has some really great guacamole!
Where we go to enjoy the white sandy beaches!! Take a right turn off of Miracle Strip Parkway/hwy98 and head west on Santa Rosa BLVD - as you drive watch to the left for public beach access points! We like to pick the one with the best parking, grab our beach gear, and enjoy the day in the sun & sea.
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Okaloosa Island
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Where we go to enjoy the white sandy beaches!! Take a right turn off of Miracle Strip Parkway/hwy98 and head west on Santa Rosa BLVD - as you drive watch to the left for public beach access points! We like to pick the one with the best parking, grab our beach gear, and enjoy the day in the sun & sea.
This little village can fit in to all categories because it really has everything!! It’s a gated community so you have to go through the guards station to get in - they’ll give you a pass and directions to get to the area that’s open to the public! They have restaurants, parks, games, a carousel, tons of fun events, an ice skating rink during our “winter” season, nature walks with hidden tree houses, water views, dog parks, fireworks weekly, shopping... I could go on. Definitely plan to spend most of your day there, there is truly so much to do!
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Baytowne Wharf Boulevard
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This little village can fit in to all categories because it really has everything!! It’s a gated community so you have to go through the guards station to get in - they’ll give you a pass and directions to get to the area that’s open to the public! They have restaurants, parks, games, a carousel, tons of fun events, an ice skating rink during our “winter” season, nature walks with hidden tree houses, water views, dog parks, fireworks weekly, shopping... I could go on. Definitely plan to spend most of your day there, there is truly so much to do!
The cutest little beach front town! It’s about an hour drive from the Airbnb but a favorite place that we always take family & friends who come to the area. Plan to start off stopping by their market for mimosas before you explore the shops & restaurants (make sure to hit up the cozy book store, the record store, and the toy store)There’s a line of airstream food trucks, the best waterfront pizza spot, and a huge grassy space in the town square for the kids to run + a stage where they do concerts. (If you’ve ever seen the movie The Truman Show - it was filmed here!)
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Seaside
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The cutest little beach front town! It’s about an hour drive from the Airbnb but a favorite place that we always take family & friends who come to the area. Plan to start off stopping by their market for mimosas before you explore the shops & restaurants (make sure to hit up the cozy book store, the record store, and the toy store)There’s a line of airstream food trucks, the best waterfront pizza spot, and a huge grassy space in the town square for the kids to run + a stage where they do concerts. (If you’ve ever seen the movie The Truman Show - it was filmed here!)
Nightlife
Cool little bar in downtown fort Walton with a built in beach! They normally have a live music & the vibe is very relaxed.
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KC's Sandbar & Grille
190 Miracle Strip Parkway Southeast
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Cool little bar in downtown fort Walton with a built in beach! They normally have a live music & the vibe is very relaxed.
Unique bar with indoor games (think beer pong, Jenga, darts, etc) and a killer beer selection!
Salty Duck
209 Ferry Road Southeast
Unique bar with indoor games (think beer pong, Jenga, darts, etc) and a killer beer selection!
Stop in to try their local beers! Only open until 7.
Destin Brewery
505 Mountain Dr
Stop in to try their local beers! Only open until 7.
Shopping
Great selection of stores, restaurants, a splash pad & park for the kiddos! There’s something for everyone here!
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Destin Commons
4100 Legendary Drive
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Great selection of stores, restaurants, a splash pad & park for the kiddos! There’s something for everyone here!
High end shopping and restaurants, + a swanky movie theatre - they also have a small a splash pad for the littles!
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Grand Boulevard
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High end shopping and restaurants, + a swanky movie theatre - they also have a small a splash pad for the littles!
Great deals, restaurants, large park for children!
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Silver Sands Premium Outlets
10562 Emerald Coast Parkway West
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Great deals, restaurants, large park for children!

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Publix
Our favorite grocery store & the closest to the AirBnb is Publix. The subs from the deli are famous amongst us Locals & on Wednesdays they have $5 sushi made in house - it’s delicious! They also offer grocery delivery through “Instacart”
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850ToGo
The best food delivery service in the area! Their selection of restaurants is better than that of gr*bhub, P*stmates, and the like! They’ll also delivery groceries!
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Traffic
During the busy season, traffic can be a pain! Check g*ogle maps for updated traffic info & plan your destination before taking off.