Introduction to Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Fort Walton Beach is located along the panhandle of Florida in Okaloosa County. The city is known as an all year long beach and fishing resort and is a very popular destination for Spring Break. Fort Walton Beach is part of the Emerald Coast which is well known for its white-sand beaches and beautiful ocean water. Tourism and two Air Force Bases are the primary economic factors. Local military contractors and a wide variety of service industries benefit from the Air Force bases.
From approximately 1100 to 1550 the original natives constructed huge mounds and were active in agriculture and also created pottery. In the year 1528 The Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca party reached the area by boat. The region was colonized by the Spanish and the English. John Anderson was one of the original settlers and acquired land in 1838.
Camp Walton was utilized as a Confederate Military base. The city name was taken from Colonel George Walton who was an aid to Andrew Jackson. The 1st Florida regiment's base was situated near what is now known as Heritage Park and Cultural Center. It was constructed in order to protect the region from Union ships.
- Emerald Coast Science Center features interactive exhibits.
- Heritage Park and Cultural Center includes three museums.
- The Gulfarium features dolphins and sea lion shows.
- Indian Temple Mound Museum and Park showcases the country's largest collection of Southeastern Indian ceramic relics.
- Air Armament Museum features historic aircraft and armaments.
- Pleasure Island Waterpark.
- Okaloosa Island Boardwalk.
- Gulf Beach Zoo & Botanical Gardens.
- Camp Walton School House.
- Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida showcases numerous artifacts regarding the area's history.
- Northwest Florida Ballet.
- Stage Crafters Community Theatre.
Fort Walton Beach provides opportunities for boating, dolphin watching and seeing a wide variety of wildlife. Surfing is popular at the nearby beaches. Grayton State Beach Recreation Area is one of the notable coastline locations. The Big Kahuna's Water & Adventure Park is popular with residents and tourists. Cruising on the Emerald Coast provides scenic views. The Blackwater River is an excellent location for canoeing and kayaking. Point Washington State Forest provides trails for hiking and bicycle riding. The Scenic 30 Bike/Hike trail is paved and can be used for walking and bicycle riding. It offers excellent views of the numerous towns along the coast and the ocean water of the Gulf. Horseback riding is available in the nearby Santa Rosa Beach and Panama City.
Fort Walton Beach is served by the Okaloosa Regional Airport. Okaloosa County Transit offers public transportation.