Destin and Fort Walton Beach Area Beaches

By: VISIT FLORIDA staff

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Your guide to Destin/Fort Walton Beach area beaches

Editor's note: Beaches and parks are listed geographically from west to east.

Beaches with this symbol have beach wheelchairs available, either provided as a courtesy, or available for (prearranged) rent and delivery from private companies.

Twenty-four miles of snow-white, powdery beaches and crystal-clear water might give you the impression that you are swimming in an aquarium. Surrounded by the beauty of the Gulf of Mexico and the expansive waters of Choctawhatchee Bay, you won't be disappointed by the area Southern Living Magazine ranked the "Best Beach in the South" and the "Top Family Destination." Let the energy of beach concerts and volleyball tournaments wash over you, or swim, surf, snorkel and sunbathe your cares away.

John C. Beasley Wayside Park
Situated on the Gulf side of Okaloosa Island, Beasley Park features beach access with showers, pavilions, facilities and picnic tables, as well as a restaurant, beach club, playground, beach volleyball court and plenty of fun.

James Lee Park
This park offers something for the whole family. In addition to a great stretch of beach, the park features a playground, a snack bar, restrooms and a restaurant. The beaches are a convenient walk from the parking lot, but arrive early for a good spot at this popular beach.

Ross Marler Memorial Park
This park is located on the bay side of the island. There is a public beach for swimming, picnic tables, grills, a boat ramp, restrooms and a bathhouse. Another park highlight: The Marler Mini-Explorer Tot Lot playground offers a completely fenced, rubber-surfaced children’s playground and walking perimeter, all of which is completely handicapped accessible.

Newman C. Brackin Wayside Park/Okaloosa Island Pier
Located on Santa Rosa Island, also known as Okaloosa Island, across the bay from Fort Walton Beach, this is a 40-acre park with a fishing pier. The fishing pier area is frequented by locals. You might try to reel one in yourself, or simply enjoy the people-watching and sunsets.

Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park
This 357-acre park has 42 campsites, several of which overlook scenic Rocky Bayou, an arm of Choctawhatchee Bay. Fishing in Rocky Creek is popular, and three hiking trails and one fitness trail circle through the park's sand pine forest. Although convenient to the beaches of Okaloosa County, this park provides a tranquil and serene environment away from the hustle and bustle of public beaches.

Henderson Beach State Park
Gleaming stretches of pure white sand characterize Henderson Beach. The natural 6,000-foot beach is protected by sand dunes and sea oats. Dolphins and stingrays can often be seen in the emerald waters offshore. There are 60 campsites, as well as nature trails, picnic areas, restrooms and grills.

Ed Walline Roadside Park
As the name indicates, this park is found directly off scenic Highway 30-A, just east of Destin in nearby South Walton County. This park features public beach access, parking, picnic tables, showers and restrooms.

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3 comments
Barbara Jeffery
Barbara Jeffery November 8, 2013 11:02 AM
We just got back from Ft Walton after a 10 day stay at the Destin West RV park. We come to Florida at least twice a year but I have to say this was the most relaxing times that we have spent. We explored Oskaloosa Island, spent time at the beach, and met so many nice people at the park. Also discovered alot of state parks that we can camp at. We came upon the Mexico Beach and St Joe beach south of Panama CITY. The beaches were pristine, at ST Joes we were able to let our SHELTIES roam , I just cant explain how wonderful this vacation was. Thank you FLORIDA !!!