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Summer Beach Paradise in Fort Walton Beach by:Kirby Collins

Summer Beach Paradise in Fort Walton Beach by:Kirby Collins

Located in Okalossa County, Florida, Fort Walton Beach is a fishing and beach resort phenomenon

. Named one of the Top 100 places to live, it is also teeming with visitors all spring break and summer long. Fort Walton Beach has 24 miles of powder soft beaches to walk upon while you enjoy things such as the sun set, fishing, swimming in the ocean or catching some waves. Families can enjoy one of the beachside parks and the elders can hit up one of the many golf courses for an 18 hole game. There's so much to do, and what there is to do is only limited by your imagination, so follow me as I describe to you some of the places you can enjoy and leave your mind to wonder.

Your vacation destination is here, or perhaps it's a place you'd like to live? Once you visit, you won't want to leave! Let's start off with the beaches, and as I mentioned before, there are 24 miles of beach stretching east to west. Rated the one of the Top 10 safest beaches in the Country, this beach allows jogging, swimming, sand castle building, tanning, fishing, wind and kite surfing as well as board surfing. It's the perfect place to kick back and get some rays while the sun is setting on the west coast. Along the beaches, there are four renovated beach front parks and six mini parks, all including showers, benches, bathrooms and ADA accessibility.

It's time to get some food, as you will need energy to continue to enjoy these extensive activities. The best place you can head for the most variety is the Wayside County Park, also know as, The Boardwalk. Facilities at the Boardwalk sit on the largest stretch of public beach in the area. It includes a 400-seat seafood restaurant, a two-level beach club, a dueling piano night club, a children's playground, beach volleyball, 3 beach accesses with showers, 6 public pavilions, picnic tables and public restrooms. Two places to eat that will catch your eye are The Black Pearl and The Crab Trap, both specializing in sea food, but also offering a variety of steaks, burgers, salads and sandwiches. In the mood for Japanese style sea food and steaks? Then head a bit more towards the mainland to Okinawa Japanese Steak and Seafood House for the best in shrimp, steak, chicken and scallops, all under the roof of this Four Star establishment! How about some French-Italian-Thai style meals? Then stay beach-side for Mulhollow's Bistro 215, where the name "fusion cuisine" comes into play with a wide assorted menu to please all three tastes; tastes such as seafood on sandwiches, seafood on salads, seafood sauteed and blackened, Thai and Italian style pastas, as well as throwing a grilled to perfection steak on almost anything that you can think of as well.

Well if you don't want to wine and dine, how about catching your own dinner? Besides the beaches, there is a little, or should I say, rather long secret I should tell you about. If you're on the beach, you shouldn't miss it. It's the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier, and "Large fish are what we're famous for", say the local fishermen. The pier originally opened in 1972, at a grand total length of 962 that stretched out into the Gulf of Mexico; however, it was rebuilt and reopened in 1998, with a new length of 1262 feet. This new length allows for a chance at catching even larger fish that prefer the deeper water farther off shore. The size and number of fish caught here compete with and have even beaten fish caught off shore in boats around the same area. Here's the deal about this place: you don't have to bring a thing with you! So if you're on vacation and didn't bring the rod and reel or a bucket for bait, you can rent them all here for $7-8 depending on the size of the fishing rod. But if fishing isn't your thing, then perhaps site seeing is. Head out to the end of the pier to see 8 miles of ocean, east, west and south for 180 degrees in all three directions. Come watch Dolphins jump; see fishermen catch tarpon weighing over 100 pounds, as well as tuna, king mackerel, cobia, and dolphin. Watch in awe pelicans and seagulls beg for food or steal a fisherman's catch; spot the boats floating around or see surfers from the back as they catch monster waves off of the beach. If that fisherman's catch begins to look good enough to eat raw because you're starving, then don't worry, there are plenty of snacks and drinks all located on the pier.Summer Beach Paradise in Fort Walton Beach by:Kirby Collins

Our last stop will be for the nightlife. Stick around the beach for an awesome night at The Swamp, featuring live music from local and nationally recognized bands like Hoobastank, Trapt, Salavia, Fuel, Cracker and Papa Roach. An enormous dance floor makes it an endless night as the live DJ's place dance, trance, techno, pop, hip-hop and R&B. Drink it up and dance it down, for what a better way to end the night here at Fort Walton Beach, than to dance it all away.

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