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Visiting Fort Walton Beach, Florida: Dazzling White Sand and More!

My young niece on those dazzling white sands of Fort Walton Beach

My young niece on those dazzling white sands of Fort Walton Beach

The Emerald Coast

Several times, Fort Walton Beach has been on the route between our home in Houston, Texas, and our destination of various Florida places. One particular year in 1986, my mother, niece, and I decided to spend a little extra time in Fort Walton and enjoy the dazzling white sand beaches and emerald green waters which lure many tourists to that spot for those very reasons. These pictures and memories are from that distant time in the past.

My mother is now gone, and my niece is a grown woman with a daughter older than the little girl shown in these pictures. Join me if you wish to see the beauty of the Emerald Coast in this article.

White Sands

This upper northwestern part of the Panhandle of Florida, which includes Fort Walton Beach and nearby Destin, boasts one of the top 10 beaches in the country.

Adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, these brilliant white sand beaches are pure Appalachian quartz, broken down over eons of time into tiny grains of sand. Originally part of the Appalachian Mountains, this quartz has been washed down and pulverized by the Apalachicola River, which runs over 100 miles East of Fort Walton Beach.

Because these grains of sand are such a bright white color, these sands do not absorb the heat, such as darker grains of sand do and therefore are much more comfortable in which to walk and play, especially when barefoot.

The sand is some of the cleanest, softest, and brightest one is likely to encounter almost anywhere. That accounts for why people have been coming here for years.

This sand contrasts with the clear emerald green water lapping onto the pristine shoreline delighting native residents as well as tourists just passing through while on vacation. The emerald green waters and beautiful white sands make for a beautiful and scenic combination!

Indian Temple Mound & Museum

A fascinating bit of Native American history is found right in the town of Fort Walton Beach. An Indian Temple Mound and Museum dominates the usual sea level topography of this place.

Archaeologists think that around 1400 to 1500 AD, indigenous peoples built this 15 foot high and 223 feet wide mound for multiple purposes, including ceremonial, political, and religious reasons. The chief would have had his residence on top.

It also serves as a repository for the bones of the deceased. Pottery shards and other remnants give archaeologists an idea of the timeline that this mound was actively in use. Today the Indian Temple Mound is sheltered and protected with a structure built over the top of it. A museum shows many artifacts from that area plus elsewhere.

Native peoples relished this gorgeous spot now called Fort Walton Beach in previous centuries, much like tourists today.

Great Place to Live and Work

There are many reasons besides sheer beauty that people would wish to live in and around Fort Walton Beach in Florida.

Eglin Air Force Base is nearby and employs many people. In fact the communities around Fort Walton Beach have some of the lowest unemployment rates in not only Florida but most of America at this time.

Anyone interested in fishing would enjoy this area. Charter boats do not have to venture that far from shore to hit deep waters where such fish as sailfish, marlins, and others are available to catch. Onshore fishing provides great catches of tarpon, bluefish, and others.

Water-sports abound in this area. Diving and snorkeling are natural in these clear waters, and swimming is a delight. There is also tennis and golfing, among other sporting diversions.

Like to shop? No problem! Fort Walton Beach provides all kinds of shops selling t-shirts and shell necklaces to almost anything else residents of these parts plus tourists might wish to acquire.

Naturally, one will find the freshest of seafood and other delectables in many of the dining establishments.

Numerous lodgings are here to suit a variety of tastes, budgets, and desires. All in all, Fort Walton Beach is a most delightful place to spend a night or a fortnight or even longer.

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Sandcastles and Fun

Naturally, we spent some time on the beach, and while we did not engage in creating sandcastles of our own, we certainly got to admire those made from the handiwork of others.

As some of my pictures show, we walked on the beach. We played in the sand. The three of us also went swimming in the Gulf.

Lying under the shade of an umbrella, relishing the gentle warm breezes, listening to the distinctive voices of the seagulls and omnipresent lapping waves of the Gulf of Mexico also made for a delightful and restful time.

Look at the fun some people had making sand castles in that white sand at Fort Walton Beach!

Look at the fun some people had making sand castles in that white sand at Fort Walton Beach!

Glorious Sunsets and Sunrises!

Anyone getting up early enough to see the sunrises in Fort Walton Beach is in for a treat! The same is true for the typically gorgeous sunsets. We were lucky enough to see both.

The shimmering hues of light not only paint the sky with fantastic colors out of a well-furbished artist's palette but also imbue the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and white sands of the beaches with transient colors that change moment by moment and fill the fortunate observer with wonder.

Residents and people who spend much more time in this panhandle area could probably elaborate as to many more of the benefits of visiting this gorgeous part of the country. Suffice it to say that we thoroughly enjoyed our brief visit to Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and enjoyed the dazzling white sand, emerald green waters, and other local sites.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 18, 2021:

Hi MG,

It is wonderful that your travels have taken you to Florida. Perhaps someday, you will be able to return and visit Fort Walton Beach.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 18, 2021:

Hi Misbah,

Sunsets over water always make for pretty pictures. Did you ever take a photo of the sandcastles you made on the beaches of Barcelona? That would be fun to see in one of your poems.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2021:

Hi Misbah,

Unfortunately, when we were in Barcelona, we did not have time to spend time on the beaches. Making sandcastles is fun. I remember making them on South Padre Island in Texas when I was a youngster. Thanks for your comment.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on March 17, 2021:

You have created a wonderful picture. I have been to Florida where one of my friends owns a residence and there is no doubt that it's a beautiful sunny place. Unfortunately with the prevailing atmosphere of the virus, I may not visit for some time.

Misbah Sheikh from — This Existence Is Only an Illusion on March 17, 2021:

Peggy, this is a beautiful hub with lovely pictures

I like the photo of the setting sun and the sandcastle a lot

I also love to make sandcastles whenever we visit beaches in Barcelona

White sand looks so amazing

Thanks for sharing it with us


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2021:

Hi Patricia,

So many of the beaches in Florida have their allure. The glistening white sands make this one special. Sending good thoughts your way today!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2021:

Hi Brenda,

Sand can be that way in most places, but it is easier to walk where the waves lap over it nearer the water. I will be curious if you plan your next Florida vacation to somewhere near Fort Walton Beach.

Misbah Sheikh from — This Existence Is Only an Illusion on March 17, 2021:

Peggy, This is a beautiful hub with wonderful pictures

I have never been there but someday I would love to visit this place

The white sand and sunset pictures are so appealing

when we visit beaches in Barcelona, I love to make sandcastles

I like the picture of the sandcastle, it is so cute

The video is also very nice

Thanks for sharing


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2021:

Hi Brenda,

Here is a link that might give you even more information if you wish to make Fort Walton Beach a vacation spot. I think that you would enjoy it there instead of driving further down the coast.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2021:

Hi Manatita,

It is great that you have also enjoyed snow-white beaches. We once saw black sands in Hawaii of volcanic origin. Those were not easy on the feet like the sands at Fort Walton Beach. In fact, they would act like a pumice stone.

Patricia Scott on March 17, 2021:

O yes. Lovely lovely Florida beach to visit. Thank you for showcasing it. Angels headed to you all in Houston today. ps

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on March 17, 2021:

Oh...but the sand. We had so much trouble walking on white sand.

It is super soft on the feet but your feet seem to sink, making it hard to walk through.

Yet...still beautiful.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on March 17, 2021:


I cannot believe I have not heard of this beach. It would be the closest one to us traveling from Ohio & yet we always go further down.

Do they have golf carts that one can rent? We tend to enjoy this mode of travel instead of walking everywhere.

It looks beautiful on the videos and your pictures. Your words paint a very nice picture also...making me want to find out more.

Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2021:

Hi Devika,

I learn much by reading and seeing photos from your part of the world. It is my pleasure to show you some of ours. Those white sands at Fort Walton Beach are amazing!

manatita44 from london on March 17, 2021:

A very beautiful piece of writing, so fitting for a most fabulous beach of white sands, seen only in few places by me, like Boracay in the Philippines and of course my home in Grenada, W.I You even wrote some pretty decent history too

'The shimmering hues of light...' So poetic! Do I have to keep looking over my shoulder? Now I feel insecure about my images. (Chuckle)

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 17, 2021:

Peggy You have shared many hubs about your side of the world and it sounds great. I would love to visit but never know when. I hear that Croatian citizens do not require a visa to visit the USA.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 16, 2021:

Hi Alex,

The beaches in South Texas do not have those bright white sands like in Fort Walton Beach. I am glad that you also got to see those pristine white sands.

Alex on March 16, 2021:

The first time I saw Fort Walton Beach I was amazed by the beautiful white sand beaches. Far different than the ones we see in South Texas.

Robert Sacchi on January 19, 2018:

Ok, I'll accept that.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 19, 2018:

Hi Robert,

Not really. The sand is just not as white here as it is at Fort Walton Beach. The old saying of "Everything is Bigger and Better in Texas" does not apply in this case. Ha!

Robert Sacchi on January 18, 2018:

That is something coming from a Texan.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 17, 2018:

Hi Robert,

I have not been to Fort Walton beach recently but that dazzling white sand is what really makes that beach special. The sand on the beaches is no where near as white in Corpus Christi or Galveston or even Padre Island for that matter.

Robert Sacchi on January 17, 2018:

This seems a wonder place to have a vacation. Have you been there recently? How does it compare to Corpus Christi?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 14, 2018:

Hi Patricia,

You are fortunate that you live so much closer to this beautiful Fort Walton beach than we do. It is quite a drive from Houston...but certainly worth it! The Galveston beaches which are much closer are in no way this white and pretty. Sending good vibes your way this evening!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 14, 2018:

You nailed it Peggy. It is one of the loveliest beaches here. My family and I have stayed there several times and always discover something new to enjoy about the area. Love the photos..especially Mr. bird....these Florida birds pose unabashedly for photos all the time. Angels are on the way to you this evening, my friend. ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 17, 2015:

Hi Jodah,

Your beaches must be beautiful in Queensland if they are similar to those in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Thanks for the vote up. We did have a great time there!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 16, 2015:

Hi Patricia,

Nice that you and your sister have gotten to enjoy the beaches at Fort Walton as well as others. It is a "Florida gem" as you indicated. Hope angels are surrounding you this evening!

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on February 16, 2015:

Very informative hub Peg, lovely images and great videos too. Love the sunrises and sunsets too. Looks like you had a great time spent at Fort Walton Beach. It reminds me of some beach towns in my own state of Queensland. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on February 16, 2015:

Lovely lovely spot to visit. It is one of our favorites. When my sister and I are on what we call our "world tour" we travel to many beach destinations and one of them is Ft. Walton.

So much to enjoy and such a relaxing spot

Thank you for showcasing this great little Florida gem

Voted up++++ Shared

Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 28, 2011:

Hi Micky,

Very pleased to hear that you enjoyed these pictures and memories of our time spent at Fort Walton Beach, Florida many years ago. Those white sand beaches are amazing! I liked the videos also. Thanks for your most generous comment and God bless you also.

Micky Dee on January 28, 2011:

Incredible hub Peggy. Your best always seems to be your latest. I think that means you're always on top of it! Great work Peggy. I like all the videos. God bless you!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 22, 2011:

Hello ImChemist,

Glad you liked these pictures of Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Thanks for the comment.

ImChemist on January 22, 2011:

Nice pictures , i like your family .. i hope me included in this pictures hahah

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 22, 2011:

Hi James,

Fort Walton Beach is a beautiful part of the world as you just said. Nice that you have also gotten to visit that part of Florida and enjoyed those dazzling white sand beaches. Nice to see you visiting here! Thanks for the comment.

James A Watkins from Chicago on January 22, 2011:

Definitely a beautiful part of the world. I have been there a number of times. Highly underrated as a vacation spot. Thank you for the splendid journey. I enjoyed it!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 21, 2011:

Hello katrinasui,

Fort Walton Beach is truly that...beautiful! Happy to hear that you enjoyed the pictures. Thanks for the comment.

katrinasui on January 21, 2011:

It is a beautiful place. The pictures are awesome.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 19, 2011:

Hello leahlefler,

This stretch of beaches from Fort Walton Beach to Destin, Florida are known for their pristine white sand beaches. All beaches are nice but if you wish to see something truly spectacular, put this on your list of places to see someday whether you do it this time on your way to Disney World...or another time. Thanks for the visit and comment. Disney World is a great place! I've written about some of our experiences there as well. Enjoy your trip!!!

Leah Lefler from Western New York on January 19, 2011:

We plan on taking a road trip down to FL one day (probably to Disney World with the kids), and want to visit a few Floridian beaches on our trip. This one is a little out-of-the-way, but it looks like it is worth the trip! Definitely one to put in the trip planning folder: thanks for the beautiful pictures and write-up!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 18, 2011:

Hello Angela,

Nice that you were able to experience similar vacations with your parents. Have you ever visited the area around Fort Walton Beach in Florida? Those dazzling white sand beaches are amazing! Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 18, 2011:

Hello agusfanani,

If you have a similar beach to Fort Walton Beach, Florida in your should write about it. Would love to see some pictures! Ah...yes...eating fresh seafood! Always a plus when one is near the water! Glad you liked this and thanks for the comment.

Angela_1973 on January 18, 2011:

Peggy, this is one of my favorite hubs of yours, it reminded me of my own childhood and vacations I spent with my parents on the beach.

agusfanani from Indonesia on January 18, 2011:

Good morning Peggy, what a beautiful beach Fort Walton has. It reminds me to a similar beach in my country which has similar, but has no fort, sand. Of course the seafood would be another reason to visit this beach If I had the chance. This is an awesome hub, thank you Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 17, 2011:

Hello Happyboomernurse,

Sounds like you had a great vacation in Florida. I've never been as far south as you just got to enjoy. Hope you write about your Florida adventures in future hubs! :-)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 17, 2011:

Hello Gus,

Sorry that your time in the Air Force did not take you to Fort Walton Beach, but thank you for your service to our country!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 17, 2011:

Hello getgoingcanada,

Nice to hear that you enjoyed the video I found showing the old scenery from Fort Walton Beach and I was happy to share my pictures and memories with you. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 17, 2011:

Hi Hello, hello,

Very happy to hear that you enjoyed this hub about Fort Walton Beach and could learn about some history as well as gaze at the beauty of the white sand and clear waters. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on January 17, 2011:

Having just returned from an awesome trip to Florida where we drove down to the Florida Keys, across the Everglades and up the gulf coast as far as Tampa, I enjoyed your trip down memory lane.

The beautiful smooth white sands and crystal clear gulf shore waters were truly breathtaking, especially at sunset.

Thanks for sharing your family photos.

Gustave Kilthau from USA on January 17, 2011:

Howdy Peggy - Thanks for this great visit to FWB. Had I had any great good luck when I was transferred around while in the AF, I might have made it to Eglin AFB and maybe seen the area with my own eyes. Your illustrated article shows me what I missed.

Gus :-)))

getgoingcanada on January 17, 2011:

Thanks for letting us stroll down memory lane with you. I love the old film photos... and the style of clothes too. It's all good.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on January 17, 2011:

Thank you for your splendid hub which contains everything, history, beautiful sceneries shown in your photos and so well described I felt I was there.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 17, 2011:

Hi Jamie,

Yes, reliving these memories of visiting Fort Walton Beach and walking on that dazzling white sand are good ones. The three of us had a great time as you can probably tell from the pictures.

Hope you get back to a Florida beach soon!

Jamie Brock from Texas on January 17, 2011:

Oh, how I envy you!! This beach is so beautiful.. I wish so much that I could see a real beach again. I have been to the beach one time and it was years ago when I was in high school.

We went to Coco Beach, FL. on our one and only family vacation. It was funny because I complained and really didn't want to leave home because of my boyfriend etc.. (high school stuff) and then once we got there I LOVED it so much that I didn't want to leave. In fact, I cried like a baby the day we left. There was just something about that place that made me feel so calm and so close to God. I swore one day I would come back to see the beach again. I would love to see Ft.Walton Beach..

I heard after that Coco Beach really wasn't even that great compared to some of the other beaches in Florida so this makes me want to go back that much more!

I love this hub.. thank you for sharing this! It's beautiful.. and I bet it felt great reliving those wonderful times.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 17, 2011:

Hello susannah,

Since you live in Florida, you must make it a point to go to Fort Walton Beach and play in that dazzling white sand and walk, swim, snorkel, fish or otherwise entertain yourself in those emerald green waters. It is quite an amazing site! Thanks for the visit.