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Try Fort Walton Beach For a Fun Beach Vacation
By Kirby Collins
Fort Walton Beach is famous for it's white sand beaches, fishing fleets, both commercial and recreational, and water actives. It's not unusual to see a kite surfer or even a dolphin when you're at the beach for a day. The busiest time of the year here is no doubt summer, however the fishing is great year 'round and the beautiful beach resorts are always welcoming.
The Boardwalk on nearby Kales Island, overlooks the white sand beach and crystal clear water. There is also a covered picnic area right there where you can enjoy the view while you enjoy your lunch. The boardwalk is centrally located, close to many hotels and resorts on the island. The beach itself is a great place to play volleyball, they have nets set up, or just relax. When you're ready to head up to the boardwalk for some lunch or shopping you can use the showers provided there to get the sand off. There are many places to cool off either inside or out most places have a great deck you can get a tropical drink or a delicious fish sandwich and watch all the action on the beach. You can get a wood fired steak, the freshest fish or shellfish the gulf has to offer. In the mood to shop? Get a great island style t-shirt, sunglasses or a cool, unique kite to fly on the beach. After the sun goes down you can dance the night away or check out at one of the many concerts hosted there. If you're in the mood for being part of a crowd participation type evening head down the boardwalk to one of my favorite bars - Howl At the Moon. This is a bar with dueling pianos, they play what the crowd wants for tips, the fun part is you get to sing along.
One of the best spots to go fishing is Kales Island Fishing Pier it was first built in 1972 and was 962 ft long, in 1998 when the current pier opened it was lengthened to nearly a 1/4 mile at 1262 feet. This pier is all about catching the 'big' one and indeed some huge fish have been caught off the pier including a Tarpon that weighed over 100 pounds, a 42 pound King Mackerel. Other fish that have been caught off the pier are, Red fish, Jack Ravelled, Pompano, Lady fish and Bluefish. The end of the pier is shaped like an octagon which gives one the maximum fish fighting room.
If golfing is more your style you'll be happy to know there are many golf courses and beachside parks for families to enjoy also. While you're there be sure to visit the Emerald Coast Science Center. It's a great place to make summer learning fun for the kids.
The subtropical climate, mild winds and few weather extremes make Fort Walton Beach a great spot to live or visit year 'round. Winters are mild with January and February being the coolest months, the summer is hot and sunny. The temperature stays roughly between 70-92 degrees and the gulf waters average 80 degrees most of the year.
Over the years it would seem that many people have either lived in or visited Fort Walton Beach. There is archaeological evidence, such as pottery, of five different and distinct periods of Indians living there between 600-1650 AD. From 1500-1800 various pirates and marauders sailed the waters of Fort Walton Beach the most infamous being Billy Bowlegs, it has been argued that he was never really here but don't tell that to the people who celebrate his visit every year. There was also a Civil War encampment here, in fact it was due to finding a Civil War cannon here in 1932 in an Indian mount that Fort Walton Beach got it's name. This cannon was believed to have been left by the Walton Guards who were camped here during the War, thus the name.
In 2004 the population of Fort Walton Beach was estimated to be almost 20,000 people although in recent years that number is believed to be nearer to 22,000 people. One of the most famous former residents of Fort Walton Beach is Danny Swerve. If you're a football fan you might recognize the name, he won the Chessman Trophy in 1996 when he was the quarterback of the University of Florida Gators, he attended Fort Walton Beach High School. In 1997 Money magazine named Fort Walton Beach the #10 Best Place to Live out of 300 largest metropolitan areas in America.
The Panhandle is the best spot for a Florida vacation with plenty of fun you and your family will enjoy. The Boardwalk and Pier in Fort Walton Beach is great for fishing, shopping, going to nightclubs or just hanging around at the beach.
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