USA Flag  Attractions of the Florida Panhandle Gulf Coast - Emerald Coast - 2




Fort Walton Beach Beasley Wayside Park Henderson Beach State Park Destin Seascape Resort Miramar Beach


If we had to sum up the attractions for this area it would be ... water, water, water. There is the beautiful emerald green ocean, courtesy of the Gulf of Mexico and the beautiful back bay waters of Choctawhatchee Bay. There are also bayous, passes, coves, canals and the Intracoastal Waterway. If saltwater is not your thing, you don't belong here.


Fishing originally was the big attraction. It should have been, too, except for those magnificent beaches of white sandy shorelines, shallow emerald waters and pillow-shaped sand dunes. While boat loads of folks still come to these shores for the pure pleasure of dropping bait in the water or for the thrill of the many fishing tournaments in the area, still far more seek the attractions of beach chairs and umbrellas in the soft, shimmering sands. Certainly some come just for a night or two, in the mood for shopping excursions, a few good hours of tennis or golf and a selection of some of the best in seafood. Don't forget the spring-break crowd, either, who come for well, let's just say there's something for everyone as long as they love sun, sand and sea.


This area has great resources available in its parks and recreational areas. There is a large amount of public land available directly on the Gulf of Mexico and back bay areas to allow anyone visiting this area to easily see and enjoy its natural beauty. Travel between the far edges of this area should take no more than thirty minutes. After crossing Eglin Air Force Base, there are more attractions inland from the coast including many golf courses, kayaking and canoeing in several rivers, the Blackwater River State Park in Blackwater River State Forest and the paved hiking/biking Blackwater Heritage State Trail, in Milton.



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Fort Walton Beach

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Pictures left to right show Fort Walton Beach views west to east on Santa Rosa Blvd. as taken from the pier.
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View down Route 98 The Gulfarium Okaloosa Island Pier at Fort Walton Beach
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View of the public beach complex.


Floyd's Shrimp House Birds included great blue heron, laughing gull and rock dove (pigeons).
Fort Walton Beach sits on the long barrier island known as Okaloosa Island. It is tucked under and south of Eglin Air Force Base. One of the old Florida tourist beaches, well known for its emerald green waters and bright white sand, it continues the tradition of welcoming vacationers today. Visitors to the area can find the attractions of Gulfarium, one of the oldest themed show aquariums, the Okaloosa Island Pier, the public beach and many indoor/outdoor restaurants set directly behind a large parking lot just off Route 98 on the beach.

John C. Beasley Wayside Park

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View of the pavilion and facilities.


View looking westward to pier.

View of Fort Walton Beach


Elevated boardwalk over dunes.

The John C. Beasley Wayside Park is directly east of Fort Walton Beach and from here one can get some nice views of the city.  While it is a nice-sized complex itself, with a full range of parking, picnic and sanitary facilities, its width seems expanded by its much larger neighbor directly  to the east, Henderson Beach State Park.

Henderson Beach State Park

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Henderson Beach State Park


View west to Ft. Walton Beach. White sands, emerald waters. Fort Walton Beach 
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View of the beach.


This park extends to East Pass across from Destin and dunes with scrub coverings are throughout.


Henderson Beach State Park extends from The eastern border of John C. Beasley Wayside Park to East Pass, directly across from Destin. The park has more than a mile of beachfront to walk and a three-quarter mile eco-trail through the dunes. The public beach area has parking, picnic and sanitary facilities. A separate entrance exists for campers and RV'ers for which the park provides sanitary facilities, a bathhouse, children's playground and a boardwalk access to the beach.


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Destin looks like a city of condos from Route 98.


Emerald waters year round. View of Destin Harbour
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Destin's fast access to the Gulf is through East Pass, its western border.


Beachfront house in Destin.

View of Destin neighborhood.

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Destin houses located off-water.


The most popular resort area along the Panhandle is Destin. Well known for its fishing and charter fleet, it is another of the older Panhandle cities whose ability to attract tourists has persisted through generations. Greatly built up from its earlier days, as is much of Florida's Panhandle along the Gulf Coast, it is a supremely clean-looking city with nary a cigarette butt littering its roadways. From its tidy, neatly kept residential neighborhoods to the huge condos by the ocean's edge, everything seems to be in order in Destin. Visitors here will find plenty of golf and tennis at the resorts; water sports and recreation vendors everywhere; arcades, thrilling rides and the ubiquitous miniature golf for the family.

Destin - Seascape Resort

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You'll recognize Seascape by the tall buildings and overwalk.


Appears to be just another day in paradise...
You can reach Seascape Resort by taking the Scenic Highway east out of Destin. You'll know you're in Seascape suddenly when the traffic builds, you spot the walkover and the complex of large buildings looms in front of you. Look south to find the Gulf of Mexico and hundreds of beach worshippers under the blue umbrellas. Water toys will be displayed just offshore. Drive a little further to spy the golf and tennis.

Miramar Beach

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A small beach town just east of Destin, Miramar Beach may be most famous for the shopping. Over 100 outlet shops join together as the nation's largest outlet center at Silver Sands Factory Stores in Miramar Beach.




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