The Best Places to Stay in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

The Island by Hotel RL is a stalwart among the best places to stay in Fort Walton Beach, Florida
The Island by Hotel RL is a stalwart among the best places to stay in Fort Walton Beach, Florida | Courtesy of the Island by Hotel RL / Expedia
Photo of Michelle Juergen
5 November 2021
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Nestled in the Florida Panhandle, Fort Walton Beach may be small, but it packs a mighty punch. There’s something for everyone, from tanning on white-sand beaches and meeting sharks, penguins and gators – from a safe distance – at the marine park, to learning about Native American and World War II history at significant local sites. Not sure where to stay? Fear not: we’ve got you covered with our picks for the best hotels in Fort Walton Beach, bookable on Culture Trip.

South Beach 501 by Brooks and Shorey Resorts, for condo cool

The traditionally furnished bedroom of South Beach 501 by Brooks and Shorey Resorts
Courtesy of South Beach 501 by Brooks and Shorey Resorts / Expedia

If you’re looking for beachfront paradise, you can’t get much closer than this three-bedroom, four-bathroom condominium set right above the alabaster sands of Okaloosa Island. Sip coffee on the sea-view balcony before stepping out for a dip in the Gulf of Mexico. But we won’t judge if you decide to never leave the condo, which comes complete with a full kitchen, washer/dryer and access to an outdoor pool, barbecues and even on-site banking services.

Courtyard Fort Walton Beach-West Destin, for deep blue views

The enclosed outdoor pool area at Courtyard Fort Walton Beach-West Destin
Courtesy of Courtyard Fort Walton Beach-West Destin / Expedia

Soak up unspoiled views of the sunrise and sunset over the Gulf’s emerald waters from the comfort of this modern beachfront hotel. Courtyard Fort Walton Beach has all the trappings you expect from a Marriott property, like Starbucks coffee, a snack store and a business center, as well as media pods, innovative GoBoards, a boarding pass station and a theater lounge. Rooms feature whites, neutrals and pastels that reflect the seaside just beyond your door.

Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach, for aquarium access

Balcony space of modern, multi-story Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach
Courtesy of Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach / Expedia

If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the Panhandle. Or, book a hotel like Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach, which offers multiple ways to cool off. With beachfront access, an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, lazy river and hot tub, you can stay submerged like one of the sea creatures at the nearby Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. We recommend doing so with the Professor’s Piña Colada Punch from on-site Gilligan’s Tiki Bar.

Wyndham Garden Fort Walton Beach Destin, for kid-friendly fun

King bedroom with traditional dark wood furniture at Wyndham Garden Fort Walton Beach Destin
Courtesy of Wyndham Garden Fort Walton Beach Destin / Expedia

A favorite of wayfaring families, this resort has everything multigenerational groups could want, including free bikes to use, free lounge chairs and umbrellas, free DVD rentals, 25-cent arcade games (what a time to be alive!), a poolside DJ and a photo booth. Send the little ones to the kids’ club while teens hit the two outdoor pools, rockslide and hot tub. Then, get the whole gang together for coconut shrimp at Crab Island Café before poolside bingo, karaoke or an outdoor movie at sunset.

Four Points by Sheraton Destin-Fort Walton Beach, for serene seaside vibes

Outdoor pool area of Four Points by Sheraton Destin-Fort Walton Beach
Courtesy of Four Points by Sheraton Destin-Fort Walton Beach / Expedia

A lush courtyard and modern rooms accented with soothing seaside colors draw business and leisure travelers alike, who stay for the three on-site restaurants, two pools and hot tub. Not all buildings offer beach-view rooms, but with the sugar-white sands literally steps away, you can easily get your fill of waves and rays. Seeking a different type of ray? Head to the Gulfarium, located right next door, for snorkeling with stingrays or a magical dolphin encounter.

The Island by Hotel RL, for a mer-morable stay

Aerial view of the Island by Hotel RL's expansive pool area with rock formation and white-sand beach in the background
Courtesy of the Island by Hotel RL / Expedia

The Island has been a beloved staple of the shoreside since 1966, and for good reason: touting retro flair with modern enhancements, it’s the perfect locale for anything from a family vacation or a couples’ getaway, to a laid-back work event or even a wedding. Make a family vacation epically enchanted by booking the hotel’s Mer-mazing Vacation Package, where kids can meet Mermaid Misty before they drift into dreamland at your upgraded poolside or beachfront accommodation.

Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach, an IHG Hotel, for kitsch colors

The lazy river pool at Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach
Courtesy of Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach / Expedia

Upon entering Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach, you’ll be greeted by the cheery, funky turquoise decor that reflects the beachfront lazy river pool and Gulf waters awaiting you just outside. Cozy rooms showcase the same pops of aquamarine colors. A stay here offers access to a fun mix of kid- and adult-friendly activities, from “dive-in” movies, table tennis and an arcade room, to a fitness center, cocktail lounge and beachside tiki bar.

Destin West Vacations, for rooftop relaxing

Overhead view of Destin West Vacations' large pool area with a beach-style entry and lazy river
Courtesy of Destin West Vacations / Expedia

Destin West Vacations presents vacation rentals that suit any globetrotter’s desires. From studios and multi-bedroom condos to penthouse suites with private hot tubs on a roof terrace, the offerings run the gamut, and the management company works with clients to set up their ideal vacation home base. Looking for resort amenities, fishing, golfing, swimming or just lazing at the beach? It’s all here. Pro tip: Ask about government, military and group discounts, as well as honeymoon packages.

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