Visiting Fort Walton Beach, Florida ~ Dazzling White Sand
The Emerald Coast
Several times Fort Walton Beach has been on the route between our home in Houston, Texas and our destination of various places in Florida. One particular year in 1986, my mother, niece and I actually 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.
So please pardon this reverie and come along for the ride if you are so inclined to see the beauty of what is known as part of the Emerald Coast.
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 which has been broken down over eons of time into small 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.
It is some of the cleanest and softest and brightest sand that one is likely to encounter almost anywhere which is why people have been coming to this location for years.
This sand is matched 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 wondrous white sands make for a beautiful and scenic combination!
Indian Temple Mound & Museum
An interesting bit of Indian history can be found right in the town of Fort Walton Beach. An Indian Temple Mound and Museum dominates the normal sea level topography of this place.
It is thought 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 of the mound.
It also serves as a repository for bones of the deceased. Pottery shards and other remnants are what give archaeologists an idea of the timeline when this mound was actively in use.
Today the Indian Temple Mound is sheltered and protected with a structure built over the top of it and a museum shows many artifacts from not only that area but elsewhere as well.
Obviously native peoples relished this gorgeous spot now called Fort Walton Beach in previous centuries much as do tourists of 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 be drawn to this spot.
Charter boats do not have to venture that far from shore to hit deep waters where such fish as sailfish, marlins and others are typically caught.
Onshore fishing provides great catches of tarpon, bluefish and others.
- Water-sports abound in this area.
Diving and snorkeling are a natural in these clear waters and swimming is a delight.
For those who are inclined to spend more of their time on land instead of in and around the water, there is tennis and golfing among other sporting diversions.
- Like to shop? No problem!
Fort Walton Beach provides all kind of shops selling the normal t-shirts and shell necklaces to almost anything else residents of these parts as well as tourists might wish to acquire.
- Naturally one will find the freshest of seafood as well as other delectables in many of the dining establishments.
- Numerous lodgings are provided 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.
Naturally we spent some time on the beach and while we did not engage in creating sand castles of our own, we certainly got to admire those made from the handiwork of others.
Fun Things to Do
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.
Glorious Sunsets and Sunrises!
Anyone getting up early enough to see the sunrises in Fort Walton Beach are in for a treat!
The same can be said 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. Hope you enjoyed these pictures and memories.
Great collection of photos from Fort Walton Beach in this video
Have you ever visited Fort Walton Beach?
© 2011 Peggy Woods