Our exciting — yet relaxing — family vacation at Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
I take my daughters on a vacation every year. Most of the time we end up at Disney World but this year COVID made sure that did not happen. When I asked the girls what they wanted to do instead it was a unanimous answer: White Sand and Clear Water.
We wanted a destination we could drive to without spending an insane amount of time in the car and somewhere that would not break the bank. I asked for recommendations from friends and family online and one beach destination came up repeatedly, Destin, Florida.
I began researching hotels that were on the beach and landed in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. This is about a 7-minute drive from Destin and shares the same white sands and emerald waters but is much less crowded. We ended up booking our reservations at The Island by Hotel RL in Fort Walton Beach and loved every second of it. Destin/Fort Walton Beach is only a 9-hour drive from Houston. We left at 5am and got there around 1:45 pm and had time for lunch and souvenir shopping before we checked into our hotel.
The hotel itself is an older hotel but it has been remodeled and it shows. The rooms are spacious with tiled floors throughout and large walk in showers. We booked a beach view room with a balcony and were mesmerized with how beautiful the beach was. From our room we could see white sand and crystal-clear emerald waters and could not wait to get out there. I sat on the patio every morning and watched the dolphins jumping in the water, the experience was magical.
The sand was white and soft and everything we wanted when we imagined white sand beaches. The water was beautiful, refreshing and so clear we could see seashells and fish swimming by. The beach had vacation goers on it, but it was not packed and there was plenty of room to swim around and explore as a family without getting in anyone’s way or bumping into another group.
One of our favorite activities was parasailing at Wet-N-Wild Watersports in Destin. It was a first for all of us and whatever nerves we had were quickly squashed by the friendly and knowledgeable staff. They were extremely welcoming and genuinely seemed excited to have us on board their boat.
The entire experience was fun, from the endless view of the bay and the ocean, to the dunk in the water at the end, our first time was amazing, and we cannot wait to go again. If there is one thing I would have changed is that we went parasailing on the Gulf side and not the bay side. We could see the clear waters of the Gulf from our location but since we were in the bay, we could not see into the water to catch a glimpse of fish or dolphins.
Overall, our trip to Fort Walton Beach, Florida was everything we hoped for and we will visit again.