Life’s a beach, especially on the emerald-green shores of Fort Walton Beach. While visiting one of Florida’s most pristine vacation areas, you’re sure to enjoy the thrills of parasailing in Fort Walton Beach, and many other Fort Walton Beach water sports made available. When it comes time to wind down from the rush you may wonder how? In an area covered by pillowy sand, the answer is clear. Chill out by lying on the beach, of course. It can be hard to find a beach that’s not private, which is why we’ve researched the best public beaches near Fort Walton Beach for you. Did you know that you can rent our Fort Walton Beach pontoon boats for half a day? This makes it perfect for booking a pontoon boat rental before or after the beach!
Best Public Beaches Near Fort Walton Beach
June White Decker Park
A beach named after June White Decker, the owner, and operator of June’s Dunes and an advocate for animals and the environment. This beach is best for those who want a smaller area to navigate. The beach is easy to explore, with free parking and restrooms. If you’re looking to bike your way over, the June White Decker Park beach also has a place to park them with their bike racks. After a few hours of basking in the sun, you might get hungry, and thankfully, there’s a restaurant nearby called The Back Porch that serves up delicious seafood items like grouper and snapper Florentine. This beach is perfect for a quick trip to enjoy with a time crunch.
Norriego Point Beach Access and Park
This beach has been around since Florida was owned by Spain. Originally named Noriega Point after the nobleman Don Jose Noriega, mapmakers eventually let go of the ‘a’ and added an ‘o’. The Norriego Point Beach Access and Park Beach are perfectly located toward the end of Holiday Isle. Depending on which side you’re on, you might be facing either the Destin harbor or the East Pass that leads into the gulf. The waters at Norriego Point Beach Access and Park are known to be calm due to the inlets of water protected by the Destin jetties. This beach is more for an island feel, no frills, just pure paradise.
O’Steen Public Beach Access
The beach in question is hoping you like jetties because, at O’Steen Public Beach Access, there is plenty to choose from. What is a jetty? You may ask, it’s a landing stage or a small pier, which is built to protect against erosion from currents, tides, and waves. So not only is O’Steen Public Beach beautiful, but it’s here to stay. The jetties also serve as man-made reefs, making it the perfect spot for snorkeling. We know you’re probably tired of hearing about the wonders of jetties, but they also help calm the waters, which is great for the kiddos. The parking lot is a tad far away, however, it’s a journey that’s worth it. There isn’t very much nearby, so be sure to pack some snacks.
Henderson Beach State Park
If you’ve ever been to Fort Walton Beach, you’ve probably heard of Henderson Beach State Park, and there’s a reason why; it’s beautiful. The beach is named after Sir Chris Ashley Henderson, and the land was acquired by Burnet Henderson, a businessman in the 1930s. Today, the beach is meant to preserve the area’s natural features, along with, of course, bringing joy and recreation. The white sandy beach is visited by vacationers and locals year-round. The Henderson Beach State Park beach has 30-foot dunes, a nature trail, and 50 campsites. There is a small parking fee, but it is well worth it for the convenience. When it comes to food nearby there’s Fudpucker’s and La Famiglia Italian restaurant. Head over and see why this beach makes it onto so many of the lists.
James Lee Beach
Just off Destin’s gorgeous Scenic Highway 98 rests this timeless beach. When it comes to things to do, James Lee Beach has it all: swimming, fishing, boating, sandcastles, and so much more. If you’re gathering a crew and want a nice, shaded area near the beach, check out one of their pavilions. No need to worry about finding a restroom because this beach has those along with multiple points of access for convenience, depending on what direction you’re coming from. Parking is abundant at this beach, so never fret about spending hours searching for a spot. What’s nearby for Nosh? The Crab Trap Destin is a popular spot to chow down and hang nearby, serving up your basic seafood and classic beachside cocktails.
This next spot is for those who want to live life like a queen or a princess. Princess Beach is known not just for its regal title but for its untainted white sand and emerald waters. This beach is a hidden treasure and holds dunes. All of this beauty is only accessible by a small dirt-like road and can be difficult to see, making the mystic of Princess Beach all the more desirable. Princess Beach does not contain any of the normal accommodations, but that’s simply a part of its hidden island allure. Head over and see the getaway-from-humans beach for yourself.
Explore one of the fantastic beach options mentioned above, and who knows, you might just stumble upon a hidden treasure along the shoreline.