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Ft Walton vs Destin

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NC mountains
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Ft Walton vs Destin

Hi All!

What is the difference between Fort Walton and Destin? I assume they are neighboring towns. Are they both oceanfront, or is one on an inland waterway?

After a friend's input, we are leaning toward FW, but I wanted to make sure we could find an oceanfront place.

Also: Hubby and I usually stay in small oceanfront motels. We just like the vibe better than large resorts, and I don't do elevators. :P

Even at the large beaches (like Myrtle), we have found our favorite oceanfront motels. You know, like the vintage 2-story motels with nice, large balconies.

We don't need a pool, just a clean place with a great balcony and view.

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Midwest
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1. Re: Ft Walton vs Destin

Well you will certainly get strong conflicting opinions on this & here's mine:

What you are describing is the FWB atmosphere. When you are saying FWB this is also Okaloosa Island. For the most part, it is a 2 mile stretch of road that dead ends (Santa Rosa Blvd). This means no thru traffic :-) At the dead end, the Island continues on for MILES but undeveloped, so if you are at the west end, you can walk for MILES on undeveloped Island... nothing but white sand.

Also, there is a height restriction so no bldgs are over 6-7 stories tall on the Island. This allows for fewer people on the beach. And almost every resort is directly on the beach! Most are condos but more affordable than a hotel room in many cases. A good place to look is www.vrbo.com.

A lower floor at most any of them would probably suit you just fine. A smaller ocean front bldg that comes to mind is Island Sands. Most 1st floor units at most resorts would have an obstructed view due to the sand dune.

Destin is a much more hectic atmosphere... much more active & more traffic. But it is only 5 miles away. Plenty to do & good restaurants on the island, but Destin is an easy drive for more choices.

Just my 2 cents :-)

NC mountains
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2. Re: Ft Walton vs Destin

Thanks thinkin! :)

VRBO confused me because properties are either classified Fort Walton Beach or Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island. What's the difference? Do you remember any motels on FWB or is it mostly condos?

Midwest
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3. Re: Ft Walton vs Destin

Not sure why it is divided on vrbo but they are all the same place.... 98% of the condos are in FWB ON Okaloosa Island.

There is a Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort, a Best Western, & I think Sheraton. All look to be higher end accommodations. I've never been inside any of them. There are some low end, non-chain places, across the street from the beach. They all appear questionable from the outside.

In town, not on the island, there are other hotels... Hampton Inn, Best Inn, & some no-name older places.

Little Rock...
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4. Re: Ft Walton vs Destin

I agree with thinkin'vacation. When I read your post I also thought of Island Sands condo would probably be a good choice for you. It's a couple of buildings down from where we stay every year & the beach there is not as crowded. When you search vrbo.com click on Ft. Walton/Okaloosa Island & click on search by Neighborhood & it should have all the condos alphabetically listed so you can quickly look @ Island Sands listings. From the rates I've seen it's cheaper to rent a condo than stay in a hotel. Plus the bigger the building probably means more people on the beach. That's one reason I prefer the smaller condos.

There is also a Ramada Hotel that is on the beach, but it's close the pier & that area is more crowded.

Good Luck & hope you get to visit Ft. Walton, we love it there.

Florida
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5. Re: Ft Walton vs Destin

I am going to agree totally with FWB over Destin...The traffic in Destin is a nightmare and the public beaches are just about gone! The gulf front places will all by on Okaloosa Island but you can find some pretty Intercaostal Waterway views in FWB proper. I would do a blackle.com search on the Chamber of Commerce for both and see what they offer for info. I would like to let you know that all of that undeveloped beach on the island belongs to Eglin AFB. You may walk the beach as much as you like as long as you stay below the tide line. There are protected shorebirds nesting there during the summer as well as sea turtles, it is a beautiful stretch of what used to be! If you find a specific place that you need additional info on, post it and I will do what I can to check it out for you. I am planning a trip to the Redwoods and am relying heavily on help from the locals over there, so I am trying to "pay it forward" by helping people looking to visit the Emerald Coast. Good luck and enjoy your trip!

NC mountains
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6. Re: Ft Walton vs Destin

Thanks thinkin, Sandy, and Floridian! We will definitely go with FWB, and we're leaning towards Island Sands. Now if we can just decide the best time of year to come. ;)

Midwest
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7. Re: Ft Walton vs Destin

As for the time of year to come.... You can look at a weather websites to see average temps. Altho they seem to be all over the place anymore & you can't count on temps anywhere. The 3 summer months are definitely more busy with family vacationers & this season has the highest rates.

We love the fall (Sept thru Nov) as the water & air temps are still warm & there is practically no one around. Late April or early May can be like that, too. And during the winter months (I'm not sure exactly from what month to what month) the sun rises & sets out over the Gulf. There is NOTHING like it!!!

Each part of the year has a special reason for being there ;-)

Macon, Georgia
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8. Re: Ft Walton vs Destin

Destin is beautiful with gorgeous high rises and is more expensive than FWB. i love both but for me FWB is my speed. it is quieter and not so many "young folks".

Florida
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9. Re: Ft Walton vs Destin

I live in Niceville right across the MidBay bridge from Destin,and thought I'd let out of towners know the difference...Fort Walton beach is an older town,Okaloosa island is nice but i much prefer Destin and no the beaches are not almost gone. The nicest part of Destin is the East end ,on old 98 plenty of public access beaches and tons of great places to eat,near the outlets,the track,mini gold etc...

oklahoma girl at...
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10. Re: Ft Walton vs Destin

Where do the Bella Riva condos fall on this beach - are they towards the west end?

thanks!