In 1950, then U.S. Representative Robert F. Sikes acquired Okaloosa Island for Okaloosa County. Okaloosa Island is a narrow three-mile island between the cities of Fort Walton Beach and Destin, Florida. Okaloosa Island, also recognized as Santa Rosa Island, supports sandy white beaches and a portion is a part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The island serves as a barrier between Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and is home to many species of wildlife. Okaloosa Island also has several public beach accesses and parks. Bring a beach chair, a float, and a cooler to relax on the quiet calm of the island from 8 a.m. to sunset.
Adventure and excitement await when you visit the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier. The pier spans 1262 feet into the Gulf's temperate waters. For just eight dollars, anglers can walk out onto the pier and get closer to their catch of the day. From high above the water, test your skills against large game fish like tarpon, tuna, king mackerel, cobia, redfish, bonito, and jack crevalle. With luck, you could even reel in the rare sailfish. Pier fishers can usually catch Spanish mackerel, whiting, or bluefish on an average day. Some pier fishing is specialized, with anglers focusing exclusively on the pompano, a fish beloved by chefs for its flavor, flaked texture, and versatility. Even if you did not bring your rod and tackle box, the pier supplies rods, cut bait and tackle rentals at an additional charge.
Not everyone comes to the pier to fish, and that's okay! Two dollars pays for a walk down the pier to enjoy the beautiful views of Okaloosa Island and The Boardwalk, as well as catch glimpses of playful dolphins and tranquil sea turtles. For a real treat, come out during the evening and enjoy a sunset stroll as it sinks ever lower into the water.
Need a good way to lose yourself to vacation fun? The Okaloosa Island Boardwalk can be summed up in four simple words: Great food. Spectacular views.
Here’s a taste of the eateries on the Boardwalk:
Tacos and margaritas are a match made in heaven, but what happens when you have them on the Gulf? They start rockin. Rockin' Tacos delivers meat, fish, and even gator to your plate with signature margaritas and unparalleled views.
The Crab Trap serves up fresh Gulf-to-table dishes like Gulf Grouper, Amberjack, or their catch of the day!
This is just the beginning. Find the Okaloosa Island restaurant that’s right for you.
When you’re done getting your grub on, go shopping on the Okaloosa Island Boardwalk. Beach apparel and outerwear can be found at stores like Islanders or Surfside, but Kittyhawk Kites features a unique selection of kite, gliders, and water toys. The Boardwalk also has full beach access for sunbathing or adventures on the water.
Getting out on the water is one of the best ways to experience the local area. Snorkel trips, pontoon rentals, and fishing charters from Island Time allow you and your party get your adventure underway! The Gulfarium brings people closer to the sea life encountered just off the coast of Okaloosa Island’s emerald waters with its many aquariums and live dolphin performances. For a beach casual-upscale dining experience on the water, check out The Gulf. This patio-style restaurant is the perfect place to catch a happy hour while relaxing on a couch facing the water. Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone provides a rope course, miniature golf, and arcade to get you back to the excitement.