For two Summers straight, we have been lucky enough to spend a month at the beach! Okaloosa Island is my favorite beach on the East Coast.
If you would like to the get best deal on a wonderful condo, let me suggest VRBO, which stands for Vacation Rentals By Owner! These units are privately owned but managed by management companies and directly rented by owners. They are clean, beautiful and much cheaper that those rented by rental agencies/realtors in the area. We have actually done this three times and have been more than pleased with the result.
If my son doesn't come up with some other plan, we will probably spend Thanksgiving on Okaloosa Island again this year. Ft. Walton Beach has a really nice Thanksgiving Dinner on the Pier each year a couple days before Thanksgiving which is FREE to anyone who wants to come. The take DONATIONS from those who want to/can afford it to help defray the cost to the City. I was so impressed with this because there are so many homeless and hungry people, especially in the warmer states where they go to avoid the freezing weather. It is a kind and charitable thing to do, and Ft. Walton seems to be a kind city.
We love our Sundays on Okaloosa Island. Waking up early, you can watch the dolphins play offshore. They seem to have such joy in living! There are large swarms of tiny fish sometimes splashing up the coast, making quite a racket as they shimmer, jumping and swimming by. After the joy of watching the beautiful wildlife, we like to dress and head for Big City American Bistro. The Sunday Brunch there is Out of This World! The atmosphere is lovely and ecclectic, the servers (especially Casey!) are attentive and professional and the Mimosas are only $7 for all you want!
The cost of $15.95 is really reasonable when you see the huge selection of high quality food available. There is an Omelette station where they make the best omelettes with great ingredients including shrimp, spinach and cheeses. There are fresh salads and soups and fresh sliced roast beef, turkey, and fish. So much to choose from that it is hard to decide, and each bite delicious. For those of you who love dessert, there is a fabulous dessert table, and they always seem to have the most sweet, huge strawberries with chocolate fondue! Cakes, pies, and pastries galore will tempt anyone who tries to resist!
After lunch, if you can still walk (and you probably need to!) go to the City Park on Brooks Street and stroll along the Bay or out on the dock, or, if you really are too full to walk, sit on one of the picnic tables under the huge spreading oaks and watch the boaters go by. It makes for a marvelous day! Sometimes there will even be a band on the bandstand in the center of park. Ft. Walton has more parks than most Southern Cities, and they are all meticulously maintained.
So, take a weekend soon or even a week and head South to Ft. Walton and Okaloosa Island and take in the beauty and peace available there. You won't regret it!!