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Need some guidance...

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Need some guidance...

I've never visited the FL panhandle and I'm gathering that Fort Walton Beach is probably the best selection for a more quiet, less crowed beach vacation. I'm not into the Miami scene - bars aren't important and activities are nice on occasion but my kids are content just playing in the sand. We definitely want to stay gulf front. Any recommendations on family friendly gulf front condos for next summer? Kids are 4 & 6.

Thanks in advance!!!

Saint Louis...
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1. Re: Need some guidance...

We just left there. Had a wonderful week. Stayed at the Emerald Towers West. Place was empty. Had the beach almost to ourselves. All units are gulf fronts. Very clean and well maintained. I would look on VRBO.

It's on Okaloosa Island. White sugar sand beaches. If you need more info just let me know. We booked through a local company and it had a lot of extras thrown in. Free beach service. Dolphin cruise. You'll have q great time. We always go after the Labor day Holliday. Rates are cheaper

Edited: 2:53 pm, September 17, 2013
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2. Re: Need some guidance...

We always stay at the El Matador. The entire area is very family friendly. A couple of resorts with mini-waterparks are Waterscape & Destin West. The kids would love those! But if budget doesn't allow, any of the resorts would be great!

If you find something that looks good, just post here for opinions :-)

Great to plan ahead!

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3. Re: Need some guidance...

If you're anti-Miami then Okaloosa Island is exactly your speed! Summer week will start to fill really quickly once the calendar turns to 2014 believe it or not. There are so many great options and all of them are family friendly. I would start looking on VRBO, determine your price range, and read reviews!

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4. Re: Need some guidance...

Awesome!!! Thanks for all the great tips/insight! I can't wait to start planning :)

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5. Re: Need some guidance...

We have a 6 year old and stayed last year at Waterscape. We are going back next summer and he is insisting we go to Waterscape again. He loved the lilly pads play area/pool and lazy river. We stayed in unit A530 and really like the location close to the parking garage. Really the resort isn't that big (compared to some others we have stayed at) so I don't think anything is that far. It had 1 bedroom and a bunk area off the hall with 2 full bath rooms.

I also heard Destin West is nice but you have to choose Bay or Gulf side and it looked big to me.

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6. Re: Need some guidance...

You might check with Dave and Ginnie Davis at Beachbums Hideaway on Okaloosa. They have a unit at Waterscape that an agency rents out for them. Just do a google search for Beach Bums Hideaway Okaloosa and contact them. Also if you want family beach portraits, Dave does a great job. Old Man and the Sea Photography. Good luck. Beach Bums Hideaway is right next to Emerald Towers West.

Fort Walton Beach...
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7. Re: Need some guidance...

As some other reviewers commented, FWB is certainly the opposite of South FL. Although from June to August is our busiest season for sure. While it is still as crazy as S. Florida, you will have a lot more traffic and longer lines at restaurants during those months.

Make sure, if you have not already booked, you are on Okaloosa Island or at least close to our Pier. If you have booked in the FWB town, you may be getting an older, dirtier hotel that is not in the best area. Destin is a nice area as well, and actually a prettier area. If you were coming with all adults, I would advise you to rethink staying in FWB and go there. But if you truly want a vacation sitting on the beach every day, FWB will be slightly less crowded. Just as an extra suggestion, www.airbnb.com has condos, apartments and homes for rent, by the day or week. Many times they can be cheaper than a hotel and you will get a full kitchen and may even have a washer and dryer. Usually they come fully stocked (except food).

If you do get a place on the beach in FWB, you will be right there close to the Pier. Their are shops, and restaurants. There is also the Gulfarium. And by the time you get here, they are now working on a miniature golf course across from that area, that should be ready to use. And if you are not from this area, you may want to consider one day to drive to Destin to go to the Big Kahuna's. It is a water park and the kids tend to love it and it stays pretty busy during the summer. FWB also has a hands on science center for kids located not far off the bridge into town. And if for any reason you are all burned and need a day away from the sun, about 30 minutes west of FWB is The Zoo. It is not the San Diego zoo, but big enough and a good enough variety of animals for the kids to enjoy. (located in Gulf Breeze) If you have boys and they like military planes, FWB has an armament museum with all sort of planes and history. A bit farther drive is Pensacola (an hour) here they have one of the best air museums around. If you are there on a Wed, you may get to see the Blue Angels practice, and your kids may have a chance to meet the pilots afterwards. (all free)

Hope all of you have fun!

8. Re: Need some guidance...

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