The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island is vacationing made easy. No passport needed for the most beautiful beach in Florida. Breath taking blue-green waters and a bleach white sandy beach can all be found right here on Okaloosa Island located between Ft. Walton Beach and Destin, Florida.
Okaloosa Island sits just below the panhandle giving it the East morning sunrise and the West sunsets pleasing the morning bloody mary drinkers and the martini sunset lovers. This island is recommended for the relaxing slower pace and less congestion than it’s neighboring destination Destin, FL.
Destin is just a bridge away and Ft. Walton Beach is just west across another bridge if you need to venture off the island for some surrounding adventure. There are so many hidden gems on this island to enjoy from free parking and public beach access to beach stores and a large variety of restaurants.
Never a reason to leave the island or the beach. We decided to just spend the day at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. The Boardwalk offers beautiful beach access, free parking and public restrooms/dressing areas, which includes a shaded area with picnic tables and a playground.
The Boardwalk includes an ice cream shop, restaurants and shopping all in it’s large building structure right next door to the island pier attached to Angler’s Beachside Grill & Sports Bar.
We were on vacation and wanting to try it all. Walking in the main entrance is a map and framed menus of the five restaurants located in The Boardwalk. This is where we studied the menus and set off on our journey to explore each restaurant for their diversity.
All plans start out good and tend to sway a bit and ours was no different. The Crab Trap, Rockin’ Taco and Lobster Tail are all located up stairs (they do have an elevator) with spectacular views of the Emerald Coast line. Pino Gelato at the beach, Al’s Beach Club – Burger Bar and Floyd’s Shrimp House are located on beach level although Floyd’s includes a special upper deck with a bar and seating area for a stunning beach views.
1. The Crab Trap at The Boardwalk
The Crab Trap in centrally located in the Boardwalk with beach front access for to-go or dine-in. The Emerald Coast top shelf margarita sounded like the perfect cocktail with it’s hosting of Sauza signature blue silver tequila, blue curacao, splash of OJ, sweet & sour and lime juice. Tasty and tangy way to enjoy the warm afternoon beach breeze.
We paired our margarita with their crab trap star appetizer Hot Crab Dip served with pita chips. The Hot Crab Dip is melted with fresh crab meat, cream cheese, fresh basil, red peppers and green onions. So rich and creamy full of flavor that you just feel a little guilty eating it all, but you deserve it. The cocktail and the appetizer paired very well together giving the relaxed beach resort feeling.
2. Rockin’ Taco at The Boardwalk
Vacation food firsts are sometimes scary to try because you’re on vacation and don’t want to ruin your trip with an upset tummy. Mexican food is something we love to enjoy more than once a week, but not all regions have that fabulous Tex-Mex style and flavors. Rockin’ Taco was not in the plan until we noticed two items we had never heard of before: white sangria and fried avocado fries. With so much curiosity we added Rockin’ Taco to the Trop Rockin’ taste test.
Wow, we were amazed and shocked with this appetizer and great pairing with red or white sangria. The Blanco sangria is a white wine blended with brandy and fresh fruits. Not too sweet, just crisp with a fruity dry back. The Avocado Fries were crunchy on the outside and silky but firm on the inside, served with specialty sauces of chipotle aioli and cilantro crema for dipping. These sauces are made in-house with their own special recipes and they are delicious. We weren’t expecting to try fried slices of avocado, but once we did we fell in love with the flavor and concept. There is a secret and a perfection of timing to these avocado fries that makes them just right inside and out.
The chips and salsa were crispy served with a smoky flavored salsa inviting us to indulge as we took in the perfect beach views. The large outdoor deck offers tables and high top seating with umbrellas for casting plenty of shade. Really a great find and topped our adventurous side.
3. Angler’s Beachside Grill & Sports Bar at The Pier
Strolling off The Boardwalk over to the pier, we stopped for an Angler’s Beachside Grill & Sports Bar cocktail. Feeling the whole beach vibe and vacation spirit we tried their Okaloosa Beach Tea and their famous frozen Strawberry Daiquiri. Neither disappointed with our expectations of vacation cocktails.
The Okaloosa Beach Tea was a normal blend of vodka, rum, gin, tequila, triple sec, sour mix, cola and a lemon slice. The difference is the gin choice of using Bombay Sapphire in the top shelf drink. Changes the taste “enough to be Okaloosa Island good” replied the bartender when I asked what the difference was between Long Island Tea and Okaloosa Island Tea. My Strawberry Daiquiri was made with fresh strawberries instead of a sugary puree strawberry mix which made my cocktail taste refreshingly beach healthy.
Angler’s offers a pleasant arrangement of seating areas located on the pier, indoors, screened in patio or open patio. A stroll on the pier has an access price with spectacular views and a chance to see up close catches from the daily pier fishers.
4. Floyd’s Shrimp House at The Boardwalk
Floyd’s Shrimp House is the stop for all you can eat popcorn shrimp, fried gulf shrimp or fried fish. We couldn’t pass up trying their specialty cocktail Fish Hook. Did not get the recipe to the sweetheart candy tasting drink served with 4 red gummy fish, but it was tasty with a refreshing tartness. The Scampi oysters were amazing. A full bite of flavor with Momma’s special garlic butter and grated parmesan cheese baked to perfection.
We enjoyed our seafood delights on the deck at Floyd’s while still gazing out over the emerald coast.
6. Al’s Beach Club Burger Bar at The Boardwalk
Al’s Beach Club Burger Bar is the perfect choice for something salty and sweet. The walk-out on the beach fit perfect with an order of Colossal Beer Battered Onion Rings and a Key Lime Shake. They offer up a wonderful summer salad for folks who love a really great salad mixed with veggies and fruit.
If you have ever been to the famous Robert’s fruit stand in Florida City on your way to Key West then you know how good a Key Lime shake is, well this one was that good too. Al’s is topped with a real piece of Key Lime pie. The perfect mix of a key lime shake and beer battered onion rings ended our foodie adventure at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island.
What a wonderful vacation beach day. I suggest you take your time and enjoy The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island over a weekend. There are so many excellent food choices and you never have to lose sight of the beach to enjoy them.
Still my favorite part of this adventure is you get to enjoy the variety of choices on this island and you don’t even need a passport.