Events in Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and Okaloosa Island

Events on the Emerald Coast showcase all that is unique and special about life on the Gulf. Travelers come for fun, sun, sand ― and maybe a drink in hand. From festivals showcasing fine tequilas and tacos to fishing rodeos, life here is a beach.

Lots of events in Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and on Okaloosa Island highlight our symbiotic relationship with the Gulf of Mexico. It’s what gives us a sense of place.

This sentiment is especially true in Destin, “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.” In the fall, celebrate the bounty of the sea during the annual Destin Fishing Rodeo that lasts all October long. The rodeo kicks off with the Destin Seafood Festival the first weekend in October, complete with a carnival atmosphere along the wooden docks of the Destin Harbor. Springtime brings the annual Tequila and Taco Fest to the Destin Harbor, with proceeds benefiting local charities.

Fort Walton Beach evokes its rich history in it’s large festivals. First, Fort Walton Beach holds the premier Native American Flute Festival each spring, paying homage to the area’s earliest residents. Then in the summer, Fort Walton Beach remembers the days of large sailing vessels and privateers with the annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival. A swarth of boats drop anchor at the Landing, where the festival is set up on the grassy knoll shaded by ancient oak trees.

Across the bridge, events on Okaloosa Island celebrate fun in the sun, any time of year. Winters on Florida’s Emerald Coast are mild, however the water in January gets a bit colder with water temperatures in the 15-20 C or 60-70 F range (down from mid-July highs of 30 C or 86 F). That’s why winter events like the annual New Year’s Day Pelican Plunge at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island is such a cool blast, though nowhere near an arctic one.

No matter the reason or the season, events on the Emerald Coast celebrate the beach life. Whether you come to discover something new, or to continue a longstanding tradition, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and Okaloosa Island welcome you with open arms. We have that whole Southern Hospitality thing going for us. Explore our events to help plan your next trip.

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