South Walton encompasses a 26-mile stretch of coastline in Florida at the south end of Walton County. Enjoy the water on a surfboard or paddleboard, or grab your swimsuit and dive right in. Kids can head to the Gulfarium to experience Florida’s underwater ecosystem firsthand, or admire a weekly fireworks show in the Village of Baytowne Wharf. South Walton is a picturesque slice of Florida’s Emerald Coast that you won’t want to miss. Book a stay at a South Walton vacation rental today. Check out the top 12 kid-friendly activities in South Walton.

1. Head Down to the Beach

The stretch of Florida’s Emerald Coast that encompasses South Walton and nearby towns is perfect for beach fun and relaxation. Pack a picnic basket and spread out a towel to enjoy a full day on the sand or in the water. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

2. Check Out a Fireworks Display

Florida loves its fireworks, and South Walton is no exception. Book a vacation rental in the summer to spend an evening viewing an exciting spectacle. Fireworks shows are put on every Tuesday at the Village of Baytowne Wharf, and every Thursday at HarborWalk Village.

3. Meet Dolphins at the Gulfarium

The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park in Fort Walton Beach is an interactive aquarium where kids get up close and personal with their favorite marine animals. Enjoy an encounter with dolphins or stingrays, or bring your kids on an educational reptile safari. Touch tanks and exciting exhibits offer fascinating fun all year round.

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4. Make a Splash at Big Kahuna’s

When the beach gets too hot, head to Destin to find Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park. Open since the 1980s, this family-friendly water park is home to over 40 water-based attractions, including water slides, communal pools, surfing simulators, and more. Watch the kids play in one of the gentle wading pool structures, or unleash the older kids, able swim on their own, to run freely while you relax in a lawn chair.

5. Try Surfing or Paddleboarding

A vacation rental in South Walton puts you close to numerous unique surfing and paddling experiences. Rent a board and get out on your own, or take lessons with a group. Standing paddle board tours are a great way to spot wildlife and see the Emerald Coast from a whole new vantage point.

6. Explore Coffeen Nature Preserve

Located in Destin, Coffeen Nature Preserve is a 200-acre stretch of coastal land that includes lush greenery, sand dunes, and even fascinating military relics like concrete bunkers that have been overtaken by nature. Hike the trails and spot new and exotic species of birds, insects, and other wildlife. Interested in history? Take a guided tour of the abandoned military structures here.

7. Rent an Electric Bike

South Walton is a famously great area to get around on two wheels. Bring your own bike, or take advantage of Pedego, an electric bike rental area with locations throughout the emerald coast. Book a cycling tour to take in the sights and sounds of the area as you pass through unique villages, or grab a bike and pedal at your own pace. Cycling is a great way to get from your vacation rental to local amenities.

8. Hone Your Sculpting Technique with a Sandcastle Lesson

Beach Sand Sculptures in Destin is a company that offers unique sand castle lessons for couples, families, and groups. Learn the techniques of sand sculpture to create a sand masterpiece. Encourage the kids to get creative, building anything from a traditional castle to a wild abstract form. After the lesson, relax on the beach or work on another creation.

9. Become a Pirate for a Day on a Buccaneer Cruise

Leaving port from Destin, Buccaneer Pirate Cruises offer families the chance to live the seafaring life of pirates for an afternoon. Book a one or two-hour cruise on this authentic pirate ship and hunt for treasure with the help of experienced actors playing the roles of real pirates. Book your sailing ahead of time and watch your kids delight in foam sword fights, water battles, face painting, and more — or join in the fun yourself.

10. Find Fun at Rosemary Beach

Rosemary Beach is one of the numerous beautiful beaches along the Emerald Coast. Spend a day relaxing on Rosemary Beach to enjoy sun and sand, as well as boardwalks, dining, and unique family attractions. One of these stands out, called “Random Acts of Rosemary,” in which the local Merchants of Rosemary Beach set up random kid-friendly items like slides, trampolines, and bounce castles at unannounced times on the beach.

11. Create a Masterpiece at Fired Up

Fired Up the Seaside is a paint-your-own pottery studio where kids and adults alike can explore their creative side. Your kids pick out their very own bowl, plate, or another pre-fired ceramic object, then paint whatever pattern or image they can imagine. Experienced artists and instructors are on hand to help you realize your vision.

12. Create Memories at Baytowne Wharf

The village of Baytowne Wharf specializes in fun and recreation for the whole family. Watch as your kids run free, scaling custom-designed rock walls, driving remote control boats, or playing in the arcade. At night, dining and musical entertainment turn this village into a vibrant place to enjoy dinner and show with the ones you love, as well as fireworks once a week.

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