Back in the 1930s, Okaloosa Island put itself on the map when the original Tower Beach boardwalk and casino was built. After it burned to the ground in 1942, the war took precedence over its reconstruction.
“I have seen what is left of pilings that are rarely exposed when the weather is ‘just right’ or ‘just wrong’ at the east side of the Boardwalk and have heard it is part of the old pier, but I cannot confirm,” says General Manager George Golematis, who has worked on the property for nearly 15 years.
“Today’s Boardwalk houses world-class restaurants, nightclubs, and shops – and although they speak for themselves, beyond that I believe the Boardwalk offers one of the best views of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as some amazing sunsets,” he says.
There are also covered picnic areas, volleyball nets, a playground, public restrooms, outdoor showers, and parking just off the beach so you don’t have to haul over the dunes loaded down with beach supplies.
Make your way down to the Boardwalk, where you’re sure to find ways to fill your day … or night.
Here are a few ideas to get you started …
Fly a kite! Pick yours from an array of beauties at Kitty Hawk Kites, then entertain beachgoers with your inaugural flight.
Snap up a souvenir shirt at Boardwalk Tees. When you get home, you’ll have fun watching your friends try to pronounce “Oh-kah-loo-sah.”
Stop into Islanders on the Boardwalk or Surfside Outfitters to revamp your beach look with shiny new flip-flops, bikinis or board shorts. (If you show off your style online, don’t forget to share it with us, using #BarefootMemories.)
Liven up your night at The Swamp, where national artists like Fuel and Collective Soul keep the party going until the wee hours …
The Boardwalk believes in a good time, but also a good cause. Golematis says the complex extends support for local military, as well as numerous area charities, including the 46th Test Wing, Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, Children’s Advocacy Center and Toys for Tots.
“What I love most about my job is meeting interesting people from all over the world while having the opportunity to work on fun projects that create excitement in the community,” he says. “The view is not so bad either.”
Go on, see for yourself.