Non-beachy things at the Beach – Emerald Coast Style

We’ve spent a fair amount of time with friends and family all over the Emerald Coast of Florida and always enjoy every minute of it. I thought I’d take some time to share some of our favorite things to do aside from the beach, as well as other recommended non-beachy places that are still on our to-visit list!

#1. Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone in Fort Walton Beach, FL (Okaloosa Island)

We always have a blast when we go here!  For those rainy or crazy hot days, they have an arcade, a 4D Movie Theater, a Laser Maze, Salvati’s Pizza Factory (which was shockingly delicious by the way, not your typical play place fast food joint!), and YogoMogo’s Creamy Cool Creations (need I say more??). For those nice days, they have two Dinosaur themed Mini Golf Courses (one with animatronics which I HIGHLY recommend warning younger kids ahead of time – I speak from experience unfortunately), a 60 foot Ropes Course, a Spinning Roller Coaster, a Reverse Bungee Trampoline, and remote control Battle Boats! Big shout out to the boy who made it all the way around the first level of the ropes course! It was his first time! 🙂

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#2. The Track in Destin, FL

We spent a few hours here one day and enjoyed letting the kids run around and do whatever rides they wanted to. The go carts were the highlight and we didn’t even venture over to the multi-level track. They have 3 go cart tracks, a smaller kids area where we hung out most of the time, big thrills for the older ones and adults, and putt putt. We went during the fall which happened to be a ghost town, so they were operating rides around us which was awesome!

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#4: Emerald Coast Science Center in Fort Walton Beach, FL

They have Homeschool Mondays, Storytime Tuesdays, Thinker Thursdays, $5 Fridays, and Funday Sundays. There’s always something going on and you’re bound to have a great time! This is also great for those super hot or rainy days!


#5. Pensacola Children’s Museum and MESS Hall in Pensacola, FL

The Pensacola MESS Hall is not a typical science museum. Rather than exhibits with planned outcomes, visitors get to work like real scientists, developing questions and creating experiments, engaging in complex reasoning and learning science just through tinkering. It’s all hands-on science. While in Pensacola, be sure to check out historic downtown. They have a great walking tour of how life used to be in downtown Pensacola.


#6 Fort BarrancasFort Pickens, and Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL

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These are awesome historical places to visit when in the area. We had a blast walking around exploring the forts, as well as learning so much! These are all free, however if you want to watch a movie at the Museum, it is an extra charge. My son enjoyed walking around the forts, inside the tunnels, as well as exploring all the airplanes in the Aviation Museum. These were great learning days for us! Fort Pickens is still on our list, but the pictures above are from Fort Barrancas and the Museum!


#7 Gulf Breeze Zoo in Gulf Breeze, FL


This is a wonderful zoo because it’s small enough to not be overwhelming, but large enough to see lots of animals and get some great walking in. It’s educational and great exercise! We really enjoyed learning and being hands on with some of the animals and zookeepers!


#8: Eden Gardens State Park in Santa Rosa, FL


Playing at the foot of a 600 year old tree!!

See our post about our trip here! This is a must for us since it’s so gorgeous! We want to head there in the spring because I bet the garden area is just beautiful!


#9 Seacrest Wolf Preserve in Chipley, FL

This is all about preservation through education, they give tours for those over the age of six. We have yet to go for age reasons, but it’s definitely on our list next time we’re near there!


#10 Gulfarium in Fort Walton Beach, FL

They have daily shows, animal chats, animal exhibits, and interactive animal encounters!


#11 Buccaneer Pirate Cruise in Destin, FL

Whether it’s private events, public, kid friendly, or adult only, this is a great experience for all!



What are some of your favorite non-beachy things to do on the Emerald Coast? Make sure to be on the lookout for “My Favorite Eats on the Emerald Coast” post coming next week!





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