What’s strange is that Fort Walton Beach area is so much more tourist-oriented than Fort Myers Beach. In FMB, you can drive and drive down the eternally repaired road, alongside beach rentals, and not find a place to shop or eat out. We’d go to a single sad “Mexican” restaurant (which no actual Mexican would identify as such) because there’s nothing else for miles and miles.

FWB is a lot more touristy. Everything is crazy expensive but the area clearly tries to make a living catering to tourists. There are tons of seafood places with regional seafood. And there are many activities for families.

It’s all the same kind of beach throughout Florida but everything else varies greatly.

4 thoughts on “FMB vs FWB”

  1. “Fort Walton Beach area is so much more tourist-oriented than Fort Myers Beach”

    Florida guy here with some thoughts. The panhandle gulf coast is just older and always more oriented toward tourism (IINM historically largely from adjacent southern states).

    Cities south of Tampa on the Gulf Coast are a lot younger (where I grew up was founded in the 1920s…) and I remember being on Marco Island in the 1960s when you had to go there by boat and it was almost empty.

    Also by the time you get to Sarasota and further south the beaches capable of supporting a large degree of tourism were fewer and farther between (a lot of the coast was more like mangrove swamps). And the tourist season was the winter… summer was too hot and too muggy and there were too many mosquitoes and other varmints.

    “tourism” was more oriented toward people passing through (often because the wanted to see the everglades on their way to Miami) or snowbirds (who wintered there and flew back north with the spring) and that was dwarfed by the main industry – housing developments for snowbirds, retirees (full time residents) and the people showing up to sell things and offer services to them.


  2. Yes & it is ultimately why I never really get it together to go to Panhandle, although I can so easily get there. I’ve not been to Fort Walton but it’s supposed to be one of the most extreme. More grown up are supposed to be Navarre and parts of Destin, also back into Alabama, Orange Beach and Perdido Key. Where I am fascinated actually is in Apalachicola, the so-called Emerald Coast, in the bend, and I’d like to spend some time at St. Petersburg. I liked Fort Myers a lot, didn’t know what to expect as I had never been to the area, liked it


    1. I wish we’d gone to Fort Myers, to be honest but N said it’s weird we always go to the same place and it’s good to try something new. But I’m getting tired of the tourist thing.


  3. St. George’s Island and Navarre are some of the recommended, non “developed” beach areas in that part of Florida. I really should get it together to go take a look. And as I say, the stretch just past Apalachicola, going east and south, is g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s.


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