"A lifetime has come and gone measured by weekends / Visiting the place her heart has always been / One day she'll say goodbye to the life she knows / And live forever on the Emerald Coast." - Gene Mitchell, "Forever on the Emerald Coast"
With a motto like "City on the Move!" being used alongside a name like "The Sonic City", it's clear that Fort Walton Beach is a place that's characterized by hustle and bustle. Finding an apartment in any city can sometimes bring to mind those classic cartoon scenes where the uber-competitive hero and 2-3 others pull a frontrunner backwards only to get dragged down after getting a hand on the treasure themselves. Since Fort Walton Beach is home to 19,000 while doubling as a vacation hotspot, apartment hunting here can get tricky. Don't worry! We'll tell you what you need to know as you search for accommodations. It's true. Spending Forever on the Emerald Coast is just a short read away.
Moving to Fort Walton Beach: The Nitty Gritty
How Much Will it Cost?
Everyone knows that opening your search for apartments will eventually end with you opening up your wallet. In tourist hubs it's not unusual to see people pay through the nose for the "privilege" of living in a shoebox. So, financially speaking, future Fort Walton Beach residents are in for a pleasant surprise with median rent consistently remaining below state average.
When scouting for rental properties, it doesn't hurt to have your paperwork ready. References, proof of employment, a solid credit score or possibly a co-signor will likely be needed even if you start off applying online. That being said, all successful house rentals begin with money and whether or not you have enough. Many of the landlords in charge of these rental houses will ask for a deposit as well as possibly your first month of rent. If you want to get out of paying those deposits, you can join the military. No, seriously. Military discounts are a real thing in this city.
Know What You're Looking For
Is an all bills paid arrangement your personal non-negotiable? Does a lack of furniture have you more focused on finding furnished apartments in Fort Walton Beach? Answering these questions early can save you a lot of tears and heartache later on.
A Word on Timing
How well do you think the Red Hot Chili Peppers would have done if Chad Smith was unable to keep tempo? Imagine Michael Jackson's dance routines done by someone with no rhythm. Poor timing has ruined many a cover song and has singlehandedly ruined some politicians. With apartment hunting, coming in when everybody's busy could end with you settling for less.
According to oh well everyone, summer is the craziest time of year in Fort Walton Beach with Spring Break getting an honorable mention. As a general rule, you'll want to avoid apartment-hunting during these peak times.
Fort Walton Beach Neighborhoods
Fort Walton Beach is so easy to navigate that even the directionally-challenged will have a hard time getting lost. Basically, all you need are the names of 3 highways so that you can keep track of 3 neighborhoods. The US 98, SR 189, and SR85 highways not only make travelling faster in this city, they also define Fort Walton Beach's major areas.
Downtown Fort Walton Beach: You can find this part of the city by looking at the spot where the 85 and the 98 meet on the map. Everything to the south of that intersection is what people are talking about when they say "downtown this" or "downtown that". Here you'll discover all kinds of one-of-a-kind shops. Sporty types who have every intention of catching a wave can drop by the Fluid Surf Shop on Miracle Strip Parkway Southeast; meanwhile there are top-notch clothes to be bought at places like Shangri-La Vintage Boutique in the same area.
In addition, the food is excellent downtown. If you're still on Miracle Strip Parkway Southeast, you can sit down to some Asian cuisine at China Taste or visit a historic family operation in Staff's Restaurant. At the same time, places like Luxe Sports Grill, Caffe Italia, and Momma Goldberg's Deli ensure that you're able to have a variety of food experiences.
Midtown Fort Walton Beach: If instead of going southward you opt to go above the aforementioned 85 and 98 intersection, you get into Midtown. This is another area that has a number of businesses operating from it. When all is said and done, chances are you'll know at least one person who has interviewed there. Places like Ferry Park provide an opening for residents who want to stretch their legs while spots like Attitudes Food & Spirits as well as Hungry Howie's Pizza and Subs do their part to keep things interesting.
Uptown Fort Walton Beach: When you keep going further north, you eventually run into what's known as Uptown Fort Walton Beach. The major draw for this area (other than the beaches of course) is the shopping and local events. Restaurants like Five Guys Burgers and Fries make it easy for visitors and residents alike to grab a bite while other places such as Kim's Korean & Sushi offer the type of variety that people are used to seeing downtown.
Navigating the Town
With an overall walkscore of 35, Fort Walton Beach just isn't very walkable. However, don't fret, you have a few options:
- There's public transportation available through the Okaloosa County Transit.
- To be even more eco-friendly, there are plenty of lovely bike paths around town.
- When it doubt, take the car.
Fort Walton Beach is definitely an interesting place to live. The spring break crowd and the usual tourists will probably have you raising your eyebrow, but you'll take to it like a duck to water. Trust us on this.