Mingling malls and amazing science centers, shiny beachfronts and bouncing resort towns, big US Air Force bases and happening downtown shopping precincts, this corner of the Emerald Coast is an understandable favorite among vacationers. To ensure you get the Fort Walton Beach rental that's right for you, read on for an in-the-know booking guide.

Areas in and around Fort Walton Beach with great rentals

Prepare to be enticed by the sheer range of beach escapes, cool communities, affordable resort strips, and lived-in neighborhoods that beckon in the vicinity of Fort Walton Beach. This might be a military town at heart, but it's hemmed in by some of the tried-and-tested vacation jewels of the Florida Panhandle coast.

Hop the 98 to Okaloosa Island

A narrow barrier isle that sits just across the water from the Downtown of Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island is the first port of call for travelers pining after the fabled white sands and azure shore waters of the Emerald Coast. Head a little away from the pier and you can find quaint Floridian cottages on the cusp of turtle-trodden dunes and sea oat meadows.

Get down with the spring breakers in Destin

Swap Fort Walton Beach rentals for a place in Destin and you trade a low-key base for a bumping resort town in its own right. The Harbor Boardwalk is the anchor of it all – get ready for Margaritaville and tequila-sloshing cocktail bars there. Further along are high-perched condos by the pristine sands of Henderson Beach.

Pretty Pensacola Beach

More than eight miles of protected Gulf Islands National Seashore runs into the town of Pensacola Beach, sat just west down the coast from Fort Walton Beach. That means it's a fine place to go in search of homes that put you by untouched sands and dune landscapes. Zero in on the rentals that are near to Santa Rosa Island for birding, romantic sunsets, and wildlife walks.

All types of Fort Walton Beach vacation home rentals

A real kaleidoscope of different sorts of Fort Walton Beach vacation rentals awaits amid Choctawhatchee Bay and the dune parks of Okaloosa Island. Get a feel for what you and your crew can pick this year by reading the pointers below…

Three- and four-bedroom homes in Fort Walton Beach

Are you chaperoning the family down to the sunny sands of Fort Walton Beach? There's certainly no shortage of pads that have multiple bedrooms and enlarged living rooms. On the coastal barrier islands a little to the south, you might find that they also come with sprawling gardens and BBQ-topped decks overlooking the Gulf.

Condominiums in and around Fort Walton Beach

The condo is one of the go-to vacation rental choices for folk hitting the Emerald Coast. Because you'll find them in a whole host of settings, whether on the side of golf courses or tucked into complexes by beach parks, they are a doozy for all sorts of travelers. Then come the irresistible extras – swimming pools and spas, games rooms and on-site restaurants.

Searching for cheap deals in Fort Walton Beach

Keeping things cheap can help keep things exciting when it comes to Fort Walton Beach rentals. Why? Well…you can funnel any dosh saved straight into dolphin watching, daytime jaunts to Destin's buzzy boardwalk, turtle safaris – you name it. Let's get started…

Don't set yourself on a beachfront home

The temptation to only look at villas and condos that have sea views can often prevent travelers from finding the best bargains of all. That's because – as you might expect – gardens overlooking the waves and sands come at a premium and houses back across Choctawhatchee Bay tend to cost less overall.

Extend that vacay

It might sound counterintuitive but opting for a longer vacation than you planned can actually help unearth some irresistible deals on Fort Walton Beach vacation rentals. Owners are regularly open to cutting the cost of contracts that last over 30 days or more, especially during less-busy seasons of the year.

Knowing when to travel is key

The whole of the Emerald Coast magnetizes globetrotters from April to August. It's a time that has cloudless skies, and – of course – bumping spring breaker parties. That said, Fort Walton Beach rentals can be cheaper in months like May and June, when the weather's good but there's a reduction in visitor numbers in the run up to the summer.