Planning a Budget Friendly Family Beach Vacation: Okaloosa Island, Florida

June 7, 2012

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So have you started dreaming of a relaxing Family Beach Vacation? I know I have! But then again I’m always dreaming of the beach. Let me help you plan the details and you can pack up the kids and head to Okaloosa Island. For more photos on Okaloosa Island check out: Budget Friendly Family Beach Vacation: Okaloosa Island, Florida

This post will highlight:

  • Where to Stay
  • What to Do
  • Where to Dine

Where to Stay Okaloosa Island, Florida

Island Princess 215, Okaloosa Island Florida Beach Front Condo

Morning Views from Our Balcony, Island Princess 215 Okaloosa Island

How about starting the morning with a cup of coffee while watching the dolphins play in the surf? Not a bad way to begin each day!

When planning a Budget Friendly Vacation, I always begin my search online at VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner).

  • Condo rental is much cheaper than hotel rooms!
  • Condo rental includes a full size, fully equipped kitchen!
  • Condo rental includes a full size washer and dryer!
  • Condo rental comes with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms!
  • Condo rental comes with FREE parking!
  • Condo rental gives you so much more for your money!

For Condo Rental Tips and a FREE Packing Checklist Read: Planning an Affordable Family Beach Vacation Part II

Be Our Guest at Island Princess 215!

Island Princess 215, Okaloosa Island Florida Beach Front Condo

We have been vacationing along the Florida Gulf Coast for over 20 years. For many of those years we have dreamed of purchasing our own beach condo and sharing it with other families. Well, we’ve finally done it and now we are ready to share it with you!

You can find more information and pictures of our Beach Condo listed on #673339.

Island Princess 215, Okaloosa Island Florida Beach Front Condo

Be one of the FIRST to stay in our NEWLY RENNOVATED 3 Bedroom/3 Bath condo. Upon your arrival, you will find all new furniture, fresh paint, new linens, new tile throughout and unique décor.

Make yourself comfortable in our beach cottage setting where we’ve blended the modern with one of a kind antiques and art pieces. But most importantly take in the amazing view and relax on our newly furnished balcony.

Island Princess 215, Okaloosa Island Florida Beach Front Condo

The Master Bedroom bed is the first piece of furniture I picked out for the condo. I fell in love with this bedframe which we had to special order from Mexico. The Master Bedroom has peaceful ocean views, sliding glass door access to the balcony and a private en suite. Just a little piece of paradise!

You can find more information and pictures of the entire Condo listed on #673339.

Island Princess 314, Okaloosa Island, Florida

Island Princess 314

  • If you are looking for a 2 Bedroom, try Island Princess 314. We stayed in this cute condo prior to purchasing our own condo.
  • We’ve been renting beach condos for 20+ years and finally we found one that was decorated as a southern beach cottage! The condo unit has recently been totally updated. Including new appliances, new furniture and TV’s in every room.

Island Princess 314, Okaloosa Island, Florida

  • Island Princess 314 was very affordable for a 2 week stay during the off season (after Labor Day).
  • All of the Condo Units are individually owned so you must do your research on VRBO before you book.

Island Princess, Okaloosa Island

  • Island Princess is small enough to offer a less crowded beach while providing one of the best pools and hot tubs.
  • Other condos have smaller pools and often NO hot tub.
  • Chair Rental was included for FREE with Island Princess 314. Most often Chair Rental is an additional fee. Since we vacation at the beach every year, we have our own fabulous beach chairs and umbrella. However, it was such a treat not having to lug our own chairs to the beach each day!
  • Just lo0k at all of those empty chairs during the off season. Seriously, consider a budget friendly vacation with no crowds during the off season.


What to Do Okaloosa Island, Florida

  • Look at that water! Why would you ever want to leave the beach?
  • Rent kayaks right on the beach.

  • Of course there’s always fishing.

  • The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island offers covered picnic areas, volleyball nets, public restrooms, outdoor showers, vast parking, eateries and shopping, and night life.
  • Okaloosa Fishing Pier accessible from The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island
    • $7.50 to Fish
    • No Fishing License Required
    • $2.00 to Walk on Pier

Destin History & Fishing Museum kid friendly travel from

  • Destin is less than a 10 minute drive over the bridge at Destin Harbor.
  • This little museum will pleasantly surprise with it’s walls of gulf fish and history of Destin.
  • The docents are extremely friendly and definitely kid friendly.

Worth the Drive

    • This is one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen.
    • A great place to observe sea creatures like turtles, dolphins, crabs and fish.
    • No highrises, no buildings, just miles of white sand and clear blue water.
    • Part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Air Force Armament Museum – Great Museum to visit for any history or war enthusiasts.
  • Historic Pensacola with its eclectic shops and restaurants.
  • Blue Angels - Drive to Pensacola to watch the Blue Angels Flight Demonstrations. Don’t miss this!
  • Destin is just over the bridge about a 10 minute drive. You can find plenty of touristy action there.

Seaside, Florida - A Nostalgic Day Trip from Destin at

  • Seaside, Florida

    • The Nostalgic beach community of Seaside was chosen as the primary location for the filming of Jim Carrey’s blockbuster, The Truman Show. This little beach cottage town certainly looks like a movie set.
    • Shopping, dinning, pine forest, beach, lakes, hiking  . . . all right there in one picturesque location.
    • About a 30 minute drive east of Destin.

Where to Dine with Children Okaloosa Island, Florida

Anglers Beachside Grill

  • Location! Location! Location!
  • Watch the sun set while the kiddos play on the beach playground.
  • Food is a bit pricey but very comparable for the area.
  • Located at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island with a view of the pier and ocean.
  • Take a walk on the pier before or after dinner.

The Crab Trap

  • It’s all about the location!
  • Fabulous playground. You can watch the kids play while you dine with a view of the ocean.
  • Located at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island with a view of the pier and ocean.
  • Some people love the food. We found it a bit overpriced for the quality. But hey, look at that playground! In fairness, any restaurant along the beach is a bit pricey. The dinning views are unbeatable!

Stewby’s Seafood Shanty

  • Not on the beach, but excellent, affordable seafood to grab and go (or dine-in).

Caffe’ Italia One89

  • Who doesn’t like Italian?
  • This is a new restaurant and it is delicious!
  • Gorgeous outdoor water view that is kid friendly.

Worth the Drive!

  • Cactus Flower Cafe – Our favorite restaurant in the area!
  • Located in Navarre, Florida.
  • I love their fresh and delicious Mango Shrimp appetizer. I continue to dream about this dish!  Also try the Mahi, Mahi tacos. The food is very fresh and not too heavy.
  • Great stop along the drive to The National Seashore and Pensacola.

 Where to Shop

We save a ton of money cooking our own meals!

  • Burris Farm Market
    • If you’re traveling from the west on I-10, you’ve got to stop at Burris Farm Market for fresh, local produce.
    • After driving 10 hours, this is the first stop we make. We’ll buy pounds of their big red tomatoes and have them EVERY day for lunch while we’re at the beach. My mouth is watering!
    • It’s located about 5 minutes off I-10.

Homemade Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Shrimp with Sweet Ginger Sauce

Where to Buy Fresh Seafood

  • Gulf Coast Seafood,  (850) 243-3030,  51 Miracle Strip Pky Se, Okaloosa Island, FL 32548
  • Sexton’s Seafood Market  (850) 837-3040, 601 Harbor Boulevard, Destin, FL 32541

Okay I’ve done all of the work for you! It’s time for you to hit the beach! 

You are invited to be our next guest!

Life with Jeannine

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