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Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach: Review For Families

Located on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Fort Walton Beach is postcard-perfect with white sandy beaches, clear water, and a beautiful pier. Its neighboring sister city, Destin, might get most of the attention, but savvy travelers know Fort Walton Beach deserves its own praise. Book yourself an unforgettable family vacation, near the area’s best attractions, when you stay at Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach.

Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Florida’s panhandle is famous for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters. It’s centrally located near major Alabama and Georgia cities, making it the perfect road trip destination. Whether you’re planning the ultimate spring break or just looking for a weekend escape, the Hilton Garden Inn is ready to showcase the best of Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Review Of Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach

If someone asks me to describe the HGI Fort Walton Beach in three words, they’ll be kid-friendly, fun, and rejuvenating. It’s the type of hotel that people book for the basics, like the central location, but discover there’s so much more to the property.

Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach Views
The HGI Fort Walton Beach views are simply amazing!

Pools & More: Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Amenities

The HGI Fort Walton Beach is perfect any time of the year. With a smaller indoor pool, outdoor lazy river pool, and hot tub – there’s water to enjoy all year long.

The kids enjoy the outdoor lazy river pool the most, with a zero-entry side for youngsters to enjoy. Looping around the lazy river all day long tricks you into forgetting your cares. Guests can check out towels from the front desk daily, so there’s no need to travel with bulky beach towels.

Additionally, there’s a fitness center, workspace, and laundering amenities. Common lounge spaces include an outdoor firepit area. Guests can purchase s’more kits at the front desk to enjoy around the fire pit at night.

Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach Lazy River Pool
Whenever a hotel has a lazy river pool, it’s instantly more fun!

How To Have The Perfect Beach Day At Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach

If you want to spend all day at the beach, the HGI Fort Walton Beach offers easy beach access with stairs and a ramp. The sand is easy to walk in and not too hot for bare feet. Many guests bring their own beach toys, chairs, and accessories.

However, if you’re looking for the most relaxing experience, consider booking chair rentals. The hotel contracts with Lazy Days Beach Rentals for chair rentals, and it truly takes the hassle out of your beach day. Since the Lazy Days chairs and umbrellas are already set up on the beach, renting is as easy as flagging down a Lazy Days attendant. Or use their website to book online before your vacation.

Lazy Days Beach Rental Prices at Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach:

  • Chair Price: $9/hour or $40/day plus taxPaddleboard $20/hour
  • Two-person kayak $20/hour
  • Sailboat $65/hour
  • Boogie Board $5/hour
Lazy Days Beach Rentals at HGI
Any beach day is fun, but a beach day with chair rentals is better.

Room Varieties To Pick From

Bright, airy, and beachy, the rooms at the HGI Fort Walton Beach are designed for relaxation. Pick from a standard two queen bed room, or families that want more space should opt for suites. Our King Suite featured twin bunk beds with an Xbox gaming system. The King Suite offers plenty of space for a family of five.

Our favorite feature is the private balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. There’s nothing better than sitting on the balcony and watching the waves roll in just beyond the lazy river pool.

The rooms do not have kitchens, but all of them are equipped with a microwave, mini fridge, and coffee maker. Our King Suite also includes a wet bar sink which is great for bottle washing. Pack-and-Plays are available upon request.

King Suite Room with twin bunk beds for kids
Families can spread out in the Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach suites.

On-Site Dining Options

There are two on-site dining options to pick from, an indoor sit-down restaurant that’s open from 6 am – 10 pm and the beachside tiki bar.

Continental breakfast is served daily buffet style for $19.95, or you can choose from the cooked-to-order breakfast menu. There’s a full menu for lunch and dinner that is made to order. Pick from beachside favorites, like pretzel bites, nachos, and pizza. Plus, there are several Gulf-fresh seafood options.

Pretzel Bites by the pool at the hotel
Pretzel Bites from the pool tiki bar.

The Gilligan’s Tiki Bar is perfect for frozen concoctions and libations. The hardest decision on your beach vacation might be picking what frozen daiquiri (alcoholic or virgin) flavor you want for the day. If you’re looking for a stronger drink, check out the bucket drinks. My husband loved his cocktail bucket, but I think they’re meant for two (it’s a matter of opinion, I guess).

Breakfast includes waffles and pancakes
The breakfast buffet includes a make-your-own waffle station! Score!

Attractions Located Near Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach

The closest major attraction is the most kid-friendly one. You’ve got to visit the Gulfarium when you’re staying at the HGI. It’s located just a few blocks away and within walking distance. Kids love the indoor and outdoor aquarium exhibits, which feature rescued wildlife that’s local to the Gulf area.

Gulfarium dolphin show
Kids love the Gulfarium if you need something to do nearby.

If you want free fun, check out the Air Force Armament Museum. The museum is home to 29 different aircraft used from WWII to the present day. There are also several hundred pieces of armament, including a gun collection, bombs, bomblets, and missiles, including the Sparrow, Sidewinder, cluster bombs, Bunker Buster, and the MOAB. It’s a short drive from Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach.

Looking to get out on the water via boat? Check out daily boat rentals and head to the popular Crab Island. Crab Island is famous for its shallow emerald-green waters that are loaded with obstacle courses and floating bars. Essentially, it’s a raised sand bar where people bring their boats to hang out all day long. Check out Crab Island Boat Rentals to book your excursion.

Best Dining Options Near The Hotel

The Destin Fort Walton Beach area is full of great dining options. Gulf-to-table seafood restaurants are scattered throughout the area and are most crowded over major holidays and the peak summer season. I recommend calling the restaurants in advance to see if they accept reservations, especially if you’re a larger party.

Not to be missed, Boshamps is home to the freshest seafood and chef specialties. Located on the Destin harbor, it’s only a few miles away from the HGI and worth the drive. Boshamps has daily catches, steaks, and fried seafood favorites. The fresh mojitos are the perfect cocktail pairing for any dish. Plus, the restaurant has a gorgeous harbor view with indoor and outdoor seating options.

Boshamps Seafood Restaurant in Destin
The best off-property dining includes Boshamps.

Another favorite is Lulu’s Destin which is owned by Lucy Buffet, the sister of the late singer, Jimmy Buffet, and it’s a casual, family-friendly restaurant. Nosh on sandwiches, seafood, salads, and burgers. Lulu’s allows boaters to dock for dining as well. Don’t miss Lulu’s World-Famous Bush Whacker, which is a blended frozen drink that has coffee liqueur and coconut rum!

Lastly, finish your vacation on a sweet note with Pecan Jacks – a candy shop and creamery. They make all candies and ice cream on location and specialize in gourmet flavors. There’s even an adult ice cream menu that includes Grand Marnier and Kahlua flavored ice cream. The kids love grabbing a scoop after dinner.

Pecan Jacks Ice Cream in Destin
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Pecan Jacks in Destin.

Whether you want a quick weekend escape or a long family vacation, Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach is ready to host you. The gorgeous white sand beaches, emerald-green waters, and smiles from the hotel staff are the reasons we’ll return. It’s the family-friendly beach destination you’ll love, as much as us!

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