by Lisa A. Grimaldi | May 01, 2015
Why Here?
The northwest corner of the Sunshine State is known for its sugar-white sands and emerald waters. Groups are drawn here not only for the beaches, superb fishing, natural beauty, charming small-town feel and laid-back vibe, but also for its fine meeting facilities and broad range of event venues.

Picnic Paradise
Let groups enjoy the great outdoors via a picnic or cookout at one of the following.

 John Beasley Park on Okaloosa Island is marked by several scenic sand dunes leading to the Gulf of Mexico. Two large pavilions can be reserved for group use.

 The six-acre Fort Walton Landing offers a walking path, soccer fields and the Emerald Coast Science Center.

Dolphin Show
Visitors can get an up-close view of the delightful mammals at play within the dolphin-breeding grounds of the shallows along Santa Rosa Sound, Destin Harbor and Okaloosa Island.
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Local Update

 The 602-room Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa has completed a $13 million renovation that included the guest rooms in the Spa Tower, the lobby and other public spaces, Sandcastles Restaurant and Lounge, the Hadashi Sushi Bar and the spa. This transformation came on the heels of a $5.5 million project that revamped the resort's 40,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

 The 30,000-square-foot Bayview Plaza opened in August 2014 at the Emerald Coast Convention Center in Fort Walton Beach. The expansive new outdoor space essentially is a large concrete pad equipped with electricity and water, providing space for boat, automotive and RV shows, trade shows and exhibitions.

 The 152-room Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach Hotel has opened on the beach, facing the Gulf of Mexico. The property features 2,500 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space for groups of up to 220, including a beachside pool deck able to host 170. The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park and Boardwalk Okaloosa Island are within walking distance.