We lived at Fort Walton Beach for a year and enjoyed our time there. Attraction wise you have the beach, museums near Eglin AFB, some historical sites to visit, parks, put put golf, dolphin tours, go karts, and an Aquarium just a short 5 or 10 minuet drive away to name a few. The beach its self offers a lot to do if you want to boat, ski, fish, surf, or just lay in the sun. You also have a choice in beaches there are several bays out here which give you a more calmer water if your looking for that. They also have beaches without buildings in the background on Okaloosa Island. There are wildlife sites all over the beach too if you want to watch marine life. The community is a little different. A lot of the people here are not locals and you have a lot of tourist come the summer months but people are still friendly. There is a huge nightlife in the area. There are bars, clubs, and events that cater to crowds year round. It seems there is more of a nightlife in the summer months though. There are tons of places to eat as well. You have the typical fast food restaurants and a few sit down places. If you head over to Destin Beach (15 or 20 minuet drive) there are even more places to eat. Don't let the drive scare you it is really not that bad and its a very scenic drive across Okaloosa island. Shopping in Fort Walton depends on what your looking for. They have a few shops and places and grocery stores and a walmart. The mall and Target are technically in Mary Ester but you would not even realize it unless you looked at the address or noticed the "welcome to" sign. In Destin they have even more including high end stores. The entire time we lived in Fort Walton we only went to Destin to go to PetSmart one time. (They do have pet stores in Fort Walton though).