Spacious, Homey Living Minutes from Emerald Coast
Northwest Florida's "Emerald Coast" got its nickname in 1983, when a junior-high-school student entered the moniker in a promotional contest and won $50. The name stuck for two reasons: it's evocative and it's accurate. The Gulf waters off the coast of Okaloosa County do indeed call to mind the sparkling hue of valuable gemstones. Just minutes from the emerald-green ocean, the green-roofed gables of the Cayo Grande Suites Hotel rise into the Floridian sky like caps on a venerable country estate. Inside, a homey, laid-back ambiance prevails, augmented by whitewashed, timbered ceilings and cushy lobby furnishings.
In the hotel's spacious one-bedroom suites, french doors separate sleeping quarters from the living room and kitchenette, which comes equipped with a microwave and mini fridge. Downstairs, sunlight floods the amply windowed onsite restaurant, the Market Café, where a full, complimentary hot breakfast waits each morning. Steaming cups of coffee complement hearty servings of eggs, sausage, toast, and biscuits. Afterward, a quick workout in the fitness center primes bodies for a full day's worth of beachcombing or seaweed braiding.
Fort Walton Beach: Picture-Perfect Beaches, Fresh Seafood, and Aeronautical History
Cayo Grande Suites Hotel sits in the center of Fort Walton Beach, minutes inland from fine white sands and postcard-ready waters. The boardwalk on nearby Okaloosa Island bustles with year-round vacationers out to dine on fresh seafood or catch their own by casting lines off the pier—no fishing licenses required. At Fort Walton Beach's Air Force Armament Museum, visitors give the once-over to more than 25 historic aircraft, missiles, and old-timey liquid containers holding more than 3 ounces. A cup of locally roasted coffee from a cheery, popular city café provides a moment of calm in a day full of resort-town excursions.