Fort Walton Beach Weather: Climate, Seasons, and Monthly Temperature

A man fishing in shallow water near Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Romona Robbins Photography / Getty Images

Located in Northwest Florida's Panhandle along its Emerald Coast, warm yet mild temperatures make Fort Walton Beach a great destination for a Florida getaway in the summer, and a host of festive events and discount travel deals make it ideal for a budget-friendly escape from the cold of most of the northern United States in the winter.

Although Fort Walton Beach has an overall average high temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit and an average low of 54, the weather can be unpredictable, so visitors should expect extremes from time to time. That was evident in 1980 when the temperature reached a sweltering 107 and again in 1985 when the thermometer dipped to a very cold 4 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, while the summer is the warmest time to visit Fort Walton Beach, it's also the wettest season, and the city receives an average of around six inches of rain per month throughout the year.

Whether you're looking for a fun destination for a family trip in August or want to plan an intimate escape for Mardi Gras that's off the beaten path, Fort Walton Beach has something for everyone all year long.

Fast Climate Facts

  • Hottest Month: July and August (81 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Coldest Month: January (52 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Wettest Month: July (9.4 inches)
  • Best Month for Swimming: August (Gulf of Mexico, 86 degrees Fahrenheit)

Hurricane Season

Due to its location on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida's panhandle, Fort Walton Beach is subject to several tropical storms and maybe even a hurricane each year during the busy Atlantic Hurricane Season, which takes place from June 1 to November 31 each year. Be sure to follow our tips for traveling during hurricane season if you'll be in Florida during this time of year, and you should be prepared to evacuate if Fort Walton Beach is in the path of an oncoming hurricane or tropical storm.

Winter in Fort Walton Beach

While many people think of Florida as the ideal destination to escape from harsh winter in the northern United States, Fort Walton Beach's location in Florida's northern panhandle means you'll still experience a bit of the winter chill for most of the season. With an average temperature of 46 degrees Fahrenheit between late November and mid-March, you'll need to be prepared for colder weather despite the relatively dry forecast, and while you won't see much snow, you also might not want to spend a day at the beach this season.

What to Pack: Leave the bathing suit at home this season because the Gulf of Mexico is only slightly warmer than the weather. Instead, you'll want to pack clothing you can layer—from light t-shirts for unseasonably warm days to a light to medium coat for some of the colder nights.

Average Air and Water Temperatures by Month:

  • December: high 64 F, low 39 F, Gulf temperature 66.9 F
  • January: high 61 F, low 37 F, Gulf temperature 63 F
  • February: high 65 F, low 40 F, Gulf temperature 62 F

Spring in Fort Walton Beach

As the driest season of the year, spring in Fort Walton Beach is one of the best times to visit, especially toward the beginning of summer in late May. Both air and water temperatures constantly rise from mid-March to mid-June, making for more and more opportunities to visit the beach and take advantage of Mardi Gras-themed events happening across the region after Fat Tuesday.

What to Pack: You'll need to pack a variety of clothing to accommodate for the changing weather in spring. If you're visiting in March or April, you may still want to consider packing a medium-warmth coat for nighttime adventures, but you should still be able to enjoy the ocean during the day. On the other hand, if you're visiting in May or early June, you can leave the coat behind and bring a light evening sweater and beach gear instead.

Average Air and Water Temperatures by Month:

  • March: high 71 F, low 46 F, Gulf temperature 65 F
  • April: high 78 F, low 51 F, Gulf temperature 70.6 F
  • May: high 84 F, low 60 F, Gulf temperature 76.6 F

Summer in Fort Walton Beach

Although the summer is the warmest season, it's also the wettest—from late June through late September, you can expect an average of 13.5 days a month of rain. Still, it's the busiest time of year in terms of tourist crowds and fun events, so be sure to check the weather and plan your vacation itinerary around the dry, warm days, but also be prepared for humidity between 60 and 100 percent throughout the season. If you can stick out the weather, though, you can enjoy unique celebrations like the Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival in June.

What to Pack: Packing for any Florida beach destination in the summer is pretty simple—bathing suit, a cover-up, and sandals. Just know that you'll also need resort casual clothing for dining out or going to a nightclub in the city—many of which have strict policies against tank tops and sandals.

Average Air and Water Temperatures by Month:

  • June: high 90 F, low 68 F, Gulf temperature 82.8 F
  • July: high 91 F, low 71 F, Gulf temperature 85.2 F
  • August: high 91 F, low 71 F, Gulf temperature 86 F

Fall in Fort Walton Beach

Although the Atlantic hurricane season coincides with much of the fall season, Fort Walton Beach is relatively dry from September through November with an average of eight days a month of precipitation. As a result, you're likely to experience plenty of days that are perfect for laying out at the beach or browsing through one of the arts and cultural festivals taking place throughout the season. Be sure to check out the Northwest Florida Fair in September or October and the beginning of the Christmas season after Thanksgiving.

What to Pack: As with spring, you'll need to pack a variety of clothing to accommodate for the changing weather throughout the fall season. As it's also hurricane season, though, you'll want to make sure to pack a raincoat and umbrella in addition to a warm coat for chilly evenings and light clothing for hot days.

Average Air and Water Temperatures by Month:

  • September: high 88 F, low 66 F, Gulf temperature 83.3 F
  • October: high 80 F, low 54 F, Gulf temperature 79.1 F
  • November: high 72 F, low 46 F, Gulf temperature 72.3 F

Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall, and Daylight Hours

  • January: 61 F, 5.8 inches, 10 hours
  • February: 47.5 F, 5.4 inches, 11 hours
  • March: 52.5 F, 6.5 inches, 12 hours
  • April: 59.5 F, 4.3 inches, 13 hours
  • May: 72 F, 4.3 inches, 14 hours
  • June: 79 F, 6.1 inches, 14 hours
  • July: 81 F, 9.4 inches, 14 hours
  • August: 81 F, 6.9 inches, 13 hours
  • September: 77 F, 6.7 inches, 12 hours
  • October: 77 F, 4.5 inches, 11 hours
  • November: 59 F, 4.7 inches, 11 hours
  • December: 51.5 F, 4.57 inches, 10 hours

For more information on Fort Walton Beach weather, including current weather conditions and forecasts, visit weather.com.

Annual Events in Fort Walton Beach

While the events vary month-by-month in Fort Walton Beach, you're sure to find a culinary festival, holiday celebration, or cultural happening to enjoy on your trip no matter when you visit this part of Florida's panhandle, which also includes nearby Destin and Sandestin. From Destin's Harborwalk Mardi Gras Parade in February to the Northwest Florida Fair in Fort Walton Beach in October, you're sure to find something you and your family enjoy in the area—if you know where to look and when to book your trip this year.

  • Sandestin Gumbo Festival: This two-day annual event takes place in February each year and pits the area's best chefs against one another to see who can make the best pot of gumbo.
  • Mardi Gras: From the Baytowne Wharf Fat Tuesday Parade in Sandestin to the Harborwalk Village Parade in Destin Harbor, there are plenty of ways to celebrate this annual holiday in and around Fort Walton Beach every February or March (depending on the Lent holiday).
  • Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival: On the first full weekend in June, pirates take over the Emerald Coast for a two-day pirate festival followed by a torchlight parade.
  • Northwest Florida Fair: In September or October each year, you can experience rides, games, exhibits, and handmade crafts and baked goods sales at this annual four-day fair.
  • Emerald Coast Duck Regatta: On the first Saturday in October, the Village of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin hosts this annual fundraiser event where contestants can donate money to race rubber ducks in the wharf for prizes. Donations benefit the Sacred Heart Hospital Guild.
  • 12 Days of Harborwalk Holidays: Each year from Thanksgiving to Christmas, Harborwalk Village celebrates the holidays with festive concerts, movie screenings, craft making workshops, pub crawls, parades, and even fireworks.