Eglin Air Force base, the area's largest employer, was established in 1935 as a bombing and gunnery base. It is home to the 96th Test Wing and is responsible for 'the complete weapon-system life cycle.' It manages the process from concept to final development.
Eglin is one of the few air bases that shares its runways with the Northwest Florida Regional Airport in Valparaiso. Other surrounding communities are Shalimar, Ft. Walton Beach, Niceville, Crestview, Destin, Navarre, Miramar Beach and Santa Rosa Beach, most of which have a low crime rate and good public schools. There are many waterfront and beachfront communities and few days without sunshine, which allows year-round outdoor activities. The warm, subtropical climate offers the following average temperatures:
January-March: 60-69 High and 42-51 Low
April-June: 76-88 High and 58-72 Low
July-September: 86-89 High and 70-77 Low
October-December: 63-79 High and 44-69 Low
Less than an hour to the west is Pensacola, home of the Navy Base and Blue Angels and beautiful Pensacola Beach and the Pensacola Regional Airport. About an hour to the east, near Tyndall Air Force Base is Panama City Beach which has more shopping, entertainment and a the new NW Beaches International airport.
Fort Walton Beach is part of Okaloosa County. For more information about area schools click here:http://www.okaloosaschools.com/
Known by tourists as 'The Emerald Coast', this area is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world as well as the blue-green waters that gives it this name. The Emerald Coast offers a unique opportunity for tourists to rent privately owned vacation homes on or near the beach versus staying in a hotel so it attracts multigenerational groups of travelers and is a popular family reunion and wedding destination. Rental properties offer a great return on investment to their owners, so some members of the military buy investment property here in addition to their own homes.
Valparaiso is located just north of Ft. Walton Beach and offers several waterfront communities along the Choctawhatchee Bay and bayous. Shalimar is a sister community with an excellent golf course.
Ft. Walton Beach is just south of Valparaiso and is the largest city in the area with the Santa Rosa Mall, many restaurants and is home to Okaloosa Island with beautiful beaches. The Santa Rosa Sound is a waterway that runs between Okaloosa Island and Downtown Ft. Walton Beach so there are many waterfront communities along the beaches and sound.
Niceville is located east of Eglin along the Choctawhatchee Bay and has many waterfront communities along the bay and bayous. Niceville offers excellent schools and its athletic program is one of the best in the area.
Crestview is a community furthest north and offers some of the most affordable housing in the area. Crestview schools are known for their athletic programs and local recreational activities include Tubing or Canoeing, Zip-lining, horseback riding, hunting and fresh-water fishing.
Navarre, in Santa Rosa County to the southwest, offers waterfront communities like Holly by the Sea, Tiger Point, and many others. Just over the bridge and the Santa Rosa Sound is Navarre Beach which is one of the less crowded beaches in the area.
Destin is in Okaloosa County and is known for having the most beautiful beaches in the world and excellent deep-sea fishing. It is one of the most popular tourist areas in the Southeast and also has great shopping, dining and entertainment. The harbor is a great place for entertainment and dining, and a popular spot for boaters is Crab Island, a shallow spot by the harbor and Destin Bridge where boaters gather to socialize.
Miramar Beach is just east of Destin, in Walton County which has excellent schools and is home to the Silver Sands Premier Outlet Stores, Golf Resorts and many gulf-front restaurants.
Santa Rosa Beach, also in Walton County, is the furthest east toward Panama City Beach, and offers a more 'back to nature' beach experience with several State Parks, Dune Lakes and some of the most pristine beaches in the world, and knowns for its upscale beach communities like Seaside, Watercolor and Rosemary Beach.
After traveling all over the world in their careers, many military members choose to retire in NW Florida because of the natural beauty, sub-tropical climate, low-crime rates, great entertainment options and overall southern hospitality. No matter which community you choose or how long you stay, you are sure to enjoy your time in NW Florida!
* Rebates are not allowed in all states. In some states, a gift card or commission credit at closing may be provided in lieu of the Cash-Back bonus. You must register with U.S. Military on the Move® before contacting a real estate agent and be represented by the assigned real estate firm at closing to qualify. All real estate transactions are negotiable. Other terms and conditions may apply.
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