Fort Walton Beach : Florida


What It Is Like to Retire in Fort Walton Beach

The City of Fort Walton Beach, “The Emerald Coast”, is a popular beach and fishing community of 20,000 on Florida’s extreme northwest coast, almost in Alabama.  The busiest time of the year is summer, although it is also a popular destination for spring breakers. Many of its residents are active adults using it as a retirement community. Some of those retirees were formerly connected with the U.S. Air Force, which has 2 huge bases in the area. With its 24 miles of sandy beaches it is also very popular spring break destination.

This town has a reputation as a low key beach and fishing town. Part of the city is on a barrier island, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Islands, the rest is surrounded by Santa Rosa Sound and Choctawhatchee Bay.  The resort of Destin is nearby. Fort Walton Beach has a mild climate in the winter, although not as warm as in south Florida. Fort Walton Beach is located in Okaloosa County, Florida. Here are more resources and information on what is like to retire in Florida


Where to Retire in Fort Walton Beach and Home Prices

Fort Walton Beach has a wide variety of living choices. You can live on the beach, in a development, or near town. There is at least one retirement community in town.
The National Association of Realtors reports the median price of a home to be $440,000 in the Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin area during the 2nd quarter of 2022.


What Is Special about Fort Walton Beach

24 miles of great beaches and 4 beachfront parks; Fort Walton Beach Golf Club has two public 18 golf courses; AVT Pro Women's Tennis Tournament; many residential options for retirees; the Affordable Housing program; The City of Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park & Cultural Center; and the Destin and Okaloosa Island are popular local tourist destinations.


What Is Not Special about Fort Walton Beach

Hurricane and spring break seasons can be turbulent.  The 2010 oil spill in the Gulf was of great concern to the beaches and wetlands in the Fort Walton Beach area. 


Who Will Like Retirement in Fort Walton Beach

Fort Walton Beach attracts a community of retirees who like living in an understated beach town. Fishing and golf are very popular.

Local Economy Is Driven by

The military and tourism are the two major drivers of the economy. Two major Air Force bases border Fort Walton Beach: Hurlburt Field and Eglin AFB. Support industries include military contractors and the service industry. Spring break contributes to the economy. The Emerald Coast Conference Center has 35,000 sq. ft. of flexible exhibit space.

Climate and Physical Environment

Fort Walton Beach is in the north west side of Florida's Gulf coast. Barrier islands connect to the mainland across a very large Choctawhatchee Bay. This area has some of the coolest winter temperatures in Florida.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The City of Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park & Cultural Center provides area historical educational programming.


Crime in Fort Walton Beach is just about the national average.

Medical Facilities

There are 2 hospitals here: Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and the Gulf Coast.


Pensacola Regional is 40 miles away.

Valuable Links

City of Fort Walton Beach

Fort Walton Beach on Wikipedia



What people are saying about Fort Walton Beach

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