Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Tucked on Florida's Emerald Coast, Fort Walton Beach is a Popular Fishing and Beach Town Famous for its Long White Strips of Sand
On Florida's Emerald Coast, which stretches about 100 miles from the Alabama border to Panama City, Fort Walton Beach (FWB) is a fishing and beach resort town close to Eglin Air Force Base and along Santa Rosa Sound and Choctawhatchee Bay.
The city is known for its relaxed ambiance and long powdery, white beaches which are across the water on the barrier islands of Okaloosa and Santa Rosa. The recently renovated downtown is packed with restaurants, galleries and boutiques. The Heritage Park and Cultural Center includes the Indian Temple Mound Museum and a collection of prehistoric ceramics that is one of the best in Florida. Fort Walton Landing has a boardwalk, boat ramps, and a stage for summer concerts. Other city parks have waterfront views and fishing piers. The city's Emerald Coast Science Center has interactive exhibits and educational programs for all ages. Fort Walton Beach manages two public golf courses and an active senior center.
Fishing adventures begin on Okaloosa Island. Its Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park has gators, stingrays, and dolphin splash encounters.
Population: 23,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 39%
Cost of Living: 8% below the national average
Median Home Price: $365,000 See This Fort Walton Beach Waterfront Home for Sale for $199,900
Climate: This area has a humid subtropical climate, meaning two seasons a year. Summers and early fall are hot and humid, and late fall and winter are less humid and cooler. On average, FWB receives 65 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No. The nearest accredited hospital is in Niceville, about 12 miles away.
Public Transit: Yes, provided by Okaloosa County Transit
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very conservative
College Educated: 25%
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Hurricanes are always a possiblility. In fact, hurricane Michael brushed the city in 2018 but caused little damage.
Notes: The city is popular with military families, Spring Breakers and "snowbirds." The population has grown 10% during the last decade. Home prices have increased 23% since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Named Pascua Florida by Juan Ponce De Leon, the Sunshine State did not enter the Union until March 3, 1845. Balmy mild winters began attracting snowbirds to the state in the late 19th century. Retirees continue to flock to the state. It's not hard to see why tourism has become the leading industry.
International trade and citrus are also major contributors to the state's economy. Eighty percent of the nation's oranges and grapefruits are grown here, and 40 percent of all U.S. exports to Latin America flow through Florida.
Florida's landscape includes uplands and coastal plains. It contains more than 11,000 miles of waterways and about 4,500 islands spread across 10 acres.
The state has 1,250 golf courses, more than any other state in the Union. The 47 mile Pinellas Trail is the longest urban trail on the east coast. Orlando theme parks attract more visitors than any other theme parks in the U.S. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist is in National Everglades Park.
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