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Along the Choctawhatchee Bay on Florida's Western Panhandle, Niceville is Just Across the Water from Sugar White Oceanfront Beaches
Once known as Boggy Bayou, Niceville is a nice town along the Choctawhatchee Bay on Florida's western Panhandle coast and is popular with military families and retirees. It backs up to Eglin Air Force Base, home of the Air Force Test Center and the 96th Test Wing.
Most of Niceville's shoreline is commercially or privately owned, but Henderson State Park, about 13 miles away across the bay, has sugar white oceanfront beaches, a boardwalk and areas for camping. The Mattie Kelly Arts Center has an art gallery and hosts college-produced Broadway shows and the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra. Residents also enjoy a Saturday farmers' market, a dog park and a fairly good selection of retailers and restaurants. Locals enjoy a free gardening program, pop up book sales, July 4th fireworks over the bayou and more. Housing ranges from modest bungalows in slightly bedraggled areas to elegant residences along the water.
Population: 16,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 45%
Cost of Living: 1% above the national average
Median Home Price: $405,000
Climate: This area has a humid subtropical climate, meaning two seasons a year. Summer and early fall are hot and humid. Late fall and winter are less humid and cooler.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Well below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very conservative
College Educated: 33%
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The tornado risk is 74% higher than the national average.
Notes: Hurricane Irma dumped rain and caused some power outages in Niceville in September, 2017 but did not cause major damage. Hurricane Michael struck in 2018 and flooded streets. The town has grown 15% within the last decade and home prices have increased 3% 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.
Florida, particularly the Keys and the Gulf Coast, were struck by Category 4 Hurricane Irma in early September, 2017. Towns will rebuild, perhaps this time with climate change in mind, making them safer and better equipped to handle major hurricanes going forward.
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