Fort Walton Beach, Mary Esther, Shalimar, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field

Fort Walton Beach, Mary Esther, Shalimar, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field

Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier

Fort Walton Beach Information

Located along North Florida’s glittering Gulf Coast, Fort Walton Beach offers powdery, sugar white beaches, emerald green waters, enjoyable golf courses, and much more. Fort Walton Beach is home to family-friendly attractions such as parks, museums and aquariums, not just the calm, green waters and cool, white sand that make this northwest Florida destination a family favorite.  The busiest time of the year is the summer season, with spring break being a close second.  Thousands of people flock to the Emerald Coast during these seasons. Fort Walton Beach has a very high quality of life due to it’s great location, sound community plan, first rate schools, numerous churches, a low crime rate and excellent recreation opportunities.

Economic Factors Information Fort Walton Beach and Surrounding Areas

The economy of Fort Walton Beach is driven by two primary factors: tourism and the military. There are two major Air Force bases which border Fort Walton Beach. Hurlburt Field, located immediately west of the Town of Mary Esther. Home to Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the 1st Special Operations Wing, and the Joint Special Operations University. Eglin AFB, located 1 Mile North of the Town of Shalimar, is home to the Air Force Material Command’s Air Armament Center and the 96th Air Base Wing, the 46th Test Wing, and Air Combat Command’s 33rd Fighter Wing. Eglin is geographically the largest Air Force base in the World and thus home to joint exercises, and missile and bomb testing.  There is support industry in the area that benefits from the presence of the bases, including military contractors and the service industry.


The tourism industry is seasonal, with summer being the primary season, and a smaller peak season during spring break. The area also boasts a large snowbird population, which includes the Fort Walton Beach Snowbird Club. The Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival is held annually.

Weather Information Fort Walton Beach  

Fort Walton Beach has a very warm humid subtropical climate.  While we do experience 4 seasons here, the Fall/Spring/Winter months are very mild.  The Weather is typically hot and very humid, from late May to mid-September. Fall months, from mid-September to early December, are generally warm and less humid.  The Winter months are very short and mild, from mid-December to late February and Spring months are warm, from late February to late May.  

Fort Walton Beach, is very wet, averaging 69 inches of rain each year, more than any city in Florida. The wettest season is summer, and the driest autumn. Snow and freezing rain are very rare. Freezing rain occurs about once every 5–10 years. Snow occurs about once every 10–15 years.


Nearby Northwest Florida Regional Airport (airport code VPS) serves the Fort Walton Beach Region. Airlines that currently serve Northwest Florida Regional Airport are American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, Continental and US Airways Express. They provide non-stop service to Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Louisville, Ky, Tunica/Memphis, and St. Petersburg/Tampa, with seasonal flights to St. Louis, Orlando/Sanford, Punta Gorda, Fl. and Ft. Lauderdale.


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Additional Area Photos