Around the Town
Fort Walton Beach, Florida


It's Nice Here, But. . .

This area has great natural beauty and is a nice place to live and raise a family. However, all is not necessarily perfect in paradise. Hurricane Opal in 1995 did a tremendous amount of damage to beachfront and inland property here. Hurricane Georges in 1998 did some damage from winds but even more from the large amount of rain that accompanied the winds. Hurricane Ivan in 2004 was the first storm that ever caused me to leave the area and I found some roof damage and trees down in my yard when I got home. I also left the area in 2005 when Hurricane Dennis approached. It came ashore near here but I didn't have any significant damage from it.

The biggest danger to the area, though, is from unrestrained development.


[Construction] The beach is being walled in with high-rise apartments and condos. The lessons that we should have learned from south Florida have been largely ignored here.

This photo was made in 1999 from the top of Brooks Bridge (over the Santa Rosa Sound) looking toward the Gulf. About all you can see of the Gulf is a small blue sliver in the left of the photo just left of one of the high-rise buildings.


Fort Walton Beach (FWB) doesn't have a beach that's on the Gulf of Mexico, and it doesn't have a fort. It does adjoin Eglin Air Force Base, the largest air force base (in terms of land area) in the world, and Hurlburt Field. Hurlburt Field is on Eglin AFB and is the home of the AF Special Operations folks.



[Sound2] FWB was once called Camp Walton after a small Confederate camp that was here. The city is bounded on the south by the Santa Rosa Sound and on the east by Choctawhatchee Bay. The Gulf beaches are actually on Okaloosa Island. Okaloosa Island (as the part of Santa Rosa Island that is in Okaloosa County is called) is a narrow barrier island that stretches from Pensacola to Destin.

This photo shows the Santa Rosa Sound looking west toward Pensacola. The city of Fort Walton Beach is on the right and Okaloosa Island is on the left.







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