Okaloosa County Sinkhole Map
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Okaloosa County is located at the northwestern portion of the state of Florida in a 100-mile stretch informally called as the Emerald Coast. This county has a land area of 930 square miles extending from the Alabama state line southward to the Gulf of Mexico.
Okaloosa would appeal most to real estate buyers with an eye for waterfront properties. This county, after all, flaunts a coastline of 24 miles, mainly the domain of pristine white, powdery beaches off its 152-square-mile territorial waters.
Okaloosa was established as a Florida county in 1915 on the initiative of the then member of the House of Representatives and Laurel Hill resident William Mapoles. Okaloosa drew its territory from Santa Rosa and Walton counties. It’s named after a steamboat, The Okaloosa. This vessel operated on the Black Water River, transporting passengers from Milton to Pensacola, and it got its name (that the county later adopted) from the Choctaw Native American word for black water.
Crestview, east of the Yellow River Management Area and roughly in the middle of Okaloosa, is the county seat. Home buyers who want elevated residences would love this place which is located, as its name suggests, in one of the highest points in Florida at 235 feet above sea level.
Population Growth Driver
Okaloosa’s largest community though is the census designated place Wright which spreads near the Gulf Coast. The Eglin Air Force Base and the USAF installation Hurlburt which flank Wright roughly east and west, respectively, are population magnets for the whole of the county. North just 3 miles south of Crestview is another military installation, Duke Field. With these three USAF bases, it comes as no surprise that military veterans comprise an estimated one-third of Okaloosa’s total population.
The breathtaking coastal areas of Okaloosa are primers too for its perky population growth which saw a 12.2 percent gain in 2010‒2017 to nearly 2013,000 residents. Aside from Wright, the popular destinations for home buyers as well as visitors include the Gulf coast areas of Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and Okaloosa Island.
Tourism beyond Tradition
As to be expected, the tourism industry is one of the primers of the Okaloosa economy and, by extension, a driver as well for its real estate sector. Prominent among the county’s destinations in this regard are the coastal areas of Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and Okaloosa Island.
It is noteworthy as well that Okaloosa has been diversifying beyond its traditional beach getaways to attract tourists and in the process promoting itself as an eclectic home-buying destination as well. In recent years, the agritourism and ecotourism segments of the local travel industry is gaining traction toward this end.
Visitors are increasingly being drawn to Okaloosa for its farm activities such as fruit and vegetable picking, hayrides, and campouts. Also in the rise in the county are nature-based tours with emphasis on environmental conservation in outings like hiking, biking, kayaking, and bird watching. A robust transportation infrastructure including the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport and Bob Sikes Airport, as well as the inter-county bus service Emerald Coast Rider, enables convenient reach to these activities and everything that Okaloosa County has to offer.