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Walton County FL
Located in Northwest Florida on the Emerald Coast, Walton County was established in 1824. This county was named after Colonel George Walton, Jr., secretary of the Florida Territory in 1821‒1826. Its county seat is DeFuniak Springs, while Miramar Beach in South Walton is the county’s largest city.
Walton has a total area of 1,240 square miles, one Florida’s largest, stretching from the Alabama state line north and south to the Gulf Coast. The county’s land area consists of 1,038 square miles and water 202 square miles. The highest natural point in Florida, the 345-foot Britton Hill, is notably located in Walton.
Strengths South at the Coast
Besides these geographic superlatives, Walton boasts of the varied attractions at its southern slice towards the Gulf of Mexico. South Walton takes prides in its 16 premier coastal communities, each with its own character and style woven around 26 miles of powdery white sand beaches and the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Miramar Beach is Walton County’s melting pot, as it is a beach resort town teeming with rental condos and apartments. The tourist traffic in this city, as to be expected, is quite heavy during summer and the holidays. Miramar Beach has also become a favored Florida destination for retirees.
Seaside is another notable city in South Walton, the reason being that it is among the first master-planned U.S. communities developed based on the New Urbanism principles. Its development is a showcase discussed in architectural schools and housing industry forums, and it is one of the must-visit destinations for design professionals across the U.S.
In addition to its acclaimed residential neighborhoods, South Walton as a prime tourist destination is host to posh hotel accommodations, eclectic shops and art galleries, challenging golf links, and award-winning restaurants. Outdoor recreational activities abound too in South Walton, as it is home to four state parks, a state forest, and 15 rare coastal dune lakes plus the offshore gulf waters.
Hubs of Commerce and Business
In addition to tourism, Walton’s economy and its real estate sector draw strength from the county various business and industrial parks. One is at the county seat itself, the DeFuniak Springs Municipal Airport Park which banks on its strategic location to draw business to its fold. Similar tailwinds to growth is parlayed at the 23-acre business park in the Paxton next to this town’s airport. In South Walton, there is a 134-acre commerce park too which is well suited for office development in support of construction, tourism, and defense-related ventures.
With all these economic drivers firmly in place, Walton County has emerged as one of the fastest growing counties in the whole of the U.S. An appreciable growth in county’s population was likewise noted between 2016 and 2017, with the census count rising from 65,440 to 68,376. At the same time, a 10.2% increase in tourist arrivals has been noted in Walton. Give this tourism gain and the uptick in local population growth, Walton County indeed appears well en route to sustaining its economic growth in the future.