Fort Walton Beach


Fort Walton Beach (FWB) is a resort community that enjoys beautiful views of the Santa Rosa Sound, proximity to Destin, and easy commutes to Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field. The area is permeated by water and boat docks are as common as driveways.

Downtown FWB is thriving with restaurants, yoga studios, condos, and a farmer’s market. The Uptown Shopping District offers name brand retailers, restaurants, and an interactive playground for the kiddos at Central Park. Living in FWB is a popular choice for military families and offers a reprieve from commuter traffic, tourist congestion, and super-inflated home prices. Golfers, don’t fret—we didn’t forget about you! Fort Walton Golf Course is your local club.


Fort Walton Beach’s proximity to Eglin AFB means the area is filled with military families. Living here is all about being close to the water, so most of your neighbors will be outside and active year-round. It’s a little slower-paced here compared to Destin, so you won’t have as many spring-breakers to compete with for beach space.

Neighborhood Feel

Fort Walton Beach has huge, beautiful homes on the water but most of the inventory is from the 1950s and 60s. If you’re willing to put in some sweat equity, you can easily invest in a fixer-upper for a great deal. Ranch style homes are common and neighborhoods are cozy. Lack of available space to accommodate the sprawl from Destin has forced a variety of home styles into a relatively small area. Occasionally you can find mobile home subdivisions next door to new developments, so be sure to check out the surrounding area. There are also condo options available.

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Neighborhood Location

Duke Field – Duke Field Exit off I-85
Eglin AFB – West Gate
Hurlburt Field – Back Gate
Drive Time to Gate
25 to 35* minutes
15 to 20* minutes
12 to 20* minutes
By Transit

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Neighborhood Info

Fort Walton Beach - Eglin AFB & Hurlburt Field, FL -

Points of Interest

Uptown Station & Central Park

Okaloosa Island and Pier


Uptown Shopping District & Downtown Arts & Entertainment District

Emerald Coast Science Center

Heritage Park & Cultural Center

Big Plus

Fort Walton Beach is located directly east of Hurlburt Field, and just south of Eglin AFB, so commuting is easy. Because it’s tucked away off the highway, a lot of the commuter traffic that plagues Navarre doesn’t really affect Fort Walton Beach. It also doesn’t have quite the volume of tourists as Destin.

Watersports and fishing are local obsessions.  

Fort Walton Beach is family-friendly, loves its military residents, and is considered to be just a “really big neighborhood.”

You can find an affordable home as long as you’re willing to invest in one that needs some TLC.

Things to Consider

If you have a large family and need lots of space, you may have a hard time finding a home within your BAH. Because most of the homes are older construction, the footprints are small and the bedrooms are tiny. New construction is usually near the water and can be quite pricey.

Though there are plenty of options for eating out and shopping in Fort Walton Beach, you may find yourself driving to Destin for more shopping and dining options. Fast food is readily available, but more locally sourced options are scarce.  

Make sure you’re scoping out the whole neighborhood when looking at a house in Fort Walton Beach. It’s not uncommon to pass through trailer parks on your way to a newer subdivision.

Traffic during the summer picks up considerably during tourist season. Beachgoers and spring breakers clog up the sole artery leading to Eglin AFB (Highway 98). Plan on crawling past all the beaches during your afternoon commute and try to avoid Highway 98 if possible.

How’s the Market?

The median home value for single-family homes in the city of Fort Walton Beach is $168,000 according to the Zillow Home Value Index. Home values are forecasted to increase by 9.1% in the coming year.

According to Zillow’s Rental Index, the median rental rate for a single family home in Fort Walton Beach is $1,172.

School Scoop

The public schools in Fort Walton Beach are part of Okaloosa County School District (OCSD), which has an overall ranking of 7. One of the best schools is Liza Jackson Preparatory School, which is a public charter school and rated 10 according to

Collegiate High School at NWFSC (in Niceville) serves students in grades 9 through 12 and offers dual enrollment at Northwest Florida State College to all graduates. Students are not only equipped with a high school diploma but also an Associate’s Degree (tuition-free!). Out of zone admission is available pending space and approval.

Special programs to note in OCSD schools include STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medical) clubs, Odyssey of the Mind for gifted students, middle school band and chorus, competitive middle school and high school athletics, foreign language electives, and high school leadership opportunities.

OSCD schools offer programs for military families and are staffed with Military Family Life Consultants (MFLC) who are trained to help military kids navigate the challenges that come with the military lifestyle.

Schools on the north side of town (Kenwood Elementary, Pryor Middle, and Chalktow High) came up often in our focus groups as desirable schools in Fort Walton Beach.

Highlighted Areas



Sea Breeze

The Sound