Just beyond the Eglin AFB East Gate lies the city of Valparaiso. This Panhandle city has an “Old Florida” feel and is surrounded by the Boggy Bayou, an arm of the Choctawhatchee Bay. In 1922, James E. Plew moved down from Chicago in search of paradise and found it in Valparaiso. He purchased and developed what he affectionately dubbed “the end of the rainbow,” and retirees have been flocking to this area ever since. In 1934, he sold a significant portion of the land to the U.S. government, which later become Eglin AFB.

Residents are drawn to Valparaiso for the slow pace, desirable schools, affordable homes, and proximity to Eglin AFB. Fort Walton Beach and Destin are nearby and fill the shopping and dining needs of this bedroom community. “Val-p” shares a border with Eglin AFB and the “sound of freedom” is heard loud and clear in areas near the north/south runway. Valparaiso and Niceville are known as the “Twin Cities,” mainly due to the Valparaiso’s reliance on its younger, more populated neighbor.


This community is very popular with retirees and military families alike. It’s less of a vacation destination than nearby Destin and there is a small-town, tight-knit community vibe.  

Neighborhood Feel

The homes in Valparaiso are typically older, most dating back to the 1950s. Affordable homes in need of renovation can be found easily, but new construction is hard to come by.

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Neighborhood Location

Duke Field – Duke Field Exit off I-85
Eglin AFB – East Gate
Hurlburt Field – Back Gate
Drive Time to Gate
15 to 20* minutes
6 to 10* minutes
25 to 30* minutes
By Transit

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Neighborhood Info

Valparaiso - Eglin AFB & Duke Field, FL -

Points of Interest

Lincoln Park

The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida

Perrine Park

Big Plus

Valparaiso has one school (K-8) with a great reputation that serves a ton of military kids.

Proximity to Niceville is a huge perk, and also a necessity. You’ll find yourself making the short drive for most of your day-to-day essentials.

Things to Consider

Make sure you have decent sound-proofing in your home. You’ll be right under Eglin AFB’s north/south runway, so jet noise is a factor.

Val-p has a few gas stations and convenience stores, but you’ll need to drive to Niceville or Fort Walton Beach for everything else.

Valparaiso is “right outside the gate.” Granted, Northwest Florida is an uber conservative region so the seedy establishments that one might think of occupying space “right outside the gate” don’t really have a presence here. But you’ll still notice that some of the area is a little more weathered and in need of some TLC.

How’s the Market?

The median home value for single family homes in Valparaiso is $165,000 according to the Zillow Home Value Index. Home Values are forecasted to increase by 7.7% in the coming year.

According to Zillow’s Rental Index, the median rental rate for single family homes in Valparaiso is $1,150.

School Scoop

The public schools in Valparaiso are in Okaloosa County School District (OCSD), which has an overall rating of 7, according to Valparaiso contains one school (kindergarten through eighth grade), Addie R. Lewis School, which is rated 9.

OCSD offers two charter school options. Liza Jackson Preparatory School (in Fort Walton Beach) is an intermediate charter school serving kindergarten through eighth grade. Collegiate High School at NWFSC (in Niceville) serves students in grades nine 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.

Highlighted Areas

Hidden Cove

Kelly Hill Estates