Get to Know Eglin AFB
One of the first things you’ll notice about the area around Eglin AFB, Florida, is the competing scenery. As you drive in, you’ll see forests of pines, oak trees, and Spanish moss. Yet, when you make your way further south, you’re greeted with white sand beaches.
I was baffled when we first moved to the area. But if you look at a map, you’ll notice that Florida’s panhandle could easily be the state of Alabama—this explains why the picturesque Florida beaches are accompanied by Southern scenery.
Because Eglin AFB is located on the Florida panhandle, it’s easily accessible for travelers near and far. This region is a popular tourist destination. Neighboring cities Pensacola and Destin get the brunt of the seasonal tourism, but you’ll undoubtedly notice a few spilling over into Navarre and Fort Walton Beach.
More specifically, the base is just southwest of Valparaiso and Niceville in Okaloosa County, Florida. Continuing southwest from the base via Eglin Parkway, you will reach Shalimar, Ocean City, Cinco Bayou, and Fort Walton Beach. Directly west of Fort Walton Beach are the cities of Mary Esther and Navarre. Just south of the base, across the Choctawhatchee Bay, lies the city of Destin.
To learn more about Eglin AFB housing and base details, take a look our Eglin AFB Relocation Information.
Where to Live Near Eglin AFB?
Depending on your priorities when you PCS to Eglin AFB, there are several excellent places to live.
Southwest of Eglin AFB, Fort Walton is conveniently located near the base and the beach. It’s also just a short drive from Destin, giving you access to the outlet malls and the high-energy beach life.
Located on the Bobby Bayou, it’s also only a few minutes from the Destin/Fort Walton Beach Airport and Northwest Florida State College.
North of Eglin AFB and the beaches, you get more for your money out here. It's also much quieter, so if living near the beach is not a priority and you’d prefer to avoid tourist traffic, this town is best for you. With two dogs and a baby, this is where my husband and I would choose to live.
Finding a Home Near Eglin AFB
After you narrow down which area you want to live in, it’s time to find a home. MilitaryByOwner offers many listings near Eglin AFB to start your house hunt. However, if you feel the need to expand your search to include reviews of neighborhoods in popular towns, check out Military Town Advisor.
Here’s what one military member said about Sugar Creek in Crestview.
“This is a very quiet and family friendly neighborhood. It is also very safe. In addition, there are back roads to lead you to this area which bypasses a lot of traffic going through Crestview.”
Another reviewer wrote this about Crystal Beach and the Sunsail neighborhood.
“The Crystal Beach area is extremely convenient to everything you could need/ want. It is an easy 25-minute drive to Eglin and a 30-minute drive to Hurlbert. The Sunsail neighborhood has tried to stay true to its Destin beach roots. The walk to the beach is less than 15 minutes at a slow pace. The entire Crystal Beach neighborhood has sidewalks. Neighbors are friendly, and there is a good mix of young professionals, families with children, and retired people."
Activities Near Eglin AFB
When stationed at Eglin AFB, you'll have no shortage of things to do! From Eglin’s Outdoor Recreation Center alone, you have access to horseback riding, snorkeling, paddleboarding, skydiving, and more. For more Blackwater River rentals and activities, click over to the Whiting Field MWR. We’ve personally given them a lot of business and enjoyed each one of our excursions!
Also, make sure to visit Destin and Pensacola. Even though they’re both beach towns, each of them has a different culture and feel. Take some time to get to know and explore them both!
Are you curious about life on the Florida shore? Read these blogs for more things to do near Eglin!
- 4 Farmers Markets and Fresh Food Stands Near NAS Pensacola
- 6 Ideas for Family Fun Near Hurlburt Field, Florida
Here’s a pro tip. If you’ve ever been interested in Space A travel, this is your chance, thanks to regular flight activity in and out of Eglin AFB.
Getting Connected at Eglin AFB
Photo by Jonathan Gallegos on Unsplash
One of the most important things you can do as you prepare for your PCS is to connect with your new community. Eglin Spouses’ Club exists to serve the families located at Eglin AFB as they promote the United States Air Force’s ideals through welfare, charitable organizations, social, educational, and recreational activities.
I hope you feel a little more prepared as you PCS to Eglin AFB. The area is a lot of fun, and I have no doubt you will enjoy your time!