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    What to Know for a PCS Move to Eglin AFB

    One of the first things you’ll notice about the area surrounding Eglin AFB, Florida, is its diverse scenery. Here, you'll find picturesque Florida beaches alongside Southern landscapes.

    As you drive into town, you’ll see forests of pines, oak trees, and Spanish moss. Yet, as you continue further south, you’re greeted by white sand beaches—a delightful surprise that can only be explained by its location on the panhandle.

    Get to Know Eglin AFB

    Get to Know Eglin AFB

    Eglin AFB, situated in the Florida panhandle, is easily accessible to travelers near and far, making it a popular tourist destination. While neighboring cities like Pensacola and Destin experience the bulk of seasonal tourism, you'll undoubtedly notice visitors spilling over into Navarre and Fort Walton Beach.

    The base is located southwest of Valparaiso and Niceville in Okaloosa County, Florida. If you continue southwest from the base via Eglin Parkway, you will pass through Shalimar, Ocean City, Cinco Bayou, and eventually reach Fort Walton Beach. To the west of Fort Walton Beach lie the cities of Mary Esther and Navarre. South of the base, across the Choctawhatchee Bay, is Destin.

    Where to Live Near Eglin AFB?

    Depending on your priorities when you PCS to Eglin AFB, there are several excellent places to live.

    map of Eglin AFB


    Fort Walton Beach

    Southwest of Eglin AFB, Fort Walton is conveniently located near the base and the beach. It’s also a short drive from Destin, providing easy access to outlet malls and the vibrant beach scene. 


    If the name isn’t enticing enough, Niceville’s location certainly is. Situated on the Boggy Bayou, this town is just a few minutes away from the Destin/Fort Walton Beach Airport and Northwest Florida State College. 


    To the north of Eglin AFB and the beaches (and tourists), your housing budget stretches further. If you value a quieter pace removed from the bustling spring breakers and don't prioritize an ocean-view home, Crestview is a great place to consider during your house hunt.

    After visiting the beach several times and driving around the surrounding area, you can determine whether a beachfront villa, a house conveniently located in town, or a quieter property north of the base is your highest priority. It all comes down to your preferences and what your budget allows.

    Some sample BAH rates for Eglin AFB: 

    • E1 with dependents: $2,268
    • E1 without dependents: $1,959
    • E9 with dependents: $3,087
    • E9 without dependents: $2,373
    • O1 with dependents: $2,298
    • O1 without dependents: $2,271
    • O7 with dependents: $3,417 
    • O7 without dependents: $3,066

    Find the BAH rates for zip code 32542 using the DOD BAH Calculator

    parents and children running on beachPhoto from Canva 

    Activities Near Eglin AFB

    There's no shortage of things to do when stationed at Eglin AFB. From Eglin's Outdoor Recreation Center alone, access activities such as horseback riding, snorkeling, paddleboarding, skydiving, and more. Venture outside the base, and you'll soon discover why this area is a popular tourist destination.

    Family-friendly things to do near Eglin AFB: 

    1. Big Kahuna's Water & Adventure Park: There’s no better way to beat the heat than Big Kahuna’s. This water park features slides, pools, and other attractions for all ages.
    2. Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park: Visit this marine park to see dolphin and sea lion shows and marine life exhibits.
    3. The Island Pier: Go fishing or stroll on this popular fishing pier, which offers scenic views of the Gulf of Mexico.
    4. Henderson Beach State Park: Experience nature and enjoy hiking trails, picnic areas, and a pristine beach away from the crowds.
    5. Air Force Armament Museum: Learn about the history of Eglin AFB and its role in military aviation at this museum located on the base. Admission is free!
    6. Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park: Fill your lungs with fresh air and spend the day hiking, boating, and fishing in this serene state park.
    7. HarborWalk Village: Explore shops, restaurants, and entertainment options along the harbor in Destin.
    8. Emerald Coast Science Center: Visit with kids to enjoy hands-on exhibits and educational programs focused on science and technology.

    You certainly won’t run out of things to do and explore, but Pensacola is just down the road when you're ready to break up the normal routine. This city has an infectious personality and makes for an effortless and unforgettable nearby destination.

    More ideas of things to do near Eglin AFB:

    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. 

    mom and child on Eglin_beachPhoto by Jonathan Gallegos on Unsplash

    Getting Connected at Eglin AFB

    For service members, settling into a new community is part of the job, but it can be much harder for spouses and family members to find their footing. Once you know you’re heading to the area, contact the Eglin Spouses’ Club. They are a large group eager to support families at Eglin AFB and promote the United States Air Force’s ideals through welfare, charitable organizations, and social, educational, and recreational activities.

    The 96th Support Squadron offers resources for those trying to plug into the area. For support families and spouses, check out Eglin AFB’s Youth Center and Employment Opportunities

    While a PCS move to a new duty station brings with it a lot of changes, Eglin AFB’s location should ease the discomfort. Frequent breaks at the beach while you work to settle in might be just what the doctor ordered!

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    Danielle Keech


    Danielle Keech

    Danielle Keech is a writer and content creator for MilitaryByOwner Advertising. She writes on military life topics, highlights clients’ open houses on social media, and manages the Military PCS Facebook group. She especially enjoys covering financial topics and helping military families exercise financial responsibility and plan for the future. Danielle has been a Marine Corps spouse for ten years (and counting!) and is a momma to four littles and one fur baby. She and her pilot spouse have lived in Virginia, Florida, Texas, California, Hawaii, and, most recently, Okinawa, Japan. And yes, you guessed it, Hawaii is her favorite duty station to date! Find MilitaryByOwner's Millitary PCS group here.

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