Welcome to Okaloosa County, where many visit and we are lucky enough to call home! From eclectic Fort Walton Beach and the beaches of Destin, to rivers, lakes and forest in the Crestview area, there are many choices among the nine municipalities of Okaloosa County in which to live. Our community is home to military members and families including the United States Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. The Okaloosa County connection with Eglin Air Force Base, as well as Hurlburt and Duke Fields create possibilities, enhance our communities, and help preserve our natural area.
We have numerous accolades for our soft, white, sandy beaches that include “Best Beach, Best Family Destination and Best Place to Boat,” to name a few. Acclamations are from media outlets such as USA Today, Southern Living, Travelocity, the Travel Channel and most recently, Okaloosa County made the top ten list for “Best Places for Business & Careers,” by the Forbes Business Institute.
Major economic indicators include tourism and the military; however community leaders are consistently striving for more economic diversity. One such example will be the new Marine Life Center on Okaloosa Island which will boost the local seafood industry through stock enhancement, provide aquaculture education and create jobs.
Okaloosa County’s three airports have another significant impact on the local economy. Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) is a joint-use facility established on Eglin Air Force Base in 1957. This valuable relationship with Eglin assists our military with convenient, affordable air travel, thereby benefitting local residents as well. The airport accommodates over 900,000 passengers annually on US Airways, American, Delta and United Airlines.
The Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview and the Destin Executive Airport are equally diverse, with Crestview rising as a hub of industry, accommodating aerospace industrial applications from across the globe and Destin’s strong market for leisure and business travel of over 65,000 annual flights.
Despite a sluggish national economy, we have made great progress in improving services. Okaloosa County has a new, efficient and award-winning, water reclamation facility. The 911 Emergency Operations Center is fully operational with a 24/7 dispatch and most recently, a new courthouse annex extension designed with added safety and upgraded technology.
The innovative design, future growth enhancements and overall technology of these facilities and others are setting a new standard for economical excellence. Okaloosa County celebrates its 100th year anniversary in 2015 and has a current population of 187,280. The five elected Okaloosa County Commissioners are dedicated to connecting our communities and providing essential services, public safety, and a quality of life for future generations.