Fort Walton Beach
Fort Walton Beach is a city in southern Okaloosa County, Florida, United States. It is a principal city of the Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin Metropolitan Statistical Area. Fort Walton Beach is a year-round fishing and beach resort community. Its busiest time of the year is the summer, with spring break being another busy time when thousands of people flock to the Emerald Coast.
The economy of Fort Walton Beach is driven by two primary factors: tourism and the military. There are two major Air Force bases which border Fort Walton Beach. Hurlburt Field is home to Headquarters, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the 1st Special Operations Wing, and the Joint Special Operations University. Eglin AFB is home to the Air Force Material Command’s Air Armament Center and the 96th Air Base Wing, the 46th Test Wing, and Air Combat Command’s 33rd Fighter Wing. The tourism industry is seasonal, with summer being the primary season, and a smaller peak season during spring break. The area also boasts a large snowbird population, which includes the Fort Walton Beach Snowbird Club. The Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival is held annually in June.