Niceville / Freeport
While the coastlines are attracting international attention, the cities just north of the coast are booming. Full-time residents have found that living just north of the coast allows quick access to the beaches, events, restaurants, and shopping that the coastal cities have to offer but provides a little more breathing room, especially during the heaviest tourist seasons. One city in particular, Freeport, is seeing a boom due to its fantastic location and the planned future development. Expanding highways, new construction homes, and new shopping centers are going up in Freeport, and it is now one of the hottest places to live on the Emerald Coast of Florida. Freeport is just north of Santa Rosa Beach, Scenic Highway 30-A, and Miramar Beach and a short distance to Destin and Panama City Beach. Its proximity to the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport and the large businesses currently moving into the commercial land surrounding the airport is one reason that Freeport is red hot. Just west of Freeport is Niceville which is an established community just north of Destin and Choctaw Beach which is mostly residential. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the old Florida feel of many of the communities in the northern counties and the fact that they not only have easy access to the beaches, but also rivers, bays, and various waterways which makes it a popular destination for the outdoorsy types that like fishing, kayaking, biking, boating, swimming, and nature walking. Turkey Creek Nature Trail, Lions Park, and Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park are popular places to get back to nature, and the bay, river, etc are popular bodies of water that are enjoyed by kayakers, paddle boarders, fisherman, and boaters alike. Mattie Kelly Arts Center Theater and the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center are also popular with people living and visiting the north county. The northern counties are not only popular with outdoorsy types, boaters, and those following the growth, they are home to popular golf courses such as Windswept Dunes Golf Course, Bluewater Bay Golf Club, and the Eglin Golf Course. Be sure to keep an eye on the north counties, they are evolving and taking shape to offer some of the best quality of life for those that want the best of both worlds.