The Florida panhandle map is chock-full of beautiful beaches, charming little towns, and cool salty breezes. Because of its shape, the northwestern or western part of the U.S. state of Florida is unofficially known as the Florida Panhandle.
Looking at the map of that part of Florida, we will notice that this region borders Georgia to part the north, Alabama to part of the north and west, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south.
In this article, we will go over all the major coastal areas and main cities of the Florida panhandle.
There are two coastal regions in the Florida Panhandle: The Emerald Coast and the Forgotten Coast.
The Emerald Coast
The Emerald Coast refers to the coastal resorts from Port St. Joe to Pensacola. It should be noticed that some people use the term of the Emerald Coast to refer to the whole coast. But, traditionally, the term Emerald coast refers to the coastal areas of the following counties:
- Okaloosa County.
- Santa Rosa County.
- Walton County.
Portions of the Bay County and Pensacola Beach on Escambia county are also often included in definitions of the Emerald Coast.
The term Emerald Coast was first coined in 1983.
The Forgotten Coast
The Forgotten Coast refers to the coastal portion of the Florida Panhandle that goes from either Mexico Beach or Bay County on the Gulf of Mexico to St. Marks on Apalachee Bay.
This coastal region encompasses the coastal areas of the following counties:
- Gulf County.
- Franklin County.
- Wakulla County.
Also, some small parts of Bay County are included in the definition of the Forgotten Coast.
The term Forgotten Coast was first coined in the early 1990s.
Apalachicola is a city in Franklin County, of which it is also the county seat.
This city has an estimated population of 2,328. The name Apalachicola comes from the Apalachicola tribe. Apalachicola probably means “people on the other side of the river”, although some locals claim it means “land of the friendly people”.
“I go to Florida sometimes for vacation. I actually really like Florida. It’s a weird place, it’s surreal. It’s so close, but you feel like you’re in another world or on an island.” — Jemima Kirke
The site where the city sits has a British trading post before being incorporated as West Point in 1827. The city changed its name to Apalachicola in 1831.
Currently, the city offers its visitors an “old Florida” experience.
Blountstown is a city in Calhoun County, of which it is also the county seat.
This city has an estimated population of 2,500. The city is named about the Creek Indian Chief John Blount, who was General Andrew Jackson’s guide during the US invasion of Spanish Florida in 1818. This invasion concluded with the US purchase of Florida from Spain. Florida became part of the United States in 1821.
Bonifay is a city in Holmes County, of which is also the county seat.
Bonifay has an estimated population of 2,750. The city gets its name from the Bonifay family, who owned a brickmaking factory in the nearby city of Pensacola.
Callaway is a city in Bay County. It is part of the Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach Metropolitan area.
The city has an estimated population of 15,269.
Carrabelle is a city in Franklin County. It is on the Gulf of Mexico, at the mouth of the Carrabelle River, east of Apalachicola.
The city has an estimated population of 2,744.
In the 17th century, Carrabelle was one of the points from which to stage raids of nearby ports.
Cedar Grove is an unincorporated area in Bay County. It is part of the Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach Metropolitan area.
This area has an estimated population of 3,397. It became unincorporated through popular vote in 2008.
Chipley is a city in Washington County, northeast of Pensacola.
This city has an estimated population of 3,580.
Crestview is a city in Okaloosa County, of which it is also the county seat.
The city has an estimated population of 23,567. Crestview is colloquially known as “Hub City.”
Crestview is one of the fastest-growing cities in Florida. Its name makes reference to its location on the peak of the woodland range that goes between the Shoal and the Yellow rivers.
Originally, Crestview was an outgrowth of the railroad servicing the western Panhandle.
DeFuniak Springs is a city in Walton County, of which it is also the county seat.
The city has an estimated population of 6,284. DeFuniak Springs was originally a resort in the 19th century.
Destin is a city in Okaloosa County. It is part of the Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin metropolitan area.
This city of the Emerald Coast is famous for its beaches and the emerald green color of its waters.
With an estimated population of 13,654, Destin gets more than 80 percent of all the visitors (4.5 a year) in the Emerald Coast.
“Florida is a very healing place.” — Burt Reynolds
Fort Walton Beach
Fort Walton Beach is a city in Okaloosa County.
The city has an estimated population of 21,971.
Gulf Breeze is a city in Santa Rosa County on the Fairpoint Peninsula.
Lynn Haven is in Bay County, north of Panama City.
Marianna is a city in Jackson County, of which is also the county seat.
Milton is a city in Santa Rosa County, of which is also the county seat.
Navarre is an unincorporated community in Santa Rosa County. It is most famous as a bedroom community of Federal civil servants and US military personnel.
Niceville is a city in Okaloosa County. It is part of the Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin Metropolitan area.
Panama City is the county seat of Bay County. It is the biggest city between Tallahassee and Pensacola.
Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach is a resort city in Bay County, on the Gulf of Mexico.
Pensacola is only 13 miles away from Alabama, which makes it the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle. It is the county seat of Escambia County.
Pensacola isn’t Florida, really. It’s the Panhandle. It’s right up there near Alabama and Louisiana. It’s, like, a stroll away from New Orleans. I feel like New Orleans is home. – Katy Mixon
Port St. Joe
Port St. Joe is a city in Gulf County.
Quincy is a city in Gadsden County.
Springfield is a city in Bay County.
Tallahassee is the capital of the State of Florida. Previously, it was the capital of Florida territory since 1826.
With a population of about 376,627, Tallahassee is the 7th biggest city in Florida and the 126th biggest city in the country.
Valparaiso is a city in Okaloosa County. It was named after the town of Valparaiso in Indiana.