Florida’s Emerald Coast Overview & History
The Emerald Coast area of Florida is well known for views expected only in more distant Caribbean islands. The deep emerald green color of the northern Gulf of Mexico, combined with the white crystal quartz beaches, produces the beautiful Emerald Coast blue-green waters found here. This popular, yet less developed area of Florida’s coastline boasts approximately 100 miles of such pristine shoreline to enthrall the visitor and resident alike.
Emerald Coast’s sugar-white sand looks like snow to many. Visitors from cold climates often enjoy posing near sand dunes in the Winter to show the folks back home what a Pensacola winter looks like. This same white sand coastline is prevalent throughout the Emerald Coast from Alabama to Panama City. Visitors to this Florida cosstal area will encounter boundless opportunities to explore and enjoy this natural unspoiled area. Although only the most undeveloped “natural” beaches are featured here on Florida Nature Guide, the entire shoreline of this beautiful Florida Gulf Coast area provides visitors with unique beach experiences to remember.
Located in the Northwest Florida panhandle between Panama City and Perdido Key, this area is often referred to as the “Redneck Riviera“. The area enjoys a moderate climate attributed to the cool sea breezes which offers year-round outdoor activities. While snow is not common to this area, the winter months do on occasion cover the white sand dunes with some of the “real thing”. Exotic sea life is abundant in the Emerald Coast waters with several offshore reefs providing diving and snorkeling adventures during the warmer months.
The Emerald Coast stretches about 100 miles through four counties, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, and Bay, from Gulf Breeze on the east side of Pensacola Bay to Panama City on the east side of the St. Andrews Bay. The area is located south of Interstate 10 in the Florida Panhandle and is accessible from this route by major Highways 29 (from Pensacola), 85 (from Fort Walton Beach) and 231 (from Panama City).
The Florida coastline East of Panama City is often included when referencing the Emerald Coast, but is actually properly called the “Forgotten Coast“. Check out our pages here on Florida Nature Guide for an overview of the Forgotten Coast History.