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The Florida Panhandle is the region of the state of Floridamarker which includes most of the northwestern part of the state. It is a narrow strip lying between Alabamamarker on the north and the west, Georgiamarker also on the north, and the Gulf of Mexicomarker to the south. Its eastern boundary is arbitrarily defined along some chosen county lines, and it includes Tallahasseemarker.

The Apalachicola Rivermarker is the largest river of the Panhandle. It is formed by the junction of several rivers, including the Chattahoochee and the Flint, where Alabama, Georgia, and Florida meet. From there, it flows due south to the town of Apalachicolamarker.

The largest city of the Panhandle is Tallahasseemarker, the state's capital. Major military bases include the Naval Air Station at Pensacolamarker (the home of Naval Aviation in the United Statesmarker), Eglin Air Force Basemarker, near Ft.marker Walton Beachmarker, and Tyndall Air Force Basemarker, near Panama Citymarker.

The most important highway of the Panhandle is the east-west U.S. Interstate 10, running all the way across it, part of the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway, linking Jacksonville on the East Coast with Santa Monica, Californiamarker on the West Coast. Other older east-west routes include U.S. Hwy-90 and U.S. Hwy-98. Important north-south highways include U.S. Hwy-29, U.S. Hwy-331, and U.S. Hwy-231, all linking to Alabama and Interstate 65.

Culturally and in terms of history and climate, like the First Coast region (of northeastern Florida) and North Central Florida, this region is more closely tied to the Deep South than to the Peninsula of Florida.

In the 1830s, before Florida became a state, the people of the Panhandle voted to join the State of Alabama. However, before this action could be implemented, a financial scandal broke out in the Alabama Legislature, and the annexation was not carried out.

Shortly after the Civil War, residents of Florida's peninsula considered ceding the state's entire western arm to Alabama for a million dollars. Alabama's leaders decided that the land was "a sand bank and gopher region" as a result the Panhandle remained a part of Florida.

The following counties are in the Panhandle:

Cities in the Panhandle include Tallahasseemarker, Pensacolamarker, Fort Walton Beachmarker, and Panama Citymarker. The beach towns, many of which play host to college students during spring break, in the Panhandle are sometimes known by the informal moniker – the Redneck Riviera. The quartz sand on the beaches of the Panhandle is so white that some traders reportedly sold it as sugar in World War II. Florida State Road 20 stretches from Niceville, FL to Tallahassee, FL, covering the majority of the Panhandle, while U.S. Road 98 runs along the coast, stretching from Pensacolamarker to St. Marksmarker.

The Panhandle can be divided into three major sections - East, Central and Western.

The Western Florida Panhandle is dominated by coastal development and military bases, to include Eglin Air Force Basemarker, Hurlburt Fieldmarker, Whiting Fieldmarker, Naval Air Station Pensacolamarker, and Tyndall Air Force Basemarker. Significant towns include Pensacolamarker, Destinmarker, Fort Walton Beachmarker, and Panama Citymarker.

The Central Florida Panhandle, stretching through Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, and Bay Counties, has been marked by upscale developments in recent decades. These include Seasidemarker, Sandestinmarker, and countless others. In fact, development in the coastal area has become so commonplace that very little beachfront property remains untouched, unless it is under the stewardship of the Federal or State Government.

The Eastern Florida Panhandle is mostly defined by Tallahassee and its surrounding environs, including Wakulla Countymarker.

The Panhandle has a land area of 29,276.055 km² (11,303.548 sq mi), or 20.96 percent of the state's land area. Its population at the 2000 census was 1,222,492 residents, or 7.649 percent of the state's population at that time.

Major communities

See Also: "The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle" by A Day To Remember


  1. Sandestin: Destin, Florida Wild Life & Ecotourism

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