Below is this video transcript as a blog post about Niceville Pros and Cons!
Niceville Pros and Cons
Hey, it’s Charlie Cameron – leader of the Military Home Team with eXp Realty, your local Niceville realtor, PCS expert, relocation expert, and investing expert. Let’s talk about some pros and cons of living in Niceville, Florida. Thought about this quite a bit since I’ve lived here for years now, and frankly, my family and I really love it, but there are definitely some drawbacks to living here. I’m going to go through nine pros, and we’ll talk about eight cons, and then I’m going to circle back with one more pro, so stay tuned for that one. It’s a big one!
Niceville, on the Panhandle of the state of Florida, is a small but charming city located in Okaloosa County, in the northwestern part of the state. Known for its friendly atmosphere and community spirit, Niceville is aptly named (it used to be called Boggy after the Boggy Bayou… thankfully it was renamed!). It is a family-friendly city with beautiful parks, good schools, and various community events throughout the year. It’s also conveniently situated near the Eglin Air Force Base and the white sandy beaches of the Emerald Coast, making it an attractive location for both military personnel and beach lovers. This is definitely one of the best places to get stationed in the Air Force in the United States – and you’ll see what I mean the first time you visit!
9 Pros of Living in Niceville Florida (and one more Pro at the end!)
Niceville Pro #1: Schools
So the first pro of living in Niceville, families love the school system. They absolutely love all of the elementary, middle, and high schools here. The high school is very well known across the panhandle, loved by many, many families, and we love it too. Niceville is a great place to raise a family with public schools ranking well above the national average.
Niceville Pro #2: The Best Beaches in the World!
The second pro is we live near some of the most beautiful beaches in the world here along the Florida panhandle. It’s called the Emerald Coast for a reason, right? So we get the benefit of being really close to Destin and having access to those beaches in Fort Walton, Okaloosa Island, 30A, and all that beautiful Emerald Coast. Visiting those beaches just outside of the high summer season helps to minimize a lot of the touristy traffic. Some people pay thousands of thousands of dollars to come to visit our beaches, and we get to live here.
Niceville Pro #3: Close to Destin… but not TOO Close!
The third pro along that vein is that we live really close to Destin. You can get to Destin across the Mid-Bay Bridge within about 15 to 20 minutes, five minutes if you live in Bluewater Bay. It’s so close! Also, living here grants you easy access to shopping malls, lots of restaurants, beaches, and then all the touristy things to do! You can go paragliding. You can go on a helicopter. You can rent jet skis. You can rent boats. The list goes on and on, mini golf, water parks, laser tag, anything you can think of really It’s all here! Basically, all the touristy things you can think of in a beach town, but can be avoided if we wanted.
Niceville Pro #4: Great Local Restaurants
My fourth pro is that there are a lot of great local eateries in Niceville. You can always find a good place to wine and dine! I love Docs, Wharf 850, Toast Wine Bar, Blue Collar Cafe for breakfast, and Pepito’s. There is a wide range of really great local places to eat if you know where to look!
Living in Niceville Pro #5: Social Establishments
Similar to pro number four, pro number five, there are great local drinking establishments! We have 3rd Planet Brewery, Schooners, Props Brewery (now a Speakeasy). and Strange Colt Brewery just to name a few. Like the eateries, there are plenty of drinkeries (Not an actual word BTW) too!
Moving to Niceville Pro #6: Proximity to VPS Airport
Pro number six is that we live really really close to the local airport, designator VPS! Destin Fort Walton Beach Airport VPS, technically is in Valparaiso and shares the runway with Eglin Air Force Base. It’s just minutes from just about anywhere in Niceville reachable by the highway. I think it’s awesome because we can fly in and out to anywhere in the U.S. Now, typically direct flights are hard to come by, but it seems that more and more are becoming available during the summer high season. There are also Delta and American Airlines that fly into VPS. So you’re really not limited in where you can go! Pricing fluctuates throughout the year. A little cheaper in the summer, but more expensive in the off-season.
Niceville Pro #7: Hometown Feel
Pro number seven, Niceville has got that really warm hometown feel. You know exactly what I’m talking about! It’s the kind of place where people know each other, neighbors wave, and help each other out. It seems as though everyone cheers for the high school sports teams and attends the games. It’s really got a feeling to it. You feel safe, like everyone is part of your family, even if you’ve never met before. It was really refreshing moving here because I’ve lived in quite a few places where neighbors don’t wave to each other. People didn’t seem to enjoy each other’s company. This is the exact opposite of that, and I haven’t really felt this way since I lived on base as a kid in middle school. It’s been quite a while since then, and I finally feel like I have that hometown feel and feel at home here.
Niceville Living Pro #8: Niceville Loves the Military!
Pro number eight, they love the military here. Can’t get enough of it. There’s jet noise all the time. There are explosions from the EOD range blowing stuff up. Half the population is active duty, veterans, or retirees. Everyone seems to love the military here. We just love it!
Moving to Niceville Pro #9: No Income Tax in Florida!
Pro number nine, easy one. No income tax in Florida! Hell yeah! All right, now let’s get through a few cons before I circle back with one last pro.
Cons of Living in Niceville Florida
Con #1 of Living in Niceville: Home Prices
The first con of living in Niceville is that home prices tend to be more expensive than in the surrounding areas. It’s all about supply versus demand. There just aren’t a lot of new builds going on here due to not having a lot of places to build. One exception is Deer Moss Creek in Niceville. Home prices compared to Crestview, Fort Walton, Mary Esther, Freeport, and Choctaw Beach. The entire surrounding area tends to be more expensive, especially as you go east towards Bluewater Bay and closer to the Mid-Bay bridge.
And, in general, the cost of living gets higher the closer you get to the beach. The same things will cost much more in Destin than they will in Crestview, for example. But you’ll be closer to the most fun things to do in the area, which is the major reason families might choose to live closer to the gulf coast.
Niceville Con #2: Homeowner’s Insurance is Expensive
Con number two is homeowner’s insurance costs. This is more of a coastal Florida thing than a specific Niceville thing. It’s just more expensive to live near the coast where you can potentially get hit by a hurricane. Insurance costs, if you’re coming from the Midwest or the East, anywhere not near water, you may be surprised by insurance costs because we have hurricanes. Now, they’re not that often, and we get lucky a lot of times, and sometimes they’re just not that intense. But every now and then, a hurricane can schwack us, for instance, Hurricane Michael. So that’s just something to keep in mind is that expenses is higher than most places.
Con of Moving to Niceville #3: Few Dine-in Restaurants
The third con is that there are not very many mainstream dine-in restaurants. Sure, we have the Paneras, the Starbucks, the Zaxby’s, the Chick-fil-A, and Panda Express. We have some sub shops, and chain sub shops, but we don’t have a lot of sit-down dinner establishments. We don’t have steak houses, Olive Gardens. or any decently good chains. There are one or two little local establishments, but there’s no mainstream chain. So if that’s something that you’re looking for, you’re going to have to drive to it.
Niceville Con #4: Tourism Traffic
Con number four is tourism traffic. Now, typically in Niceville, we won’t see a lot of tourism traffic, even during the 100 days of summer. However, if you wanted to enjoy any of, let’s say, those mainstream restaurants I talked about. You’re going to have to drive to them, i.e. you’re going to have to contend with some of that tourism traffic. So if you want to enjoy some of the summer activities or you want to enjoy some of the things you can’t get in Niceville, you’re going to have to deal with tourism traffic. I consider it a con that a lot of times we do have to put up with.
Niceville Living Con #5: No Target
Con number five. I guess this is my bougie side coming out, but we don’t have a Target… Sometimes you don’t want Walmart. It can be an important factor! You want Target for something, and we just don’t have it… boo.
Niceville Con #6: No Sports Teams or Events for Adults
Number six is you’re far from sports teams and different types of adult entertainment. There is a performance arts center, the Mattie Kelly Center. However, you have to travel to Pensacola or Panama City Beach for any real events, live events, beer fests, concerts, sports team events, hockey, you name it, you’re going to have to travel for it. If you’re usually looking for an events based good time, be ready to drive.
Niceville Con #7: Not Much Entertainment for Kids
Con number seven, similar to #6, there’s not actually a lot of kids’ entertainment in Niceville itself. So yeah, we got an ice cream shop with a small arcade attached, we have a cool children’s park, and a couple of other small things. There’s just not a lot of built-in entertainment for kids. But, we’re coming up on a pro that solves a little bit of that in a minute!
Living in Niceville Con #8: No Movie Theater
Number eight is there’s no movie theater… I know right!…. So if you want to see a movie in theaters, you’ll have to get out of Niceville to do that.
One Final Pro of Moving to Niceville Florida!
So that brings me to my very last pro, pro number 10. Within a half-hour drive. you can get to a lot of stuff in Destin and in Fort Walton Beach. There’s even a zoo about an hour away from here, which is pretty cool, and one in Crestview about 40 minutes away, which is decent as well! So luckily, we have all those establishments. You just got to be willing to fight a little bit of traffic and drive to them.
Niceville Pros and Cons Conclusion
As a military family that lives in Bluewater Bay Niceville FL, we ABSOLUTELY love it! IT’s the perfect small town and an excellent place to raise a family. We just wish there were a few more things to do for adults and kids! At the end of the day, this is definitely one of the best places to PCS to in North Florida and the United States! If you have any questions at all about the area or if our military-first real estate team can help in any way, please reach out to us below. If I missed any pros and cons, let me know!