Introduction to Valparaiso, Florida
Valparaiso, Florida, in Okaloosa county, is 43 miles E of Pensacola, Florida (center to center) and 216 miles E of New Orleans, Louisiana. The city benefits from easy access to the nearby cities and towns with which it shares the Fort Walton Beach metropolitan area. Valparaiso has a population of approximately 6,408.
In the 1800s, the area now known as Valparaiso, was Federal Government-owned uninhabited forest land. Allen Brown, Jr. established his home here in 1901, and The Consolidated Land and Lumber Company purchased the entire region in 1909. Gradually, a sawmill near the north of Tom's Bayou became the center of a small community. John B. Perrine, a Chicago industrialist who visited the area and was impressed by its natural beauty, named it "Valparaiso", a Spanish word meaning "Vale of Paradise". The charter for the City of Valparaiso was granted in 1921. The Eglin Air Force Base, which was established in 1935, played an important role in the development of the city. Numerous World War II pilots were trained at this base, and many of them made Valparaiso their home. Today, the Eglin Air Force Base has become one of the largest air force installations in the world.
Valparaiso and Nearby Attractions
- Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida
- Pensacola Museum of Art
- Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
- Boll Weevil Monument
- Grayton Beach State Park
Things To Do In Valparaiso
Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, located in the city of Valparaiso, displays documents, photographs, and audio visual materials documenting the development of the region from an uninhabited forest and fishing area to a popular tourist destination and advanced technology military nexus. The Heritage Park and Cultural Center includes the Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum, the Indian Temple Mound Museum, and the Garnier Post Office Museum. The Gulfarium houses dolphins and also organizes sea life shows. The Gulf World is a popular marine park near the city. At the Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, visitors can enjoy swimming, camping, boating, and fishing. Henderson Beach State Park has beaches, nature trails, and facilities for fishing, swimming, and camping. The Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, another popular park in the area, provides recreational facilities such as nature trails, beaches, biking, and scuba diving.
Pensacola Regional Airport is the closest major airport.
Valparaiso Higher Education
Pensacola Junior College, Okaloosa-Walton Community College, and The University of West Florida are nearby colleges.