Bay County, Florida is located in the northwest corner of the state, on the Gulf of Mexico. It is bordered by Gulf County to the west, Calhoun County to the north, and Jackson County to the east. The county includes a variety of landscapes ranging from sandy beaches along its coastline to rolling hills and pine forests inland.
The county’s most prominent geography feature is its long coastline which stretches for nearly fifty miles along the Gulf of Mexico. Many of Bay County’s towns are situated along this coast including Panama City Beach, Panama City, Lynn Haven, and Callaway. Along this coastal area visitors can find a variety of attractions from white sand beaches and boardwalks to fishing piers and nature trails.
Inland from these coastal towns lies a vast expanse of forests and hills that make up much of Bay County’s geography. Much of this area is part of St. Andrews State Park which offers visitors spectacular views from its elevated boardwalk as well as opportunities for camping, hiking, swimming, kayaking and boat tours. The park also contains more than two thousand acres of coastal wetlands which provide an important habitat for native wildlife such as alligators and waterfowl species like ospreys and egrets.
Bay County also has several rivers running through it including the Chipola River which originates in Georgia before making its way through Florida until it empties into Apalachicola Bay near Port St. Joe. These rivers offer ample opportunities for fishing as well as canoeing or kayaking down their winding paths through scenic landscapes full of cypress trees draped with Spanish mosses.
Overall, Bay County’s geography provides a diverse array of landscapes from stunningly beautiful coastlines to lush forests filled with wildlife that make it an ideal destination for both residents and tourists alike looking for outdoor recreation opportunities or simply a place to relax in natural beauty away from urban areas.
Country Seat and Other Main Cities of Bay County, Florida
Bay County’s county seat is Panama City, located on the coast at the mouth of St. Andrews Bay. This city is a major tourist destination, and features a variety of attractions such as the Gulf World Marine Park, Shipwreck Island Waterpark, and ZooWorld Zoological Park. The city also has a number of shopping centers and restaurants, as well as several historic sites like the historic Panama City Marina.
Another major town in Bay County is Lynn Haven, located directly north of Panama City on the shores of North Bay. This town is known for its small-town charm and outdoor recreation opportunities such as kayaking and paddleboarding on North Bay or fishing in the nearby St. Andrews State Park. The town also has several parks and recreational areas such as Frank Brown Park which features multiple sports fields and courts as well as a large playground area for children. See cities in Florida.
A third prominent town in Bay County is Callaway, located just east of Lynn Haven along US Highway 98. This town features several attractions like Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone which offers laser tag and an indoor rock climbing wall for family entertainment, as well as several golf courses including the award-winning Holiday Golf Club. Callaway also has its own airport with flights to various destinations throughout Florida including Miami and Orlando International Airports.
Finally, there is Mexico Beach which lies along US Highway 98 at the westernmost edge of Bay County near Gulf County’s border with Franklin County. This small beach community offers visitors beautiful white sand beaches perfect for swimming or sunbathing during the summer months, while its downtown area provides plenty of restaurants and local shops to explore year round. Mexico Beach also offers visitors access to some great fishing spots thanks to its location near St Joseph’s Peninsula State Park which provides excellent opportunities for anglers looking to catch some trophy fish in these waters.
History of Bay County, Florida
Bay County was established in 1913, and since then has been an integral part of the Florida Panhandle. The county seat is located in Panama City, and the county is named for St. Andrew Bay, which is located near Panama City. In the early 1900s, Bay County was a rural area that relied heavily on agriculture and timber for its economic livelihood. The St. Andrews Bay area was known for its production of turpentine, lumber, and naval stores. The population of Bay County grew during World War II due to military personnel stationed at nearby Tyndall Air Force Base and other military installations. After WWII ended, many servicemen chose to stay in Bay County because of the booming economy and warm climate.
In the 1960s and 1970s, tourism became a major factor in Bay County’s economy as hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, and other attractions opened along the Gulf Coast beaches. Tourism also increased due to increased air travel as commercial airlines began offering flights to nearby Panama City Beach Airport (now Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport). The 1980s saw the construction of several shopping malls and entertainment venues including Pier Park on Panama City Beach which helped solidify Bay County’s reputation as a tourist destination in Florida’s Panhandle region.
Today Bay County continues to be an important part of Florida’s economy with tourism remaining a major industry in addition to manufacturing and healthcare services. The county also boasts some of Florida’s most beautiful beaches along with fishing opportunities along St Andrew’s Bay estuary system which are popular among both locals and visitors alike.
Economy of Bay County, Florida
Bay County’s economy is primarily driven by tourism, manufacturing, and healthcare services. Tourism remains a major industry in the region and is responsible for much of the job growth in the county. The area’s white sand beaches, fishing opportunities on St Andrew’s Bay estuary system, and numerous attractions such as Pier Park on Panama City Beach attract visitors from all over the world. Manufacturing also plays an important role in Bay County’s economy with companies like Gulf Power Company providing jobs in the industrial sector. Healthcare services have also been a major source of employment for many residents with hospitals such as Bay Medical Center and Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center providing quality care to local residents.
In addition to these major industries, small businesses are also an important part of Bay County’s economy. The county is home to many locally owned restaurants, retail stores, and service providers which help to create jobs for local residents. Agriculture has also played an important role in Bay County’s economy over the years with crops such as cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans, and vegetables being grown in the area. Timber production was once an important part of Bay County’s economy but has declined significantly since its peak in the early 1900s due to environmental concerns.
Overall, Bay County has a diverse economy that has helped it remain prosperous despite changing economic conditions over time. The combination of tourism, manufacturing, healthcare services, agriculture and small businesses have all contributed to making it a vibrant and prosperous place to live and work.