Exterior view of the community clubhouse at Windsor Villas in Milton, Florida

Compared to the rest of the state, Northwest Florida is unique. Here are some noteworthy communities in the region.

Northwest Florida is different from other parts of the state. There’s still plenty of sunshine, lots of golf, and miles of sandy beaches; the difference is the landscape. It’s a bit wilder, a little more natural, and a lot less crowded. Locals and visitors have described the Florida panhandle and its surrounding areas as similar to southern states and less likely to have snowbirds and transplants from the north.

It’s a great time to consider a Florida retirement in the northwestern part of the state, especially for active adults who enjoy the water and all its boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities. Homebuyers in Northwest Florida will have to decide if they’d prefer to live closer to Panama City, Pensacola, or the state capital, Tallahassee. 

In this part of the state, four communities, in particular, are making waves by offering buyers new construction homes and move-in ready resale properties in diverse neighborhoods with a wide range of models, amenities, and floor plans.

Firefly at Hammock Bay - Freeport, FL

High $200s - Low $500s

Aerial view of a lone fisherman at Basin Bayou in Freeport, Florida

Firefly at Hammock Bay offers easy access to daily necessities and recreation opportunities.

Firefly at Hammock Bay is situated within the master-planned development of Hammock Bay. Homeowners have access to world-class amenities and activities, a community clubhouse, a multipurpose room, a fitness center, a pool, a patio, tennis courts, a dog park, and miles of walking and biking trails.

Interested homebuyers can also choose from a variety of low-maintenance single-family homes. D.R. Horton plans to build 108 homes total, providing six distinct floor plans that range from 1,566 to 2,018 square feet with three or four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached two-car garage.

Located just 20 minutes from the popular beaches of the Emerald Coast as well as local attractions in the Panama City area, Firefly at Hammock Bay is ideal for active adults who want easy access to daily necessities and recreation opportunities. For residents taking longer trips, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport is only 45 minutes away.

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Windsor Villas - Milton, FL

Mid $200s

The gated entrance to Windsor Villas in Milton, Florida

This gated and intimate collection of 145 single-family homes is about 20 miles from Pensacola.

One of the most affordable 55+ communities in Northwest Florida is Windsor Villas in Milton. This gated and intimate collection of 145 single-family homes is about 20 miles from Pensacola. Most of the properties are available on a resale basis. Construction of this community began in the early 2000s, but buyers looking for new construction homes can purchase one of the remaining lots and build from the ground up. Several models offer 1,300 to 2,000 square feet, two to four bedrooms, two or three bathrooms, and private backyards. Some homes also have a screened patio.

A community clubhouse is available to residents who want to gather for classes, meetings, or social events. There are plenty of meeting and multipurpose rooms, and the clubhouse also has an outdoor pool and patio. Low-maintenance living is easily achieved, thanks to the active homeowners' association (HOA) which handles landscaping, security, and exterior maintenance.

Milton is in Santa Rosa County, which is known for its pilot training program at Naval Air Station Whiting Field. Also, it’s been called the Canoe Capital of Florida thanks to a trio of rivers that invite canoeing, kayaking, and tubing. The Blackwater River is protected for its rare aquatic plant species.

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Latitude Margaritaville Watersound - Watersound, FL

Mid $200s

Rendering of a model home at Latitude Margaritaville Watersound in Watersound, Florida

Officially open, Latitude Margaritaville Watersound offers miles of white sand beaches and year-round warm weather.

Homebuyers seeking homes for sale in Panama City and the surrounding area may want to consider this brand-new waterfront community. Officially open, the newest Latitude Margaritaville 55+ community offers miles of white sand beaches and year-round warm weather. Much like in other Latitude Margaritaville communities, residents will relish the world-class options for food, entertainment, and music inspired by the music and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett.

The Watersound community embraces food, fun, music, and escapism, and provides buyers with a list of spacious and comfortable home models to consider. The community will feature new construction homes across four home collections with a multitude of floor plans.

The Watersound location is just minutes from the shopping, restaurants, and nightlife that Panama City has to offer, and the immediate surroundings are more secluded. Residents will be close to Deer Lake State Park, known for its dunes, endangered wildflowers, and excellent hiking.

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Watersound Origins - Watersound, FL

High $500s - Low $800s

Palm trees surrounding the outdoor pool at Watersound Origins in Watersound, Florida

Amenities at Watersound Origins include a clubhouse, a fitness center, a pool, and more.

Over a thousand single-family new construction homes are planned for Watersound Origins, a new 55+ community just outside of Panama City. The best beaches on the northern Gulf of Mexico are merely minutes away, and there’s also a lot of shopping and golfing available in the area as well as an abundance of nature.

Several builders are contributing to Watersound Origins, providing buyers with a lot of options when it comes to selecting and designing a home that meets their unique needs and lifestyle. Huff Homes is a local builder creating nine three- or four-bedroom floor plans ranging from 1,750 to 2,615 square feet. Romair Homes is a luxury builder that will offer five floor plans with 2,278 to 2,948 square feet, three or four bedrooms, three-and-a-half to four bathrooms, and attached two-car garages.

Amenities at Watersound Origins are particularly impressive. All residents are invited to enjoy the clubhouse, fitness center, pool, patio, and six-hole golf course. There’s also a cafe, an outdoor patio, and plenty of parks and walking trails. For something special, residents can purchase a membership at the Watersound Beach Club. Amenities here include a day spa, eight restaurants and cafes, a golf course, and a marina. There’s also a private beach and boat slips. Buyers who don’t want to invest in a full membership can pay as they go.

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