Exploring the Communities of Northwest 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 BayFreeport, 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.

Request more information about Firefly at Hammock Bay.

Windsor VillasMilton, 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.

Request more information about Windsor Villas.

Latitude Margaritaville WatersoundWatersound, 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.

Request more information about Latitude Margaritaville Watersound.

Watersound OriginsWatersound, 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.

Request more information about Watersound Origins.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and 55places.com.
Details here.

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Weekly Updates

I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting optout@55places.com. Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021

We’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

Retired woman enjoys swimming in her active adult community.

Your Guide To Exploring Types of Active Adult Communities

If you’re considering downsizing and upgrading to a more carefree lifestyle, you may be surprised to find how many types of active adult communities there are. Explore the right active adult communities for you with our guide.

A boat pier at sunrise in Lake Placid, Florida.

Lake Placid Living: A Look at 55+ Communities in This Central Florida Gem

8 minute read Located in the heart of Central Florida, Lake Placid offers the best qualities of small-town America. Surrounded by scenic lakes, nature preserves, and cultural attractions, the “Town of Murals” is perfect for active adults. With two 55+ communities in Lake Placid—Covered Bridge and Tomoka Heights—the area’s affordability makes it an appealing option

Relaxed 55+ adults camping with friends and drinking a cup of coffee while enjoying retirement.

How to Choose the Right Retirement Community for You

Choosing the right retirement community is an important decision. There are questions you should ask yourself when considering an active adult community. These are some of the most important questions to ask yourself when choosing the retirement community for you, as well as some active adult communities to consider.

Mature couple plays tennis, enjoying an active adult lifestyle.

How Can I Be Sure the Active Adult Lifestyle Is Right for Me?

As you approach retirement, it’s natural for your lifestyle needs to change. That lively neighborhood with young families may have been perfect in the past. However, now you might prefer something different. What does an active adult lifestyle involve?

Award badge over an outdoor, resort-style pool at On Top of the World in Ocala, Florida.

The Best Large 55+ Communities

Join us on a journey to uncover the gems among the largest 55+ communities. These fifteen attractive neighborhoods all offer 1,000 homes or more.

About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

Scroll to Top