Moving to Mary Esther, Florida: A Comprehensive Guide

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Moving to Mary Esther, Florida: A Comprehensive Guide

Moving to Mary Esther, Florida: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you considering moving to Mary Esther, Florida? This small town in Okaloosa County is known for its beautiful beaches, excellent schools, and friendly community. Before making the move, it's essential to do your research and gather all the information you need to make an informed decision. In this comprehensive guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about living in Mary Esther, including climate, cost of living, community, job opportunities, population makeup, activities, and things to do.

Location and Climate

Mary Esther is located in the Florida Panhandle, just east of Fort Walton Beach and west of Navarre. This prime location offers easy access to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, including Santa Rosa Beach, Destin, and Okaloosa Island. The town has a humid subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and mild winters. The average high temperature in July is 91 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average low in January is 44 degrees Fahrenheit. While hurricanes are always a possibility in this region, Mary Esther has not experienced a direct hit in over a decade.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Mary Esther is slightly higher than the national average, but it's still considered affordable compared to other parts of Florida. According to Niche, the median home value in Mary Esther is $194,100, and the median rent is $1,105. Property taxes are relatively low in Okaloosa County, with an average rate of 0.73%. The cost of groceries and healthcare is also slightly higher than the national average, but the cost of transportation is lower.

Community and Population

Mary Esther has a population of just under 4,000 people, with a median age of 37.3 years. The town is predominantly white, with a small African American and Hispanic population. The community is known for its friendly, welcoming atmosphere, and residents tend to be politically conservative. The public schools in Mary Esther are highly rated, with a student-teacher ratio of 17 to 1.

Job Opportunities

Mary Esther is a small town, and job opportunities may be limited compared to larger cities. However, the town's proximity to Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field means that there are often job openings in the defense industry. The tourism industry also provides many jobs, particularly during the summer months. The median household income in Mary Esther is $56,667.

Things to Do

Despite its small size, Mary Esther has plenty of things to do for residents and visitors alike. The town is home to several parks, including Santa Rosa Mall Community Park and Jet Stadium Park. The beaches in nearby Destin and Okaloosa Island offer opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and watersports. The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park in Fort Walton Beach is a popular attraction for families, featuring dolphin shows and aquarium exhibits. The town also has a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops to explore.

Pros and Cons of Living in Mary Esther

Like any place, Mary Esther has its pros and cons. Some of the benefits of living in Mary Esther include:

  • Beautiful beaches and outdoor recreation opportunities
  • Excellent schools
  • Friendly community
  • Lower cost of living compared to other parts of Florida
  • Proximity to Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field

However, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  • Limited job opportunities
  • Hot, humid summers
  • Risk of hurricanes
  • Limited nightlife and entertainment options

Similar Places to Consider

If you're considering moving to Mary Esther, there are several similar places you may want to explore:

  • Fort Walton Beach: Located just east of Mary Esther, Fort Walton Beach is known for its beaches, museums, and military history.
  • Niceville: A slightly larger town just north of Mary Esther, Niceville has a highly-rated school system and a strong sense of community.
  • Navarre: A small beach town just west of Mary Esther, Navarre is known for its pristine beaches and laid-back atmosphere.


Moving to Mary Esther, Florida can be an excellent decision for those seeking a small-town atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and excellent schools. While job opportunities may be limited, the town's proximity to military bases and the tourism industry means there are still opportunities available. The cost of living is affordable compared to other parts of Florida, and the community is known for its friendliness and welcoming atmosphere. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making your decision, and explore all the similar places in the area to ensure you find the perfect fit for your lifestyle and preferences.