Fort Walton's first inhabitants were mound building Indians whose work still exists today. The Temple Mound in one of Florida's most famous archaeological sights. There is a museum nearby commemorating the contributions of the early Indians.
Fort Walton's first school was built in 1912 and exists as a museum today. It is setup as it would have been during its years of use and gives a realistic picture of what life was like during that time.
In 1940 there were about 90 residents and by 1956 there were over 9,000 residents. As of the 2000 census the population had grown to almost 20,000.
The climate in the area is subtropical and humid. Winters are short and mild. It averages 69 inches of rain a year which is more than any city in Florida. Summer is the wettest season and autumn is the driest. It has been known to snow on occasion.
The economy of Fort Walton is driven by tourism and the military. It's a prominent spot for fishing and beach life. The area is bordered by two military bases, Elgin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field. Thanks to military contracts with local technology companies the county is the leading technology hub in Northwest Florida.