According to Countryaah, Bay County is located in the panhandle of northwest Florida on the Gulf Coast. It is bordered by Walton and Washington Counties to the north, Calhoun County to the east, Gulf County to the west, and Jackson County to the south. Bay County has a total area of 1,033 square miles and is home to a population of just over 160,000 people. The county seat is Panama City, which is also one of its largest cities.
Bay County’s landscape consists of rolling hills, white-sand beaches along its Gulf Coast shoreline, and pine forests that are home to a variety of wildlife such as deer and wild turkeys. The county has several rivers including Econfina Creek and East Bay River which provide excellent fishing opportunities for both freshwater and saltwater species. In addition to its natural beauty, Bay County also boasts an impressive list of attractions such as St. Andrews State Park which offers activities such as camping, swimming, snorkeling and kayaking; Shipwreck Island Waterpark; Zoo World Zoological Park; Frank Brown Park; Panama City Beach Conservation Park; and many more.
The economy of Bay County relies heavily on tourism with visitors from all over the world coming to experience its natural beauty and attractions each year. Other important industries include healthcare services, construction services, retail trade services, manufacturing services, transportation services and professional/technical services.
Bay County residents enjoy a high quality lifestyle with access to excellent schools including Gulf Coast State College in Panama City Beach; Florida State University – Panama City Campus; University of West Florida – Panama City Campus; George Stone Technical Center in Panama City Beach; Haney Technical Center in Chipley; North Bay Haven Charter Academy in Panama City Beach; Washington-Holmes Technical Center in Chipley; and many more.
With its beautiful scenery and numerous recreational activities available year-round due to mild temperatures throughout most months of the year combined with an array of economic opportunities available throughout the county make it an ideal place for families or individuals looking for a great place to call home.
Demographics of Bay County, Florida
Bay County, Florida is located in the northwest part of the state along the Gulf Coast and has a population of just over 160,000 people. The county seat is Panama City and its largest city with a population of approximately 36,000. Bay County is made up of 33 square miles and consists mainly of rolling hills, white-sand beaches along its Gulf Coast shoreline, and pine forests that are home to a variety of wildlife.
The racial makeup of Bay County is about 75 percent white, 14 percent African American, 6 percent Hispanic or Latino, 4 percent from two or more races, 2 percent Asian and 1 percent Native American. The median age in Bay County is 38 years old with nearly 25 percent of the population being under 18 years old while only 9.6 percent are 65 years or older.
In terms of educational attainment for those over 25 years old in Bay County, 57.5 percent have achieved at least a high school degree while only 18.7 have earned an Associate’s degree or higher level of education. Additionally 15.2% have not achieved a high school diploma which is slightly below the national average for this statistic (17%).
The median household income for Bay County is $51,400 which is significantly below the national average ($61,372). The poverty rate in Bay County stands at 17% compared to 14% nationally; however this figure varies greatly depending on what area within the county you look at as some locations such as Panama City Beach have poverty rates as low as 8%.
When looking at employment statistics for Bay County we find that about 4 out 10 people are employed in either healthcare services (14%), retail trade services (12%), construction services (11%) or professional/technical services (10%). Additionally we see that transportation services make up 8% while manufacturing services make up 5%.
Overall, we can see that Bay County offers a diverse population with various levels of educational attainment and economic standing spread throughout its 33 square miles making it an ideal place to call home.
Places of Interest in Bay County, Florida
Bay County, Florida is a vibrant community with plenty of places to explore and enjoy. From white-sand beaches along its Gulf Coast shoreline to pine forests that are home to a variety of wildlife, there’s something for everyone in Bay County.
For outdoor enthusiasts, there’s St. Andrews State Park. This 1,200-acre park offers a wide range of activities from swimming and fishing in the two miles of white sand beaches to hiking and bird watching on the trails that meander through the park. For those looking for a unique experience, the park also has an observation tower which provides stunning views of St. Andrews Bay and Grand Lagoon.
Another great outdoor spot is Panama City Beach Conservation Park which covers over 2000 acres with miles of trails for walking, biking or horseback riding as well as kayaking and fishing opportunities in its many lakes and ponds. The park also has an array of wildlife including alligators, ospreys, bald eagles and even bobcats.
For history buffs, Bay County has plenty to offer as well with the historic downtown area in Panama City featuring numerous shops and restaurants as well as landmarks such as the Bay County Courthouse built in 1912. The city also houses several museums including the Gulf Coast Military Museum which features exhibits about local military history from World War I through present day conflicts; the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement which houses artifacts from early settlers; and the Panama City Museum which showcases historical artifacts from around the region.
The county is also home to several annual festivals such as Springfest at Frank Brown Park which celebrates music, food and art; Lobsterfest at Schooner’s Wharf Bar & Grill which features live music along with tasty seafood dishes; and Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally held every fall on Panama City Beach featuring live entertainment from some of today’s hottest bands along with vendors selling everything from motorcycle apparel to jewelry.
Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or a cultural experience, Bay County provides something for everyone. With its rolling hills, white-sand beaches along its Gulf Coast shoreline, historic downtown area and numerous festivals throughout the year it’s easy to see why so many people call this place home.
Notable People of Bay County, Florida
Bay County, Florida is home to a number of notable people. From athletes to musicians, Bay County has produced some of the most talented individuals in the country.
One of the most famous athletes from Bay County is Emmitt Smith. Smith was born in Pensacola and raised in Escambia County but went on to become one of the greatest running backs in NFL history. He was a three-time Super Bowl champion and an eight-time Pro Bowler with the Dallas Cowboys before retiring after 15 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. He was also inducted into both the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame for his accomplishments on and off the field.
Another athlete from Bay County is NBA player Chris Bosh. Bosh was born in Dallas but moved to Bay County at a young age where he attended Lincoln High School and helped lead his team to two state championships while averaging over 20 points per game during his senior year. Bosh went on to have a successful career as an NBA player, playing for teams such as the Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat and Houston Rockets before retiring due to health issues in 2019.
Musically, Bay County has produced some renowned artists over the years, including multi-platinum selling rap artist Flo Rida who attended high school at Carol City Senior High School in North Miami Beach before moving back to Florida where he has since gone on to produce chart topping hits such as “Low”, “Club Can’t Handle Me” and “My House”. Additionally, punk rockers Yellowcard were formed in Jacksonville Beach but relocated to nearby Panama City Beach where they wrote what would become their breakout album Ocean Avenue which included singles such as “Way Away” and “Only One” which helped launch them into stardom throughout the 2000s and 2010s before they disbanded in 2016 after 20 years together as a band.
Bay County also boasts some well-known actors including Josh Duhamel who attended Allen D Nease High School before moving out west where he made it big with roles such as Captain William Lennox in Transformers (2007) or Danny McCoy on Las Vegas (2003-2008). Additionally, actor/comedian Tracy Morgan was born at Eglin Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach and later graduated from DeKalb School of Arts in Atlanta Georgia before going on to become one of Saturday Night Live’s most popular cast members (1996-2003) and star alongside Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in The Other Guys (2010).
From athletes like Emmitt Smith or Chris Bosh to musicians like Flo Rida or Yellowcard or actors like Josh Duhamel or Tracy Morgan, it’s evident that Bay County has been home to some incredibly talented individuals who have gone on to achieve great success both nationally and internationally.