By Matt Algarin

Unlike some of its neighboring cities, Shalimar is not a city — it’s officially a town. Shalimar, which is said to mean “by the beautiful water,” was originally referred to as Port Dixie in the early 1940s. Shalimar was incorporated in 1947. History has it that Clifford Meigs started the small town as a home for military officers working at nearby Eglin Air Force Base, which was known as Eglin Field at the time. Meigs would serve as the town’s mayor from 1947 until his death in 1960.

Given its proximity to the water and various bayous, Shalimar’s residents and visitors have the opportunity to enjoy activities such as boating, skiing, fishing, riding wave runners or just taking a leisurely swim.  The Shalimar Yacht Basin is the perfect location to drop your boat in the water and start exploring.

For those visiting Shalimar, water-based activities are the main attraction. Honestly, when you come to Florida that’s what you should expect. Outside of the water, though, visitors can grab their golf bags and play a round at the Shalimar Pointe Golf and Country Club.

For those who truly want to experience the small town Florida lifestyle, Shalimar is perfect.

Airports

For those traveling to Shalimar by air, the main point of entry is the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS), located at 1701 Florida 85 Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., which is about a five-mile drive to Shalimar.

VPS serves more than 800,000 passengers annually and offers flights from Allegiant Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, GLO, and United Airlines.

Military Installations

Much like its neighbors in Fort Walton Beach, Shalimar boasts a large military presence, given its proximity to Hurlburt Field and Eglin Air Force Base. Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field are the largest employers in Okaloosa County. Eglin Air Force Base, established in 1935, is home to the 96th Test Wing and encompasses more than 300,000 acres of land. Hurlburt Field, built in 1942, is home to the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the 1st Special Operations Wing (1 SOW), the USAF Special Operations School (USAFSOS) and the Air Combat Command’s (ACC) 505th Command and Control Wing. Shalimar boasts a large military contractor work force.

Hospitals

If you are in need of health-related treatment while in Shalimar, you only have to travel about four miles to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, located at 1000 Mar Walt Drive. The 257-bed facility employs more than 200 physicians and, according to its website. For more information, visit http://fwbmc.com/.

Youth Activities

If you are looking to get the kids involved in sports, look no further than the Shalimar Athletic Association. The SAA offers baseball through Dixie Youth Baseball and football through the Panhandle Youth Football Association (www.shalimaryouthsports.com). Shalimar also has it’s own little league program. For more information see www.Shalimarll.com.