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Choctawhatchee Bay facts for kids

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Choctawhatchee Bay
Choctawhatchee bay map fl
Satellite image of the Choctawhatchee Bay
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Coordinates 30°26′22″N 86°18′40″W / 30.43944°N 86.31111°W / 30.43944; -86.31111
Primary inflows Choctawhatchee River
Primary outflows Gulf of Mexico, Santa Rosa Sound
Catchment area 5,405 square miles (14,000 km2)
Max. length 27 miles (43 km)
Max. width 6 miles (9.7 km)
Surface area 129 square miles (330 km2)
Max. depth 43 feet (13 m)
Settlements Fort Walton Beach, Destin Santa Rosa Beach, Freeport, Niceville, Shalimar, Valparaiso

Choctawhatchee Bay is a bay in the Emerald Coast region of the Florida Panhandle. The bay, located within Okaloosa and Walton counties, has a surface area of 334 square kilometres (129 sq mi). It is an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico, connected to it through East Pass (also known as Destin Pass). It also connects to Santa Rosa Sound in Fort Walton Beach, Florida to the west and to St. Andrews Bay in Bay County to the east, via the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. East Pass is the only outlet of the bay flowing directly into the Gulf of Mexico. The Choctawhatchee River flows into Choctawhatchee Bay, as do several smaller rivers and streams. The Mid-Bay Bridge crosses the bay, connecting the city of Destin to Niceville, Florida.

Choctawhatchee Bay
Looking westward onto Choctawhatchee Bay


Pensacola and Choctawhatchee Bays 1700 cropped
Pensacola Bay and Choctawhatchee Bay (Bahia de Sta. Rosa) in a 1700 Spanish map

The bay was charted by Spanish, French, and English expeditions, The bay appears on some charts as "St. Rose's Bay".

Military Use

As noted in a 1993 Eglin AFB report, Test Area D-55 was originally installed in the World War II era by Eglin Air Force Base with "omnidirectional radar corner reflectors" on top to be used as a radar target range.

Test Area D-55 is formed by 25 arrays of 2,040 wood pilings placed east of the Clyde B. Wells Bridge. They are located in 8 feet of water and the array extends for 1.2 miles.


Several towns and cities are located around the Choctawhatchee Bay:


Below are a few of the tributary rivers and bayous that feed into the Choctawhatchee Bay.


  • Mitchell River
  • Black Creek


  • LaGrange Bayou
  • Alaqua Bayou
  • Basin Bayou
  • Rocky Bayou
  • Boggy Bayou
  • Cinco Bayou


  • Pippin Lake
  • Jack Lake
  • Lower Memorial Lake
  • Bens Lake
  • Lake Lorraine
  • Lake Vivian
  • Lake Clyde
  • Lake Earl
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