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The Panama City coastline was voted one of the top ten beaches in the World.  Pristine barrier islands attract hundreds of thousands of people each year from the world over.  A mild climate, invigorating water sports and recreation, and a laid-back lifestyle add to Panama City's attraction.

A paper mill was built on St. Andrews Bay in 1931, contributing to the area's economy.  Port facilities were expanded and military personnel began arriving during World War II.

Tyndall Air Force Base officially opened in December 1941 and the U. S. Navy's Coastal Systems Station was established in September 1945.  The combined payrolls of the two military installations are dominant economic factors.

Tourism is the second largest contributor to the economy.  Recent efforts were successful in extending the tourist season past the traditional Memorial Day through Labor Day period.  Northern visitors spending the winter months and college students arriving to celebrate "Spring Break" have expanded the tourist trade into a year-long business.

The local area surrounding Tyndall AFB is made up of several small cities clustered in Bay County.  Bay County covers some 764 square miles and is home to about 148,000 people.  Eight municipalities maintain their own forms of government.

PANAMA CITY, the largest municipality and county seat, covers 27 square miles with a population of 38,000.

PANAMA CITY BEACH covers some 15 square miles with 5,000 people making it their permanent residence.  Luxury hotels and family-operated motels provide accommodations for tourists.  Amusement parks, attractions, restaurants, shopping, and beach activities provide entertainment.

SPRINGFIELD comprises 10 square miles and has a population of 9,500.  It has grown from a rural community to a modern city complete with library, community center, and medical services.

CALLAWAY is a residential and business community sharing a boundary and shopping centers with the city of Parker.  Callaway is located seven miles west of Tyndall AFB and covers 12 square miles with a population of about 14,000.  Many of the residents are active duty and retired.

PARKER, with a population of approximately 5,000, is also home to many military families.

CEDAR GROVE covers 4 square miles and has a population of approximately 2,100.

LYNN HAVEN was originally a retirement community for Civil War veterans.  Its closeness to the major shopping and business areas make it a popular location for military families.  The population is approximately 12,000.

MEXICO BEACH, on the "other side" of Tyndall AFB, is home to about 1,200 year-round residents.  Mexico Beach enjoys about 3.2 square miles of Gulf Coast and is a "laid-back" vacation spot.  Rental cottages and apartments are plentiful.

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