Two events encouraged the “discovery” and development of Mexico Beach, as it exists today: The completion of Highway 98 during the 1930s and the construction of Tyndall Field in 1941. Thousands of Army Air Corps personnel were introduced to the beautiful white-sand beaches as they passed through the training base on their way to war. In 1946, a group of local businessmen including Gordon Parker, W.T. McGowan, and J.W. Wainright bought 1,850 acres of beachfront property and began development.
Mexico Beach grew slowly but steadily through the 1950s and 60s. In 1955, the Mexico Beach Canal was completed, providing boaters with quick, easy, and safe access to the Gulf. In 1967, the town was officially incorporated as the City of Mexico Beach.
Mexico Beach quickly became known for its abundant sport-fishing. Fishing has been, and remains, one of the city’s greatest draws. The Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association, working closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, has established more than 1,000 patch reefs within easy reach of shore. The program has been wildly successful, attracting countless species and numbers of fish and other sea life to Mexico Beach and making the area a preferred destination of sportfisherman.
Late-1900’s And 2000’s
In stark contrast to neighboring communities along the Gulf Coast, Mexico Beach has maintained its small-town charm established decades ago. Commercial development has been restrained and contained. More than a mile of beachfront has been protected against development, offering unobstructed views of the beautiful white-sand beach and emerald Gulf waters. Businesses are almost exclusively locally owned “mom and pop” establishments. Mexico Beach is a success story of preservation.
Prior to 2018, Mexico Beach included just about 1,000 residents and welcomed generations of visitors from all over the world who discovered this quiet, authentic, and family-friendly little beach town. The majority of vacationers return year after year on their pilgrimage to Gulf Coast’s white sands.
Hurricane Michael And Today
On October 10, 2018, Mexico Beach become ground zero for the landfall of Category 5 Hurricane Michael. The storm peaked at 160 mph sustained winds and caused over $25.1 billion in damages, along with taking lives. While it wiped out the majority of homes and businesses in Mexico Beach and many in our neighboring communities, our town banded together to help each other rebuild and recover. We cannot say enough thank yous to all those from around the world who have joined in the recovery efforts, which will be ongoing for the foreseeable future. Every day, we see progress—debris is removed, local businesses reopen, residents return to their homes, and visitors come back to enjoy our beaches, which are as beautiful as ever! Visit our social media pages for up-to-date progress and heartwarming stories through our #RebuildingWithLove campaign.
We’re confident that the founding fathers and pioneering families who made Mexico Beach the place it is today would be proud of the continued results of their efforts and the many happy memories that have been created here.