The Choctawhatchee Bay, fed primarily by the Choctawhatchee River, stretches more than 30 miles, with widths ranges from 4 to 6 miles across. East Pass between Destin and Okaloosa Island provides the primary outflow into the Gulf of Mexico, which also rushes into the bay during high tides. Additionally, the Choctawhatchee Bay connects to the Santa Rosa Sound through the Intracoastal Waterway.

The bay is popular for swimming, fishing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and boating. Rare species call the bay their home, including the gulf sturgeon and alligator gar.