The Emerald Coast is the unofficial name for the Florida panhandle, stretching 100 miles from the Panama City area to the state line. Some Coastal Alabama towns embrace the name as well. The term refers to the area’s emerald-green waters. According to the Daily News, the name was coined by a junior high school student during the 1980s during a competition to create a new slogan for the area. He won $50.
Posts are a combination of my own research, visits, and conversations, plus various information found around the web. I try to provide sources, but if you have specific questions, feel free to ask!