Area code 850
Area code 850 is in use for the Florida Panhandle, including Pensacola, Tallahassee and Panama City.  Area code 904 was used for all of North Florida from 1965, when 904 split from 305, until 904 itself was split in the mid-1990s. Permissive dialing for area code 850 began June 23, 1997 and mandatory dialing began March 23, 1998.
Area code 850 was originally intended to be the relief code used in the 1995 split of the 904 area code. The Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Panama City and Pensacola LATAs, and the Florida portion of the Mobile, Alabama LATA were to retain 904 while the Daytona Beach and Gainesville LATAs changed to 850. This plan was scrapped in favor of a plan that moved only the Gainesville LATA to a new area code, this time 352 (FLA on the telephone keypad) and kept the Daytona Beach LATA in then-904 along with the rest of northern Florida. The reason for changing from 850 to 352 was a potential dialing conflict with the 407-850 office code and some rate centers in the Gainesville LATA with 7-digit local calling into the 407 area code. Political pressure from the tourism industry in Daytona Beach resulted in that area being kept in the then-904 area code.
The 1995 split of 904 with 352 only provided a small amount of relief and 904 soon found itself in jeopardy of exhaust once again. Relief planning for 904 began again in 1996. The Florida Public Service Commission had planned a three-way split of 904 to take place in 1997. The Jacksonville LATA would move to a proposed 234 area code while the Daytona Beach LATA would change to the 386 area code. The Panhandle would have retained the 904 area code. Outcry from the public and business community in the Jacksonville region was significant since Jacksonville is the largest urban area in northern Florida and would bear a higher burden to change printed materials than other parts of the area code. There was also opposition from NANPA and the Federal Communications Commission. These two agencies objected because the split would have been unbalanced by creating a new code just for Daytona Beach. The Florida PSC changed course and adopted the plan that was ultimately implemented with the Panhandle moving to 850 and Jacksonville and Daytona Beach retaining 904. The 234 area code is already in service in Ohio, an overlay.
Cities served by the 850 area code
- DeFuniak Springs
- Fort Walton Beach
- Gulf Breeze
- Lynn Haven
- Miramar Beach
- Panama City
- Tallahassee (State Capital)
- Mossy Head, Florida
- Blountstown, Florida
|Florida area codes: 239, 305, 321, 352, 386, 407, 561, 727, 754, 772, 786, 813, 850, 863, 904, 941, 954|
|North: 229, 251, 334|
|West: 251||area code 850||East: 352, 386|
|South: Gulf of Mexico|
|Alabama area codes: 205, 251, 256, 334, 938|
|Georgia area codes: 229, 404, 470, 478, 678, 706, 762, 770, 912|