Due largely to the warm, mild climate, recreational facilities in and around Niceville and Eglin AFB are abundant. Niceville continues to expand the Turkey Creek Walk, currently the site of a pavilion and boardwalk. Turkey Creek Walk will eventually encompass 20 acres. Bayou Boat Rental and Repairs rents out beach equipment, canoes, bicycles, boats and other watercraft. Rocky Bayou State Park operates campgrounds with electricity and water, nature trails, freshwater fishing and more. William C. Jordan Children?s Park offers playground equipment, picnic tables and an outdoor amphitheater for summer performances.
Niceville is famous as the home of the Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival. This celebration of the migratory, algae-eating fish features a variety of live entertainment. Performers have included such big-name country acts as the Dixie Chicks, Billy Ray Cyrus and Diamond Rio, as well as doo-wop and classic rock bands such as the Alley Cats, the Drifters, the Platters and the Temptations. Arts and crafts, children?s activities, a poster contest, and food including - of course - fried mullet are other festival attractions.
There are several golf courses in the area, including two at Eglin AFB, two at Bluewater Bay and an 18 hole private course at Rocky Bayou Country Club in Niceville. Eglin also has one of the most expansive outdoor recreation programs in the world. Programs include diving classes, children?s water safety and deep-sea fishing charters. Big Kahuna?s Water Park, Shipwreck Water Park and Pleasure Island are all located in the communities surrounding Niceville.
History enthusiasts may choose to visit the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB or the Heritage Museum. The Air Force Armament Museum is the only facility of its kind in the U.S. Just outside the main gate of the base, the museum offers a theater, gun vault, exhibits, aircraft on display and gift shop. The SR-71 Blackbird supersonic spy plane on display is one of the most popular exhibits.
The Heritage Museum celebrates the local history of the area. Okaloosa and Walton counties were originally populated primarily by farming and fishing families and remained relatively undeveloped until the mid-20th century. While agriculture and fishing were important in the region, farmers and fisheries remained family-owned businesses. It was the lumber industry that began to generate economic growth in the area. Naval stores were also successful. When Eglin AFB was installed, the community completed the transition from isolated region to connected community with modern goods and services.
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