15 Best Things to Do in Niceville (FL)

Niceville is a city of approximately 13,000 residents in Okaloosa County in western Florida.

Along with Destin and Fort Walton Beaches, it constitutes one of the largest population centers in the other rural panhandle, and its main natural attractions are the Gulf of Mexico, Marsh Estuary, and Choctawach Bay.

Niceville and the Panhandle in general attract tourists looking for relatively underdeveloped beauty and a slower pace than destinations on the state’s Atlantic coast, such as Daytona Beach and Miami.

Fishing and water sports are popular activities, and there are various historical and cultural attractions nearby.

Here are 15 things to do in Niceville, FL.

1. Swamp Superstar

swamp superstar

Boggy Bayou is one of Niceville’s most famous natural attractions, and the annual Boggy Fest takes place for three days in late October. It’s a celebration of all the history, uniqueness and downright fun of the Panhandle.

Former entertainment headliners include Trace Adkins and Colt Ford. In addition to the full range of live entertainment, there is also a dedicated children’s area called Kidapalooza.

Activities at Kidapalooza include pony rides and carnivals, face painting, petting zoos, and some team and family games.

The event takes place on University Avenue in town, with free parking on the Northwest Florida State University campus.

2. Children’s Park

Niceville Children's Park

Located on the grounds of the Niceville Civic Center Building, the Children’s Park is beautifully landscaped, clean, and well-appointed, ideal for traveling families interested in enjoying the outdoors without having to spend arms and legs and running around the state.

Attractions at the park include playgrounds and outdoor exercise equipment, rock climbing facilities, and even a relatively new spray park.

The park itself is open year-round, but the spray park section is open seasonally from May to September.

Previous guests have noticed that the park facilities are well organized and well maintained, and the staff are pleasant and helpful.

3. Turkey Creek Nature Trail

Turkey Creek Nature Trail

Although it can get pretty oppressive during most of the summer, Florida’s weather is perfect for most of the year. For those looking to stretch their legs and burn some extra calories, Niceville has a variety of outdoor recreation options.

The Turkey Creek Nature Walk includes boardwalks and ground sections that meander through a variety of natural environments, as well as informative markers and plenty of covered seating areas.

The boardwalk is about 1 mile each way and has a slide for launching canoes and kayaks, a unique and exhilarating way to explore the surrounding waterways.

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4. Marty Kelly Arts Center

Marty Kelly Arts Center

The Mattie Kelly Center for the Arts is located on East College Avenue on the campus of Northwestern State College in Florida.

The venue offers a variety of productions throughout the year and is even home to the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra.

From Broadway-style performances and visual arts to contemporary and traditional music, there’s something for everyone’s schedule. There are also two art galleries on site, including permanent and temporary exhibitions.

With so much to see and do, it’s a good idea to check the events calendar on their website regularly to stay up to date.

5. Niceville Skate Park

Niceville Skate Park

Located on Campbell Drive in town, Niceville Skate Park is a free attraction popular with skateboarders, inline skaters and cyclists.

Open from early afternoon to 8pm Thursday through Sunday, the park consists of 5 acres filled with ramps, drops and other obstacles that are exhilarating and challenging.

Whether you’re skating or biking, you’ll need a helmet, so bring your own or plan to rent one for a few bucks.

There are plenty of seating areas around the park, so it’s still a great place to hang out and watch, even for those who don’t plan on getting involved.

6. Henderson Beach State Park

Henderson Beach State Park

Henderson Beach State Park in Destin is one of the most diverse in the area, with a mile-long sparkling beach in front of the Gulf of Mexico at its heart.

The park’s beach is accessible from multiple locations and has large covered gazebos, perfect for lounging in the hot sun.

Fishing, swimming, sunbathing and shell collecting are popular activities, and there is a large playground.

Nature trails lead from the beach to the inland areas of the park, and pets are as long as they are on a leash and cleaned up.

7. Niceville Dog Park

Niceville Dog Park

The Niceville Dog Park is open at sunrise and closes until 10pm, perfect for busy dog ​​lovers.

Located near East College Avenue and State Highway 85, the park is open year-round and spans over 4 acres, including separate fenced areas for large and small dogs.

Guests need to clean up after their dogs, and there are plenty of hoses to refill water bowls when they need to stop for a cool glass of water.

As with most dog parks, aggressive animals can be present, so check the area carefully before letting go of yours.

8. Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Recreation Area

Fred Gannon Rocky Estuary State Recreation Area

The Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Recreation Area spans over 350 acres and has been a shooting and bombing practice range for most of its life.

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The park is named after an Air Force officer who was primarily responsible for the establishment and construction of the park after World War II and is now managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

The main attraction of the park is Rocky Bayou, which offers visitors a variety of activities to choose from, such as boating, fishing, and paddle boarding.

The inland portion of the park includes native pine forests, and trails criss-cross provide ample shade and opportunities to view local wildlife.

9. Pounders Hawaiian BBQ

Pound Hawaiian BBQ

Pounders Hawaiian Girl, located on Palm Boulevard North in Niceville, has been noted by former Hawaiian tourists as the most authentic food they’ve ever eaten on the mainland.

The restaurant is part of a multi-location chain, but unless you’ve visited one of their other locations, you probably wouldn’t know it.

Pounders draw crowds during the lunch and dinner rush, with many guests choosing to grab their food to avoid the crowds.

In addition to traditional Hawaiian food and some spam-centric dishes, they also serve salads, wraps, and a variety of refreshing beverages.

10. Rocky Bayou Country Club

Rocky Estuary Country Club

Rocky Bayou Country Club is a popular golf destination for visiting the Niceville, Destin and Fort Walton Beach areas. Covering over 100 acres, the course is known for its manicured greens and fairways, rich sand and water hazards, and beautiful surroundings.

The club offers a variety of single-day, short-term and long-term membership options, with special discounted rates for those who don’t mind starting their rounds after 3:30.

Depending on the option you choose, you can use their driving range and swimming pool. There are also great restaurants and bars on site.

11. Niceville Valparaiso Christmas Parade

Niceville Valparaiso Christmas Parade

Christmas in Florida is a truly unique experience that tends to wow visitors from parts of the country that are usually bombarded with snow and ice during the holiday season.

Every year, the towns of Niceville and Valparaiso jointly host a Christmas parade. Every year has a different theme.

The parade is at the heart of the event, but there are also a variety of events and vendors selling delicious food and drink, arts and crafts, and other holiday- and Florida-related items.

12. Arts Festival

Arts Festival, Destin

The Destin Arts Festival takes place in late October and is one of the most anticipated annual events in the region.

Each year, 200 artists from across the country showcase their work, and there is a judging competition that includes a variety of styles, mediums and cultural influences, making it very unique.

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The festival is known for its live entertainment and delicious food and drinks. Not only the opportunity to view the many works of the artists, but also to meet and interact with them.

This is the perfect place to pick up a one-of-a-kind piece and support the local community.

13. Emerald Coast Science Center

Emerald Coast Science Center

Located on Memorial Parkway in Fort Walton Beach, the Emerald Coast Science Center is one of those rare getaways that engages and entertains young and old alike.

The center’s interactive exhibits touch on animals, the natural world, robotics, aviation, and even physics. Regardless of the age and interests of the people you’re traveling with, you’re likely to find something that’s right for you.

Staff at the centre offer regularly scheduled classes and workshops, many during the summer months when schools are closed.

Previous guests have noticed that, although not cheap, the entrance fee is reasonable and in line with their experience.

14. Fort Walton Beach Flea Market

Fort Walton Beach Flea Market

The Fort Walton Beach Flea Market is an indoor shopping destination with chilly air conditioning and dozens of shops offering everything from art and books to vintage clothing and musical instruments.

Covering nearly 14,000 square feet, the market is a popular attraction for those desperate for a break from the hot Florida sun.

Like most flea markets, a rare gem or two can be found, especially if you have the time and patience to comb through the items carefully.

There are also plenty of inexpensive food and drink options, and a portion of each sale goes to support local wildlife reserves.

15. Garnier Post Office Museum

Garnier Post Office Museum

Truth be told, for many vacationers, spending time at the Post Office Museum is as appealing as painting a stranger’s garage. But for the history-conscious traveler who likes to venture off old paths, spending an hour at the Garnier Post Office Museum will be worth it.

The museum is part of the Fort Walton Beach Heritage and Cultural Center, and the grounds also include a historic schoolhouse museum and country store.

The schoolhouse and post office date back to the early 20th century and provide visitors with an interesting insight into the establishment, economy and development of the area. It shouldn’t take more than an hour to watch everything.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Niceville, FL, FL
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