The City of Niceville has grown from a small fishing village into one of the most desirable places to live, work and raise a family in the state due to outstanding schools, an abundance of recreation opportunities, great neighborhoods and proximity to the beautiful beaches of the Emerald Coast. Countless military members have chosen to retire to Niceville after falling in love with the area while stationed at nearby Eglin Air Force Base, Duke Field or Hurlburt Field.

When founded in the late 1860s, the Community of Boggy was named for its location on Boggy Bayou in Okaloosa County. In 1910, the Community took on a new identity when it was renamed the City of Niceville and then incorporated in 1938.

Niceville is bordered by Choctawhatchee Bay to the south and the Eglin Reservation to the north. This location among natural surroundings has made outdoor recreation a staple in the City. One of Niceville’s popular recreational attractions is Turkey Creek Nature Trail consisting of more than 100 acres of conservation land. Residents and visitors can exercise while enjoying the outdoors and nature’s beauty along the scenic, mile-long boardwalk.

The pavilion is a prime location for gatherings, and the swimming areas are perfect for cooling off on summer days. Wildlife is plentiful, and people of all ages can be seen canoeing, kayaking and tubing down the creek. There is something for everyone at Turkey Creek, but how did this all come to be?

For decades, Turkey Creek naturally supported recreation such as swimming, fishing and hunting. The spring-fed creek begins north of Niceville on the Eglin Reservation and flows through nearly two miles of the City limits to the mouth of Boggy Bayou. Following a donation of 17 acres of land by former County Commissioner Willie Williams in the 1980s, the City purchased property at the south end of Turkey Creek in 1993.

Over the next two years, the City used city revenue and state grant funds to establish Turkey Creek Park. The area now referred to as Turkey Creek South features a pavilion, restrooms, parking and access to a boardwalk. Over several years, the City extended the elevated boardwalk more than 6,100 feet north toward College Boulevard.

A 1994 grant allowed the City to acquire a 7-acre tract on Turkey Creek at College Boulevard, known as Turkey Creek North. This area includes picnic areas, boardwalk access to the creek and a canoe/kayak launch. In 2016, construction was completed on a 350-foot boardwalk connection to link the north and south parks.

In recent years the City acquired over 70 acres of land on the north side of College Boulevard through state and local funds. This area is intended to remain in its natural state and allow for primitive camping and picnicking.

Branching off of the main boardwalk is a special feature of Turkey Creek, the Path of Memories. The City of Niceville, working with a nonprofit organization, The Compassionate Friends, created this special place for parents who have suffered the loss of a child. This tranquil space for reflection and remembrance includes a sitting area and a pergola adorned with memorial plaques engraved with names of those sons and daughters gone too soon.

A recent addition to Turkey Creek pays homage to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). This emergency relief agency, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the early years of the Great Depression, provided jobs for more than three million men at camps across the country.


Niceville was home to Florida’s first CCC camp and one of the first in the United States. CCC Worker Statue #77 stands near the Turkey Creek Pavilion as a lasting tribute to the workers’ impact on the community between 1933 and 1942.

Lannie Corbin has been Niceville’s City Manager for over 50 years and has been a driving force in the City’s evolution. He continues to look toward the future and strives to preserve the park’s wetlands while giving visitors a better appreciation and understanding of the local environment. A prime example is the proposed renovation of a vacant brick house into a welcome and information center that can host classes on the flora and fauna of Turkey Creek and Boggy Bayou and the importance of conservation. A potential expansion project in the works for Turkey Creek South includes a new park across the street with winding paths, a pond with bird nesting islands, an environmental education pavilion and more picnic areas.

These proposed enhancements, along with the amenities added throughout the years, ensure Turkey Creek will provide joy to Niceville and its guests for generations to come.

By William Prince

William Prince is the Reference Librarian at the Niceville Public Library. The City of Niceville, population 14,976, is located in Okaloosa County.