Crestview, located in Florida’s Okaloosa County, is often referred to as the ‘Icebox of Florida.” This famous panhandle hub city has a cooler-than-average temperature and the second-highest annual rainfall in the state.
Situated at the junction of Yellow and Shoal Rivers, Crestview is home to the Eglin Air Force Base, the hub of the Army’s 7th Special Forces Group. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to see or do in this city. In fact, it is just the opposite.
A city of about 21,000, there are plenty of attractions in the community that visitors can access in a car. From the Emerald Coast Zoo operated by reality television star Rick the Reptile Guy to Panhandle Opry that showcases splendid, family-friendly performances, this city will leave you wanting to come back again and again.
Here are the six best things to do in Crestview.
1. Peaden Brothers Distillery
Peaden Brothers Distillery is a family-operated distillery located in Crestview’s historic Fox Theater building, which was opened in 1945 and completely renovated in recent years.
Owned and operated by business partners Robert Ellis and Tyler Peaden, the distillery was opened for business in 2014, creating liquors following their historic family moonshine and liquor recipes. Of the many available liquor varieties, five are sold throughout the year, including the Strawberry Angel Whiskey dedicated to Peaden’s late daughter.
Three of their signature liquor varieties are Shock The Monkey Whiskey highlighting a unique banana flavor, Cherry Da Bomb with a strawberry flavor, and Blue Berry Curve that boasts a blueberry flavor.
The company also crafts traditional corn-based moonshine evoking traditional bootleg moonshine flavors. Wednesdays through Saturdays, visitors can taste liquors at the company’s tasting room during afternoon hours.
2. Timber Creek Distillery
The Timber Creek Distillery is located on a family farm just north of Destin, Florida. Their vision is to take the best local fruits and grains from the Florida Panhandle and turn them into the finest Craft Spirits. They take great pride in hand making every batch and hand bottling every bottle.
They have custom designed their own distillery to take the greatest care of the fruits and grains to preserve and extract the purest flavors. They have a custom designed pot still, “thumper”, and copper worm condenser to allow the bold favors of our raw ingredients to shine through.
3. Emerald Coast Zoo
An independent zoo in the city, Emerald Coast Zoo is owned and operated by the renowned reality star Rick the Reptile Guy, popular for his appearances on the A&E television show Wild Transport.
The zoo first opened to visitors in 2017, focusing on interactive animal experiences, including opportunities for pet sloths, camel rides, and bird feeding at the zoo’s aviary.
If you are an adventurous soul, consider helping with lion training sessions under the supervision of experienced animal trainers, hopping with kangaroos and wallabies, or enjoying an up-close experience with the park’s family of black bears.
The zoo also offers unique goat yoga courses, allowing participants to interact with animals while stretching in natural environments. The zoo is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays throughout the afternoon hours. You can also get special appointments for small groups and field trips.
4. Panhandle Opry
Panhandle Opry is widely known as Crestview’s best musical variety show. It was established in 1979 by a troupe of area country and bluegrass music performers, including Woody Collins, Gordon Porter, Betty Jones, and Ed Strickland. The show started as a regular radio performance on a station like Defuniak Springs’ WGTX and Crestview’s WAAZ.
Later in 1982, it moved to a permanent location in Mossy Head, where it has been offering continuous bi-weekly performances since 1992. Guests can feast their eyes and ears on family-friendly bluegrass and country music performances on the first and third Saturdays of each month, modeled after Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry performances and other classic variety shows.
A full concession stands here sells American favorites such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and popcorn.
5. Family Movie Nights
Local families heading to the first film of the city’s new free monthly Family Movie Night will also get to see the innovative efforts of facilities management staff in the Public Services Department.
It is located at the Old Spanish Trail Park on Stillwell Boulevard in Crestview. Admission is free, and ample parking is available on the lawn south of the amphitheater.
Minor children must be accompanied by an adult. Bring folding chairs. Those wishing to sprawl out on the concrete floor are welcome to do so, but in addition to a blanket, foam camping mattresses are recommended.
There are tons of fun things to do and see in Crestview, Florida. At the end of the day, everything depends on your idea of fun. But as anyone who has been to the city will tell you, there’s always something for everyone in this beautiful city.
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