Crestview is Okaloosa County's largest city, commonly referred to as the "Icebox of Florida" for its cooler-than-average temperatures for the state. The popular Panhandle hub city is located at the junction of the Shoal and Yellow Rivers and is home to the Eglin Air Force Base, the hub of the Army's 7th Special Forces Group. Visitors can explore the Emerald Coast Zoo or catch performances at the Panhandle Opry, which showcases family-friendly country and bluegrass music. The city is also a hub for craft distilleries producing high-quality spirits from locally-sourced Florida grains and fruits.
1. Emerald Coast Zoo
Emerald Coast Zoo is an independent zoo in Crestview, owned and operated by reality star Rick the Reptile Guy, known for his appearances on the A&E television show Wild Transport. The zoo, which opened in 2017, focuses on interactive animal experiences, including opportunities to ride camels, pet sloths, and feed birds at the zoo's aviary. Adventurous visitors can help with lion training sessions under the supervision of experienced animal trainers, hop with kangaroos and wallabys, or enjoy up-close experiences with the park's family of black bears. Unique goat yoga courses are also offered, letting participants interact with animals while stretching in natural environments. The park is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays throughout the afternoon hours or with special appointment for small groups and field trips. Explore Florida Panhandle beaches on vacation.
5262 Deer Springs Dr, Crestview, FL 32539, Phone: 850-682-3949
2. Peaden Brothers Distillery
© Peaden Brothers Distillery
Peaden Brothers Distillery is a family-operated distillery housed within Crestview's historic Fox Theater building, which was originally opened in 1945 and has been completely renovated in recent years. The distillery, which is owned by business partners Robert Ellis and Tyler Peaden, was originally opened in 2014, crafting liquors based on historic family moonshine and liquor recipes. Five varieties of liquor are sold throughout the year, including the company's Strawberry Angel Whiskey, dedicated to Peaden's late daughter. Shock The Monkey Whiskey boasts a unique banana flavor, while Cherry Da Bomb and Blue Berry Curve highlight strawberry and blueberry flavors respectively. The company also produces a standard corn-based moonshine evoking traditional bootleg moonshine flavors. Visitors can taste liquors at the company's tasting room Wednesdays through Saturdays during the afternoon hours. Find out where to go snorkeling in Florida on your getaway.
382 Main St, Crestview, FL 32536, Phone: 850-306-1344
3. Panhandle Opry
© Panhandle Opry
Panhandle Opry is Crestview's best musical variety show, originally established in 1979 by a troupe of area country and bluegrass music performers, including Gordon Porter, Woody Collins, Ed Strickland, and Betty Jones. The show began as a regular radio performance on stations such as Defuniak Springs' WGTX and Crestview's WAAZ. In 1982, it moved to a permanent location in Mossy Head, where it has been offering continuous bi-weekly performances since 1992. Guests can enjoy family-friendly bluegrass and country music performances on the first and third Saturday of each month, modeled after Nashville's Grand Ole Opry performances and other classic variety shows. A full concession stand sells American favorites such as hot dogs, hamburgers, and popcorn. Browse our best places to visit in Florida guide for more ideas.
657 DeShazo Rd, Crestview, FL 32539, Phone: 850-892-4050
4. Carver-Hill Museum
© pavel siamionov/stock.adobe.com
The Carver-Hill Museum was established to tell the story of the historic (1915) Carver Hill School which was once the only school in Okaloosa County to enroll African Americans. The school was named in honor of George Washington Carver and the Reverend Edward Hill and was funded by philanthropist Julius Rosenwald. The museum is filled with historic exhibits, documents, photographs and much more. Guided tours of the museum are available and visitors will often find that their docent is one of the many African American children who were educated at the school. The museum is open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays and 11am to 3pm on the weekends.
Carver-Hill Museum, 895 McClelland Street, Crestview, FL 32536, 850 682 4003
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5. Things to Do in Crestview: Timber Creek Distillery
© Timber Creek Distillery
Timber Creek Distillery is a family-owned and operated distillery in Crestview, opened in 2014 by master distiller Aaron Barnes and business partner Camden Ford. The distillery overlooks the banks of beautiful Juniper Creek, housed within a 26,000-square-foot distilling facility and tap room that recently reopened following major renovations. Excellent liquors are produced with local Florida crops, including a full line of single-malt, reserve, and rye whiskeys produced with red soft winter wheat and locally-sourced corn and black rye. Rums are crafted from Gulf Coast cane molasses sourced from Louisiana, while specialty liquors incorporate locally-grown fruit flavors such as strawberry, peach, and muscadine. Visitors can enjoy tastings and tours at the company's seasonal tasting room, which is open during the summer months. Florida beaches offer a cheap way to enjoy the state's natural beauty.
6451 Lake Ella Rd, Crestview, FL 32539, Phone: 850-585-8843
6. Emerald Isle Seafood Restaurant and Market
© Emerald Isle Seafood Restaurant and Market
Emerald Isle Seafood Restaurant and Market is a family-owned and operated market and restaurant in Crestview, serving up delicious freshly-caught Gulf Coast seafood daily. The market's full-service restaurant is open Mondays through Saturdays for lunch and dinner service, known for its excellent chef's specials, including fish taco platters, surf and turf combination entrees, and fresh catch dinners showcasing diners' choice of blackened, grilled, fried, or broiled seafood options. Fried catch platters highlight Bay scallops, Mississippi catfish, Gulf shrimp, or homestyle crab cakes, served with hush puppies and comforting sides such as fried okra and cheese grits. Visitors can also carry out their own fish selections at the facility's fresh seafood market, which sources its catches from the Gulf daily. Browse our things to do in Florida guide for more ideas.
1260 S Ferdon Blvd, Crestview, FL 32536, Phone: 850-683-1418
7. The Wild Olive
© The Wild Olive
The Wild Olive is a delicious Italian-influenced eatery in Crestview, originally opened in 2007 as a casual dining experience for the entire family. The unique, diverse restaurant strives to cultivate a relaxed atmosphere akin to dining at a friend's house, highlighting comfortable, homestyle decor elements throughout its dining room. Traditional entree options include Italian favorites such as chicken parmesan and fettuccine alfredo, paired with Southern-style land and sea options like buttermilk fried chicken and blackened shrimp and grits. At lunch, diners can choose from a selection of clever burgers and sandwiches or share small plates such as bacon-wrapped jalapenos or fried pickles. Hearty breakfast options include delicacies such as bread pudding French toast or housemade buttermilk pancakes. Read about the best Florida weekend getaways for a relaxing vacation.
797 N Pearl St, Crestview, FL 32536, Phone: 850-682-4455
More ideas: Things to do in DeFuniak Springs
8. Things to Do in Crestview: Pounders Hawaiian Grill
© Pounders Hawaiian Grill
Pounders Hawaiian Grill was opened as a traveling food truck in 2014 by married duo Skylar and Kakela Peters, serving up delectable Hawaiian-style fare prepared with the "Aloha Spirit." The restaurant, which opened its permanent location in Crestview the following year, still serves all of its food in take-out containers, staying true to its food truck roots. Hawaiian-style meat platters come in three sizes, including small kine platters, named for a Hawaiian term for "just enough." Regular and pounder sizes are also available, offering meat options such as teriyaki steak, kalua pig, and garlic chicken. Diners can pair all meals with side dishes such as macaroni salad or with a selection of refreshing Hawaiian-style canned juices. Browse our best places to visit in Florida guide for more ideas.
1338 N Ferdon Blvd, Crestview, FL 32536, Phone: 850-306-2451
9. Things to Do Near Me Today: Hub City Smokehouse and Grill
© Hub City Smokehouse and Grill
Hub City Smokehouse and Grill is a traditional barbecue joint in Crestview, originally opened in 2011 by married duo Lori and Mike Carroll. The restaurant, which moved to its current location in 2015, serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout the week, opening at 6:00am Mondays through Saturdays for early-morning service. Barbecue plates highlight favorites such as smoked pork, beef brisket, and St. Louis-style baby-back ribs, paired with sides such as baked beans, cole slaw, and potato salad. Barbecue sandwiches are also served throughout the day, along with appetizers such as loaded nachos, onion ring towers, and cheese fries. At breakfast, diners can enjoy barbecue breakfast sandwiches, fresh egg omelettes, and buttermilk pancake stacks. Florida day trips offer a great way to explore nearby.
168 S Main St, Crestview, FL 32536, Phone: 850-423-7770
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