Located at 340 John Sims Blvd in the City of Niceville are two natural areas that have been set aside for the enjoyment of its residents, visitors and most importantly, local wildlife. Although both nature areas are in close proximity to one another, they are distinctly different. The Turkey Creek section is a spring-fed creek originating on the Eglin reservation while the Boggy Bayou portion across the boulevard is a tidally influenced marsh that Turkey Creek empties into.
Turkey Creek Walk
The boardwalk begins near the pavilion, restrooms and parking area. The pavilion has numerous picnic tables, lights, fans, fireplace and grills and is available on a first-come basis. This is a popular gathering place for birthdays and other social events.
The main attraction is the 3/4 mile shaded boardwalk that meanders along Turkey Creek itself. There are several swimming areas and platforms along the boardwalk as well as overlooks and interesting views along the way. Near the end of the boardwalk is a side path called the Path of Memories that takes visitors to a quiet area where loved ones are memorialized on plaques. The main boardwalk continues on to a kayak launching area.
Nature lovers will find plenty of wildlife viewing ranging from the numerous turtles swimming beneath the boardwalk to the abundant varieties of birds that frequent the area. Late afternoon visitors are sometimes treated to the sight of a raccoon emerging from the trees in search of an early dinner.
The North Turkey Creek Extension on W. College Blvd provides an additional 900′ of boardwalk and another kayak launch. This area also features restrooms and three smaller picnic pavilions. Like the main boardwalk, this area opens daily at 6:30 a.m. and closes at sunset.
Boggy Bayou Nature Trail
The entrance to this trail is located across the road and a few hundred feet to the west of Turkey Creek. For those not wishing to cross the heavy traffic, parking can be found in the shopping center across from Government Avenue.
This is a shorter boardwalk that takes visitors out over the marsh and along the mouth of Turkey Creek where it meets Boggy Bayou. The bayou is heavily influenced by nearby Choctawhatchee Bay and it’s not unusual to spot dolphins frolicking in the waters. Shorebirds, mullet and crabs are some of the wildlife most frequently seen here, although a healthy population of Green Anoles also enjoy sunning on the boardwalk.
The kayakers that can sometimes be seen exiting here usually get their start upstream on the Eglin reservation. Read on for information on kayaking the Turkey Creek area.