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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Turkey Creek Boardwalk

Taking a break on a January visit to Turkey Creek
The Turkey Creek Boardwalk is one of the many awesome places to visit in the Florida Panhandle.  It's located in Niceville, right on the banks of Turkey Creek, a springfed creek that flows at 68 degrees year round.  The boardwalk park is owned & operated by the City of Niceville, but is free for anyone's use.  We've had a great time there, just walking from one end to the other, floating down the creek in our canoe, and tubing down the creek.  We've even seen people swimming down the creek with snorkel gear- an intriguing approach since the water is so clear! Some people go there to run laps since it is so scenic, and is roughly a mile each way.  Along the boardwalk, there are several creek access points with platforms and access to the water.
Turkey Creek in January
Turkey Creek is home to a variety of critters.  One week we spotted some baby raccoons perched high in a tree.  We saw a snake on another visit.  I'm not sure if it was poisonous or not, but it was big.  Lots of tubers were floating down the creek and passed right by without even knowing it was there.  Almost every time we go we see turtles.  There are lots of turtles down below in the water after the first creek crossing.  Down below another portion of the trail we have also found a favorite hangout spot of a large snapping turtle.  And then we see fish when we go splash on the platforms.  Fishing is allowed in Turkey Creek, but not from the boardwalk or platforms.  The only time I've seen someone fishing at Turkey Creek, they were sopping wet, wading from one submerged sandbar to the next.
Many first time visitors to Turkey Creek wonder about alligators.  We've never seen any.  We've also talked to many other visitors who haven't seen any.  That said, a news article in the Northwest Florida Daily News highlighted a small gator that a few visitors have recently spotted in July 2016.  Generally speaking, alligators find Turkey Creek too cold.  Since they are cold-blooded, they prefer water that is at least a few degrees warmer.   If you're in the Destin/Fort Walton area and interested in seeing a gator in the wild, there are better places to go rather than Turkey Creek.

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