eglinBy Rebecca Alwine, Army Spouse

Two great places to try within a few hours of Niceville

Sometimes, when you live in a great location like the panhandle of Florida, it can be hard to imagine travelling for a vacation. Great weather, beautiful beaches, what more could you want? But most military families want to continue to explore the area around them.

Besides travelling to Pensacola, there are some great things to explore around the Eglin/Hurlburt area. If you’re looking for a few day trip ideas, here they are!


Tallahassee is only about 2.5 hours away from Niceville and would make for a great day trip, or even one overnight. You can check out the Museum of Florida History, the St. Marks Lighthouse, and the state capitol observatory. Hike (or take the elevator) to the 22nd floor and enjoy amazing views of the city. The observatory is free and open from 8am to 5pm during the week.

The Great Outdoors

Outdoor lovers should not dismiss Tallahassee as simply an urban area, as there are over 600 miles of trails to explore in the capitol. A few favorites include the St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail, which has trail ends on Gamble and Stearns Street and Riverside Drive. It’s over 20 miles long, and is great for walking, biking, skating, and even horseback riding.

Local Eats

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, or some nightlife, check out The Brass Tap, a craft brewery with two locations and yummy food. For the lunchtime crowd, Kool Beanz Café and Backwoods Crossing are among the favorites.


Mobile, Alabama

 If you head west, in a little less than two hours, you’ll find yourself in Mobile, Alabama. History is alive in Mobile, and you may find yourself transported back to the antebellum south. But the buildings are just gorgeous, and there is a lot to do to keep busy.

For those that like history, make a point to go to Battleship Memorial Park and tour the USS Alabama. There is also the History Museum of Alabama and the Richards DAR Museum. There are some absolutely gorgeous old homes which are open to the public for viewing, and you’ll soon see why so many enjoy just walking through the streets and enjoying the old architecture. The Fort of Colonial Mobile can give visitors a great view of the city and Mobile Bay. The fort was established in 1702 and is open each day of the week.

Try the Seafood

If you are going to visit Mobile, you really should try some local seafood restaurants. Try the Boiling Pot on Airport Blvd and order a grilled shrimp po’ boy. Make sure you get a knife and fork because you won’t be able to eat this one like a sandwich. You will also want to try the crawfish pie, which is like an empanada filled with crawfish tails, rice, and amazing Cajun spices.

Kick off your day with a quick stop at Carpe Diem Coffee & Tea Company. They serve breakfast all day and have a great coffee lineup. It’s a kid-friendly place complete with peanut butter and jelly on the menu.

Pay it Forward

Enjoy your time in the panhandle by getting out and exploring both your local area and these two great cities that are just a few hours away. Grab a friend and get exploring! Pack the kids in the car and hit the road to explore these fun day trips from Eglin & Hurlburt! And consider helping out your fellow military families by leaving a base housing, neighborhood, REALTOR®, or moving company review on

PCSgradesPCSgrades AuthorRebecca Alwine is a freelance writer, army wife, and mother of three. She’s a contributing writer for ARMY Magazine, a regular contributor for several publications including to Homefront United Network, PCSgrades, ESME, and has also been published in Ms. Magazine and The Atlantic. You can follow her online at