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    5 Attractions Near Eglin AFB

    Heading to Eglin AFB? For beach and outdoor lovers, Eglin AFB is the jackpot of duty stations!

    With year-round good weather, the pristine white beaches of the Emerald Coast, and the prevalence of military families and veterans in the area (nearby military installations include Corry Station, Duke Field, Hurlburt Field, NAS Whiting Field, NSA Panama City, Pensacola Naval Hospital, and Tyndall AFB), you’re living in a coveted vacation destination. (New to the area? Start here with our Eglin AFB base information page!)

    Once you’ve had your fill of beach life (is it ever enough??), you might find time to explore some other attractions and things to do near Eglin AFB. 

    Reminder: Check with each destination for current hours and restrictions.

    Attractions Near Eglin AFB

    1) Panama City Center for the Arts

    19E 4th St Panama City, FL 32401
    Hours: Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.–3 p.m., closed Sundays and Mondays. 
    Admission: Free

    Housed in a building that dates back to 1925, tour beautiful galleries while you’re surrounded in history. With over 30 exhibitions a year, the fine art is ever changing! Great for a family day out, the  Panama City Center for the Arts has free admission. The venue also hosts music and film events throughout the year, including unique events like their Haunted Walking Tour, and offers creative classes and workshops.

    2) The Emerald Coast Science Center

    31 SW Memorial Parkway Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
    Hours: Monday- Saturday: 10 am– 4 p.m. Closed Sundays.
    • Kids $8 / Seniors (Age 60 and up) $8 / Adults $10
    • Kids 2 and under are free
    • Military and group discounts available

    This interactive and educational museum promotes STEM outreach with touchable exhibits and activities. Learn about all science topics such as robotics, dinosaurs, sea turtles, space, live animals, women in science, and more. Great for hosting a birthday party or field trip! The Center also offers virtual and in-school learning opportunities. 

    3) Veterans Memorial Railroad

    10561 NW Theo Jacobs Way
    Bristol, FL 32321
    (850) 643-6646
    Hours: 11 a.m.– 3 p.m. on public run days (check website)
    Admission: No charge on public run days, but donations appreciated. 

    Love trains? Put on your engineer’s cap and head out for a fun family outing to the Veterans Memorial Railroad. With its restored locomotives, the railroad has been entertaining families for years. Learn some history, play on the playground, and enjoy the only coal-fired live steam train operating in any public park in the state. (Note: at the time of this post, public run days have been put on hold due to COVID-19 concerns. Continue checking back for re-openings!)


    Looking for Eglin AFB housing? Take a tour of this home in nearby Fort Walton Beach!

    2165 Wyatt Way, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547

    • 3 Bed, 2 Bath (Single Family)
    • For Sale: $420,000
    • MBO Listing #MBO1472563

    Fort Walton Beach home for sale

    Minutes from both Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field, this 2100-square-foot home has three bedrooms along with a flex room/4th bedroom. Check out the amenities! This home is only three years old and features plantation shutters throughout, a 9-foot kitchen island, all stainless appliances, upgraded slide-in glass top range, engineered hardwood floors, and a walk-in tile shower and master roman tub. The family room has a surround sound system; even the back patio is wired! With a fully landscaped yard, large patio, attached 2-car garage, and upgraded lighting and plumbing fixtures throughout, there’s so much about this house  for your family to love. Click the listing above to view more photos and information. 

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    4) Florida Caverns State Park

    3345 Caverns Rd
    Marianna, FL 32446
    Hours: 8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year. Cave tours are available daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Admission: $5 per vehicle
    Cave tour fees:
    • Children 2 and under: No fee
    • Ages 3 to 12: $5 per person
    • Ages 13 and up: $10.75 per person

    Who loves spelunking? (The hobby of exploring caves!) Venture below ground and enjoy the cool air while you take a cave tour and view the beautiful formations: stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, and flowstones. The cavern offers a 45-minute guided tour. Nearby Chipola River and Blue Hole Spring are perfect to get out on the water or fish. This area is also great for horseback riding, camping, and hiking. 

    5) Gulf Breeze Zoo

    5701 Gulf Breeze Parkway
    Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
    Hours: Open 7 days a week, closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
    • Adult (13-64) $24.95
    • Senior (65+) $23.95
    • Children (2-12) $19.95
    • Under 2 Free
    • Military and Law Enforcement receive 15% off admission.

    Though a little bit of a drive, many military families say it’s worth the trip! The Gulf Breeze Zoo is about 30 miles west of Eglin AFB and offers 50 acres of wildlife adventures. Ride on the safari train,  experience animal encounters, explore the aviary and farm, and hand feed the animals. Fun for your whole family!

    Find even more adventures near Eglin AFB: 13 Things to Do Near Eglin AFB.

    Stay updated on more things to do like this near your duty station, PCS moves, home buying and selling, renting, and so much more! 

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    Jen McDonald


    Jen McDonald

    Jen McDonald is the Content Editor for MilitaryByOwner Advertising. She's a longtime writer, the author of the book You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military Spouse, the host of the Milspouse Matters podcast, and has been published in several books and numerous national publications. She was a military spouse for nearly 30 years and is the mom of four (including one son in the military). One of her happiest roles now is being a grandmother. She and her newly retired Air Force husband have been stationed all around the world from Europe to the Pacific and won’t count how many houses they’ve lived in because that would be too depressing. Her passion is encouraging young military spouses and regularly sharing about topics like military life, parenting, homeschooling...and now grandparenting! See more from Jen at her site, Jen McDonald and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram , and Pinterest.

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