With an elevation of 235 feet (72 m) above sea level, it is one of the highest points in the state; it receives 65 inches (1,700 mm) of rainfall annually, the second-most of any city in the state of Florida, next to Fort Walton Beach with 69 inches. The town was once known as "the icebox of Florida", due to it having the coldest winters in the state. Today it goes by a more popular nickname as the "Hub City" of Northwest Florida.
Crestview is one of Florida's fastest growing cities, with residential developments, shopping, and land area to grow. It has, as of July 2007, become the largest city in Okaloosa County. In 2007, George Whitehurst, who had been mayor for nearly 20 years, resigned, leading to the election of David Cadle. Cadle had recently retired as the long-time director of the Crestview High School band, The Big Red Machine.
As part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure round, Crestview experienced further population growth as the U.S. Army's 7th Special Forces Group relocated from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to a newly built cantonment facility on the northern end of the Eglin Air Force Base reservation, approximately six miles south of the city.