Navarre is a small beach town in a corner of Northwest Florida and one not overcrowded with tourists. It is situated on Florida’s Emerald Coast between Destin and Pensacola. It is a beautiful town and was recently tagged as Florida’s most relaxing place.
Navarre is about a 40-minute drive east of Pensacola. Located on the mainland of the Florida Panhandle, Navarre also extends onto a barrier island, using the Navarre Beach Causeway, called the Navarre Beach Marina Park. Surrounded by state parks and preserved national seashore, it boasts miles of untouched, natural beauty. You won’t find tourist traps or an overabundance of infrastructure blocking those pristine views here. Instead, Navarre Beach is home to warm, crystal waters and sandy white beachfront as far as the eye can see.
The city’s shores feature emerald waters and white sand that are characteristic of Gulf Coast beaches. In a most fitting fashion, many things to do here are focused on activities that take advantage of Navarre’s outdoor beauty and indigenous animals.
Far from crowded theme parks and packed beaches, you will discover a piece of the old Florida offering solitude and simplicity for fun seekers, families, outdoor adventurers, nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts.
There is much to see and do during your stay on Navarre Beach, including visiting the war memorial located on the Riverwalk in downtown Historic Milton, a few minutes’ drive from Navarre, which is dedicated to all the United States veterans from the Revolutionary War till today. You can also visit Fort Pickens on Pensacola Beach, a 19th century fort that saw action during the Civil War and where the legendary Geronimo was once held captive.
To the north there is historic Bagdad Village, home to pre-civil war era homes, including the Thompson House, which still displays the writings of soldiers who camped there in October 1864.
Of course, one of the easiest and most versatile activities is to simply visit Navarre Beach itself. The shore, with its dunes and white sand, makes for lovely scenery, along with the clear Gulf waters. Year after year, Navarre’s beaches are named among the best in the country and if you visit, you’ll see why. Guests are welcome to bring beach sports equipment with them, along with food and drinks. Just remember to clean up properly after yourselves. Take a right turn at Gulf Boulevard, after taking the Navarre Causeway to the barrier island, and the Navarre Beach Pier will be right on your left.
Not only does it offer warm, sparkling waters you’d expect to find only in the Caribbean, but the miles of protected lands and lack of notoriety allow for vast open space to spread out and relax. That is of course, without feeling congested with the summer crowds that flood some of the larger, more well-known destinations.
In other words, if you are coming to the beach with plans to relax, Navarre Beach is it.
For the more active and outdoorsy types, there are activities besides laying out and basking in that famous Florida sun. At the forefront of the beach is the longest fishing pier on the Gulf of Mexico, which was recently taken over and is going through some exciting renovations. The Navarre beach pier offers daily fishing licenses, an on-site restaurant, volleyball courts, soon-to-be kid’s play area, and unrivalled views of the Gulf. The pier is also a hot spot for surfers, kayakers, paddle-boarders, and of course, those looking for that perfect picture.
Panhandle Butterfly House
For a relaxing encounter with nature, the Panhandle Butterfly House is the place to go. This facility is home to native species of Florida butterflies that soar through the open exhibit, feeding on plants and colourful flowers. The Panhandle Butterfly House is complete with a small outdoor garden and pond filled with ducks and turtles. Caterpillars can also be seen as they venture on their journey from squishy little larvae to beautiful butterflies. The butterfly house is open from Thursdays to Saturdays, from 10 am to 3 pm, from May to August, and also holds a special event in October, to celebrate the migration of Monarch butterflies that occurs during that time.
Locals have also been known to hide and leave small, beautifully painted rocks for others to find, hide, or keep.
This fun science museum is located right off Gulf Boulevard when you arrive at Navarre Beach Marine Park. This former ranger station was turned into an environmental centre in 2008 by some marine science students that wanted to help the community better learn about their environment around them. Today, the centre is the consistent host to thousands of students and regular community members that come to learn about Pensacola’s local marine life.
Guests can enjoy interactive activities that are also highly educational and inspiring. The centre also hosts summer camps, birthdays, and guided beach tours. They have everything you need to enjoy some fascinating marine science.
Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Centre is located right off of Gulf Avenue when you get to Navarre Beach Marina Park’s barrier island. As its name suggests, the centre specializes in the health of sea turtles, but they also are invested in the well-being of tortoises, crab, and other marine life. Guests have fun interacting with the variety of sea animals they would not normally get to see at a traditional zoo. The facility is especially great for children to learn about the importance of conservation and what humans can do to help and improve the lives of sea turtles and other marine life.
Gulf Breeze Zoo
Located about a 10-minute drive west of Navarre is the Gulf Breeze Zoo, a 50-acre zoo, perfect for all animal lovers. This zoo may be small compared to others, but it is well maintained and has a large variety of animals. The zoo has big cats, reptiles, savannah animals, birds, gorillas, rhinos, hippos, a petting area, and more.
The zoo’s closing hours vary, depending on the time of year, but it always opens at 9 am. From January to February, and from October to December, the zoo closes at 4 pm. And from March 1st to September 30th, the zoo closes at 5 pm. Admission prices vary greatly depending on the age of the guest, and what kind of pass is purchased. There are also discounts available for military members and groups, so consulting the ticket prices on the zoo’s website is a good idea. The zoo is host to many events, such as birthday parties, as well as Halloween and holiday season special events.
Navarre is a community in which many guests wish they could live. Its treasures are its pristine coastal environment and lively ecosystem that are shared very generously with its inhabitants and visitors. Coming here is sure to inspire any traveler looking for adventure and relaxation, all in one convenient location. That is the real gift of Navarre.