When the beach is all you need, Navarre is your spot

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Our Research TravelingMom recently visited Navarre Beach in Santa Rosa CountyFlorida and fell in love with the small coastal town. Read more about what she loved and what she thinks will work for families!

Our Research TravelingMom recently visited Navarre Beach Florida and feel in love with this little town. Read about what she discovered while she was there!
Photo by Allison Taylor, Research TravelingMom

 

When the Beach is All You Need, Think Navarre Beach Florida

During the madness of Hurricane Matthew, I was in the middle of packing my bags for a beach trip…in Florida. Luckily for me, I was headed for the Gulf Coast, which saw nothing but blue skies and calm surf the entire visit.

When I arrived, I noticed something very very different from the traditional ‘beachy’ towns I’ve visited before. This town was left untouched by the commerce that typically comes along with a beach trip. I knew right away that I had arrived at my beach happy place. You could even call it my idea of paradise.

Untouched Beauty

Navarre Beach is so unspoiled by tourism that when you book lodging (and believe me, you want to book a stay here!), a service like ResortQuest will be needed. Why? Well, the reason is there are currently no hotels in the area, but there is an abundance of vacation rentals.

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That’s right – when you visit Navarre likely you will be in a condo.

TravelingMom Note: There is currently a hotel under construction in Navarre, scheduled to open in the Spring of 2017

While the lack of hustle and bustle was immediately apparent to me when we drove up to the condo, I don’t think I truly realized how much of a difference it made until I stepped on the beach. Looking left and then right, I was struck by how I was simply at the beach. There were no high rises fighting for space, just pure coastal beauty.

Navarre Beach vacation also offers something unique; it boasts the longest pier in the Gulf of Mexico with fantastic views of the Gulf’s clear waters. It costs $1 to walk on the pier. Pay once and you have access, with your receipt, until 11 p.m. The pier was an attraction all by itself.  I saw opportunist dolphins ready to snag fish off the lines of the fishermen and pink jellyfish the size of frisbees from my advantage point walking down the fishing pier.

Where to Eat

This quiet little beach town has some fantastic restaurants. My favorite was Lagerheads on the Gulf. Lagerheads had fantastic fish in quite possibly the perfect location – it sat right on the beach with the best views of the clear ocean. I could have (and would have!) sat watching the waves the entire day!

My endorsement of Lagerheads by no means downplays the great food that we had at the other restaurants in town. Sailor’s Grill had a menu with lots of variety and while I didn’t get to try their breakfast we heard nothing but rave reviews from people we encountered about their breakfast selection!

Our Research TravelingMom recently visited Navarre Beach Florida and feel in love with this little town. Read about what she discovered while she was there!
Photo by Allison Taylor, Research TravelingMom

Up the road just a bit is the Ye Olde Brothers Brewery, owned by two of the most adorable men that you have ever met. They are doing big things in Navarre. These brothers have dared to bring something different to town – fantastic craft beer. Now, I myself am not a beer gal, but I could taste that the beer was very good.

What to do

Remember how I told you earlier that there was not much to do while you are soaking in the sounds of the surf? While this is true, just about an hour up the road in Milton there are lots of activities to choose from.

Coldwater Gardens is one of those places and I have to say that I was very impressed. This out of the way spot is perfect for the traveler who wants to get away from it all. They have ‘glamping’ tents, a treehouse, and other cabins available for rent.

While I was touring the grounds, I remarked to my friends several times that this would be a great way for my husband and I to compromise. I am not a camping person by any stretch of the imagination, while he lives for camping. The accommodations at Coldwater Gardens was the best of both worlds: for me, it was plush enough to feel comfortable and for my husband, it is close enough to nature to make him feel happy. In fact, should we return to the area again, I would love to stay at Coldwater Gardens for a night or two, you know, to get away from the sand.

Our Research TravelingMom recently visited Navarre Beach Florida and feel in love with this little town. Read about what she discovered while she was there!
Photo by Allison Taylor, Research TravelingMom

Adventures Unlimited is just minutes away from Coldwater Gardens and it ranks very highly on my ‘to return’ list! They offer a wide variety of, you’ve guessed it, adventures! I opted for a kayak trip, but adventures unlimited also offers zip line tours, and canoe excursions as well. I had never kayaked before but after a brief paddling lesson and general instructions, I was on my way! The river that we were on was perfect for a first trip. The water never was any higher than my waist, should I have had the misfortune to fall out of the kayak. (In case you’re wondering – no, I didn’t. I came very very close, but managed to stay in the kayak!)

 

Our Research TravelingMom recently visited Navarre Beach Florida and feel in love with this little town. Read about what she discovered while she was there!
Photo by Allison Taylor, Research TravelingMom

The Gulf Breeze Zoo is located about 15 minutes from the beach and it was so much fun! I have to confess, I am not a huge zoo fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. The zoo wasn’t so large that it was overwhelming, or that it would take the entire day to see unless you really wanted to spend your whole day there. The exhibits were all fairly interactive and the animals seemed generally happy. Bonus points to the zoo for having reasonable prices in the gift shop!

Navarre Beach was such a gem and I found myself head over heels in love with the little coastal town. Navarre is one of those spots that you love so much that there is always a bit of hesitation before sharing about the destination. The hesitation comes in due to fear that it will be overrun with tourists!

Tell me in the comments below. Have you visited the white sand beaches of Navarre before? What was your favorite part?

Our Research TravelingMom recently visited Navarre Beach Florida and feel in love with this little town. Read about what she discovered while she was there!

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About The Author

Allison Taylor loves to write and to travel! As Research TMOM she often wears her family out by over researching just about anything that she and her family are going to do! Allison has 2 boys ages 7 and 9 whose antics keep her very busy, and being married to a firefighter adds a whole other element to the chaos! You can check out her own travel blog at Family Vacations U.S.

14 Replies to “When the beach is all you need, Navarre is your spot”

  1. We spend time every fall and spring at Navarre Beach. We have been coming for 9 years, so you know we love it here. We are retired, but our kids and grandkids love visiting us while we are here. You can’t beat the sugary white sand or brilliant turquoise water that is as clear as glass if you love the beach, as I do. And we love the wide open space, especially a mile or so down the road at the Gulf Islands National Seashore. If you like history, Ft. Pickens and Pensacola nearby offer plenty. And there is a great Naval Air Museum there, too. You have mentioned some good restaurants, but one we like, especially for breakfast and daily specials, is Alphy’s Family Restaurant, right in Navarre. Navarre Beach is known as Florida’s Best Kept Secret, but I think the secret is out!:)

  2. You stated there are no hotels in Navarre, NOT TRUE! We have been going to Navarre the past six years and stay at the Best Western Navarre. There are two other hotels in Navarre – maybe you need to go into the town of Navarre and not the Navarre Beach that you’re really talking about. You have questions about Navarre you can contact me!

  3. We are going in April!! I am so excited! This will be our second trip to Navarre Beach. The first time I stepped on the beach I was truly amazed at how beautiful the water and sand was! My parents are coming with us this time. They visit Gulf Shores every fall and they love that area. I tried to explain that they have to see Navaree’s beautiful water. While we love gulf shores as well I have fell in love with the blue water! I can’t wait for them to see it! We only visited the public beach so I am excited to actually stay and have the gulf at my back door! Thank you for your review . I enjoyed reading it and looking forward to trying the restaurants you mentioned. It is making me so hungry lol!

  4. We have a family trip planned in August. We were supposed to go to Panama Beach, to meet up with my step-son stationed at Ft. Rucker. My husband and I searched from Panama to Pensacola to Perdido Key. Somehow he found this beautiful place called Navarre Beach. We’ve been to Destin and loved it. Can’t wait to stay in Navarre. My first priority is restaurants, lol. So thanks for your recommendations.
    Brenda T.

    1. My husband and I have been going to Navarre Beach for about 15 years and loved it from the beginning. We have owned a condo there for the past 9 years so you know we really do love Navarre Beach. We rent our condo ourselves so please let people know they do not have to use a rental agency, lots of owners use VRBO.com to rent their own condos. There are many good restaurants in the town of Navarre on the mainland, but not many in Navarre Beach. There are also lots of activities in surrounding towns. Best of all is the beach!!

  5. We love Navarre Beach!! We have been going there for about 6 years now and it still remains quiet. The beaches are pristine and the sunsets awesome! Agree. Best kept secret!

  6. Allison – We’re (family of 5) flying into Pensacola and staying at a rental property in Navarre Beach. We’re there for 5 days and we are debating over the best transportation options. We’re traveling with another family of 5 and not sure if we should both get rental cars. Any advice as it relates to transportation in and around Navarre. We’re thinking we will spend most of our time of the beach, but will need to occasional drive for groceries, restaurants, etc.

    Clyde

  7. My Happy Place for 20+ years.
    Sshhh. Keep it a secret.
    Families should stay in Pensacola or Fort Walton Beach.
    The Gulf Islands National Seashore drive is great for lowering blood pressure.

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