Florida’s Pristine Beach for Relaxing
Navarre Beach is known for it’s snowy white sand, emerald green water, abundant nature and relaxing vibe. Navarre Beach is self-proclaimed “Florida’s Most Relaxing Place” located in Florida’s Panhandle on the beautiful Emerald Coast in Santa Rosa County, Florida.
Prior to 2017, the slogan for the town was “Florida’s Best Kept Secret,” which residents protested to keep when the slogan was changed. And Navarre Beach was the best kept secret, but in recent years has become one of Florida’s fastest growing communities.
Part of the Pensacola Metro area, Navarre Beach is the less crowded, less known beach in the area and really is an incredibly relaxing town.
This small town is located on the Santa Rosa Barrier Island that extends from Pensacola Beach through Gulf Islands National Seashore to Navarre. Navarre Beach is conveniently located between Pensacola Beach and Destin with it’s own character and vibe.
Ultimate Navarre Beaches Florida Guide
What this Guide covers
This guide is all about the beach areas: the beaches, access points, parking, wildlife, activities, sand and water, beachfront area, shelling, and anything related to being on the beach! Everything you need to know about the beaches for a day, a weekend, a quiet moment, vacationing, moving or buying in the area.
Also see surrounding area Guides for Pensacola area Beaches and Destin area Beaches and find local businesses in the largest Navarre/Pensacola area business directory (coming soon).
Beach Life & Cultural Feel of Navarre Beach
Navarre Beach is not a hustle and bustle kind of town, nor is it touristy like it’s neighbor, Destin, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of activities to do. This smaller town lives up to it’s slogan with a relaxing vibe and feels like the place to be for peace and tranquility. The town is a mix of local residents, both full time and seasonal, and vacationers. The locals are a tight community who love this town and boast about it being the best along the coast.
The town is also close to several military basis including Eglin Air Force Base, Hulburt Air Force Base and the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. It is not uncommon to see military aircraft in the area.
Sand, Water, Beachfront & Shoreline
Pure white sandy beaches line the entire coast of Navarre Beach.
Every stretch of beach area features the gorgeous sugar white soft sand. This sand is the outcome of finely ground quartz that was washed down from the Appalachian Mountains 25 million years ago and gives us the soft snowy white luxury to walk on and enjoy.
Dunes line the most of the beachfront, even in developed areas. Dunes are an important part of the ecology and are protected so please cross the dunes in the designated areas and boardwalks.
The Beachfront along most of Navarre is super wide and flat making the beach a perfect place for recreation.
The Shoreline offers soft sands and a line of shells along the waters edge making it enjoyable to walk barefoot and play in the shallow waters.
The water is a gorgeous green emerald color blending into a deep blue on the horizon. The above picture was taken on fully sunny day where the hues of green reflected brilliantly against the white sands.
Beaches & Activities Along Navarre Beach
West End of Navarre Beach
Starting at the West end of Navarre Beach is the Gulf Islands National Seashore featuring beautiful natural dunes and coastal beachfront in it’s most natural state. This area of Santa Rosa Island separates Pensacola Beach from Navarre Beach.
There are several beach access points in between the Seashore and the Navarre Pier with parking areas and boardwalks over the dunes to the beach.
This area of Navarre Beach has a beautiful and quiet beachfront where beach homes, town homes and condos are most prominent.
Walking along this part of the beach, the beachfront offers a nice place to walk in the soft sands and play.
Some parts of this western side of Navarre Beach along the beachfront are not as wide as other beaches in the area, though still just a gorgeous.
The Navarre Fishing Pier
As you cross the Navarre Beach Causeway bridge into Navarre Beach, the Navarre Pier and main beach access area is directly straight ahead.
Park in this parking lot and access the Pier, the Turtle Conservation Center across the street, and swim or kayak out to the Reefs. The pier area is the most active area with activities, food and drink.
When the Navarre Pier was built, it became the longest pier along Florida’s Gulf of Mexico coastline, stretching 1545 feet long and 30 feet above the water. It is worth the few dollars admission to take a walk on this pier.
It’s worth a few dollars for a walk on the pier for the gorgeous views of the emerald waters.
The beach area around the pier is a wide beachfront with beach activities.
East Side of Navarre
From the pier to the east is Navarre Beach Marine Park, formerly a state park (prior to 2009). This naturally preserved coastline with dunes and wide open beachfront is a perfect way to enjoy the natural beauty, a day of surf fishing, kayaking, walking, shelling, bird watching or simply relaxing. The area beyond the Marine Park is Eglin Air Force Base.
Navarre Beach Marine Park
There are 5 access points in the park with pavilions and restrooms, 3 on the Beachfront Gulf Side and 2 on the Sound Side.
Mom’s Beach is the first beach on the Soundside of Navarre Beach Marine Park. This beach has calmer waters and is a popular spot for families with small children. It is also the spot for kayaking and canoeing on the sound side of the island.
The Navarre Beach Marine Park is also home to The Navarre Beach Marine Science Center, The Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary, and the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center.
Navarre Beach has made kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving much more exciting with 3 man-made reefs just offshore close to the pier. The reefs are located to the east of the pier on the Gulf Beachfront side, and an east and west reef on the Sound side. And they make it easy for you to find them with posted signs. Click here for a map of the reef locations.
The crystal clear shallow waters stretch out from the shore making it easy to swim or kayak out to the reefs. These reefs attract fish, coral, octopus, and sea turtles! It is the best way to see the sea turtles in their natural habitat during sea turtle season.
A fun marine science and environmental center with interactive activities for students to learn and enjoy.
An interactive marine life center dedicated to education, protection and improving the lives of sea turtles and other marine life.
All across the panhandle of Florida, residents love and protect Sea Turtles! Four species of sea turtles, Loggerhead, Green Sea Turtle, Kemp’s Ridley and less commonly, the Leatherback Sea Turtle, nest on these beaches. Sea turtles nest in Florida from May through October and local beach towns watch and protect the nesting turtles putting up signs and roping off nesting sites, reminding residents and visitors to turn off the lights and keep the blinds closed in their Gulf facing rooms.
Learn more about sea turtles at the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center.
Other sea life you may see in the waters are dolphins, stingrays, and crabs.
With the Gulf Islands National Seashore to the west, and the Navarre Beach Marine Park to the east, Navarre Beach is a haven for birds. Attracting both permanent shore birds and coastal birds as well as migrating birds, Navarre provides a good eco-system for birding.
Sandpipers, Gulls. Pelicans, and Herons are most common.
Hiking the island offers beautiful scenery with sand dunes and water all around. Be sure you are ready to walk in the sand because the entire island is soft white sand that is both fun and challenging to walk on for long hikes. The sound side of the island offers a nature trail while the gulf side offers coastal bird watching, shelling and surf fishing.
Swimming and playing in the shallow waters off the shoreline are common. Kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities in the crystal clear waters to view the reefs and marine life at the Marine Sanctuary sites.
Surf fishing is a common activity particularly in the less crowded east end beach areas.
Navarre Beach is a fun place to search for shells along the shore line with the clear waters on calmer days, find conchs, olives, scallops, sand dollars and more. With miles of natural coastline and shallow coastline for snorkeling and swimming, Navarre Beach is the perfect place to get in the water and find your treasure. Note that the coastline is a good indication of the amount of shells that wash ashore. Navarre Beach is not a shelly beach and while your shelling adventures will result in rewards, it is not known for it’s shelling.
Navarre Beach was one of the primary filming locations for Jaws 2 in the fall of 1977. Many of the beachfront scenes and boating scenes were filmed here.
At the time, there was a Holiday Inn “Holidome” on Navarre Beach that was used for staging and headquarters for the production. The hotel was destroyed in hurricane Ivan in 2004 and a new hotel was rebuilt more recently at the same location.
The most famous Cable Junction final scenes of the movie were filmed in the Gulf of Mexico off of Navarre Beach. Cable Junction Island was not an existing place. It was built on a barge in order to get close up scenes of the shark.
Neighboring towns also claim scenes from Jaws 2. Fort Pickens in Pensacola Beach was the location for the lighthouse and killer whale scenes. Amity Town Hall in Pensacola was used for a scene in the movie. Some of the boating scenes were shot from Destin where the Aquanaut is docked in Destin Harbor. Destin was also home to a restaurant scene. And while these neighboring towns were used for scenes in the movie, Navarre Beach was the main location making it Uniquely Navarre.
It has become a joke among those who want to keep Navarre “Florida’s best kept secret”, that the place is loaded with sharks! It’s not. Sharks are rare in the area and the most dangerous great white is extremely rare. Most common are hammerheads and tiger sharks which do not typically attack humans. Sharks in general are common in the coastal waters of Florida and we have an expression that when you are in the water at the beach in Florida, chances are, there is a shark within 20 feet of you. See our Beach Safety Guide here to learn how to be safe in the Florida Coastal Waters. In Santa Rosa County last year, according to the International shark attack file, only one incident of a shark attack was reported.
Scenery, Sunsets and Sunrise
The daytime is absolutely gorgeous with the emerald waters and crystalized white sands, but you can’t miss a sunset on this piece of the Florida Coast. The sunrise and sunsets are magical and showcase a complete different beauty to Navarre Beach.
Where to Stay or Live
When visiting or moving to Navarre Beach, you will find options for both Beachside Gulf front and Sound side homes, condos, town homes, hotels, and beach homes. The area brings visitors and residents who are looking for a relaxed beach town lifestyle. It is also a popular location for those who are looking for their winter home or vacation rental investments.
Visiting Navarre Beach
Navarre Beach offers vacation rentals with beach homes, town homes, condos all along the stretch of commercialized beaches on the Gulf of Mexico and Santa Rosa Sound, and a few hotels and resorts closer to the Pier. Staying or Buying on the Gulf front side of the island is for beach lovers who love to walk, swim, play, fish, shell and enjoy the beachfront. Staying or Buying on the Sound side is for those who love boating and boating activities or just love the view. Either way, the whole island is only a couple blocks wide so the other side is easily accessible.
Click here for our Complete Real Estate and Accommodation Guide to Navarre Beach
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