It doesn’t feel like summer until I’ve been to the beach. On a whim, I booked a three day stay at a condo and invited friends to join us in Navarre Beach, Florida which is tucked away between Pensacola and Destin, some of the best gulf coast beaches.
Navarre is a laid back stretch of fine white sand and dunes beside the clearest emerald green waters I’ve ever seen. Standing in the salty Gulf of Mexico, the water was as transparent as a swimming pool tinged a pale celery green. The deeper the water became, the darker its hue.
WHAT TO DO
- Swim in the Gulf of Mexico. Beach umbrellas and lounging chairs can be rented for $25 per day.
- The longest fishing pier in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico was an easy walk from our condo. At the 1545 foot Navarre Beach Fishing Pier, visitors pay $1 each to walk the pier and $7 to fish. Strolling along the huge structure, we stopped to chat with anglers of all ages. One fellow pulled in a remora fish, also known as a suckerfish or sharksucker that hitches a ride on sharks, other large marine animals and ships. Measuring nearly two feet, the dark gray fish had an oval sucking disk on top of his head. The fisherman explained this to a small fascinated crowd of spectators. One little boy, who was brave enough to touch the fish said, it felt “sticky and slimy.”
- On weekends live music plays at the Pier Restaurant next door while serving $2 beers.
- Just over the Navarre Bridge, Juana’s Pagoda and Sailor Grill sits beside the Santa Rosa Sound. Look for the thatched roofs. Inside, you’ll find a a restaurant, a bar with live music, and a bakery selling homemade breads, sticky buns, key lime cookies, and pies by the slice from 8 am till around 9 pm daily.
- Rent a bike and explore the 8-mile long Gulf Islands National Seashore. The protected area has tall dunes and nesting sea turtles.
- Get a bird’s eye view of Navarre aboard a helicopter. Destin Helicopter Rides is located at Navarre Watersports. Call (850) 939.9923 for details.
WHERE TO EAT
Having a condo, made breakfast easy. Our gang enjoyed dining out for dinner and indulged in oysters at Stinky’s Fish Camp, fish tacos at Cactus Flower Cafe, and blackened fish sandwiches at TC’s Front Porch.
WHERE TO STAY
The view from our 13th floor balcony at the Beach Colony West was perfect. All the units in the complex had large, circular balconies. Inside our 1700 square foot condo were three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a fully stocked kitchen, a washer and dryer, and a separate dining area. One bathroom was wheelchair-accessible with a roll-in shower. Other amenities included: two flat screen televisions, access to the largest swimming pool in Navarre, and an on-property fitness center.
Couples or multiple families willing to share the space might find condos are an affordable alternative to a hotel. Contact Gulf Blue Vacations for information. Rates vary by season. For example, our condo rents for $2,420 per week in July. Wait until September 15 and the weekly rate is half that amount. Taxes and cleaning fees are additional.
For assistance planning your trip to Navarre Beach, visit http://www.floridabeachestorivers.com/ .