Navarre is a beach community in the Florida Panhandle, located between Pensacola, Milton, and Destin. It has won numerous awards for its beaches, and provides easy access to areas for boating, swimming, hiking, fishing, and camping.
Native Americans inhabited the East Bay River area until 1693 when the Spanish explorers reached the shoreline. They named the city "El Robledal" or "The Oak Grove" and mapped the area during the 1693 expedition. Local government was set up by 1700, and the Axelson family established a homestead by 1850. The family became prosperous toward the end of the Civil War due to their pro-Union stance, and the peninsula was used by Union troops to raid nearby Confederate stronghold Gulf Breeze. The town came to be known as Eagan (after Pensacola postmaster John Eagan) and was home to forty families.
Following World War I, US Army Colonel Guy Wyman bought the land upon which Navarre now stands, but sold it during the Great Depression and became an engineer, although the name his adopted child Noelle assigned to the area stuck.
The town was small until 1970, when it had merely 1,500 inhabitants, before growing to 40,000 by 2020. It is inhabited by U.S. military personnel (due to the nearby two naval air stations and two air force installations) and civilians who come for the beaches and protected areas. Jaws 2 was filmed in the city.
It is part of the Pensacola metropolitan area and the Fort Walton Beach-Navarre Urbanized Area.
While Navarre does not have a commercially served airport, it is easily accessed by 1 Pensacola International Airport (around a 45-minute drive away), and the smaller, Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (which is around a hour drive away). Both are considered regional hubs and are relatively well served, Pensacola Airport having 19 destinations and Fort Walton Beach-Destin Airport being a focus city for Allegiant (however, many of the flights into Fort Walton Beach are only seasonal).
Navarre can be reached by car by several routes. If coming from Pensacola, Naval Air Station Pensacola, or Gulf Breeze, you may use eastbound US Highway 98 on the Fairpoint Peninsula, Santa Rosa County Road 399 beginning in Midway, or Florida Road 399 on Santa Rosa Island (a scenic route going through Pensacola Beach, Opal Beach, and Navarre Beach). Florida State Road 399 has a toll at Pensacola Beach. If coming from Interstate 10 or Milton, you would primarily take Florida Road 87 southbound. If coming from Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City Beach, Eglin Air Force Base, or Hurlburt Field, you would primarily take US Highway 98 westbound.
Navarre and Navarre Beach must be primarily traversed with the use of private car. Taxis are available by telephone call or prior reservation online. Ubers and Lyft rideshares are limitedly available; and due to their limited availability, their cost is often times at a premium.
Navarre Beach can be accessed by the Navarre Beach Causeway. The Causeway begins at the intersection of US Highway 98 and Florida State Road 399 in Navarre's Downtown area.
Navarre Beach does not yet offer public transit. The best option is to bring or rent a private car; however, Navarre is serviced by most car-sharing services, and also by taxis, but they are more expensive than those that you might find in urban, large cities.
Navarre Beach, with its distinctive emerald green water, earning it the nickname of the Emerald Coast. This is the narrow strip of land in the sea across the causeway. Navarre's enormous stretch of beach is spectacular, with some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world. See the 'Do' section and 'Beaches' sub-section for the most prominent beach access points.
- 1 (first left after crossing the Navarre Beach Causeway from the mainland). The quieter area of the beach; preferred beach by the locals. Two beach access points (with a third being built for summer 2019) with bathrooms, picnic pavilions, wash-off showers, and a lifeguard post that is manned during the peak season. Should you wish to use the beach pavillons, they can be reserved at the County administration's website.
- 2 , 8638 Blue Heron Court (inside Navarre Beach Marine Park), ☏ . A marine science center and conservation station; often has events and marine science camps for the general public, check schedule on their website for specifics.
- 3 . A small park at the mainland shore, just west of the causeway. The park has playgrounds, picnic tables, a basketball court, pavilions and a splash pad. The visitor information center is in the park as well, and the Navarre Beach sign is at the junction of Navarre Parkway and the Causeway.
- 4 , 8513 Navarre Pkwy (within Navarre Park). A memorial to the 2015 crash of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, which crashed within the Santa Rosa Sound (between the mainland of Navarre and the beach), as well as a memorial to all of those who have lost their lives in service to the United States and its allies.
Navarre is famous for its sugar white sand beach and emerald green water. There are over a dozen public beaches with parking boardwalks across the dunes. There are also three beach access areas, with bathrooms, parking, and pavilions for picnics and events, in the Navarre Beach Marine Park (see above section), which is located immediately to your left after crossing the Navarre Beach Causeway.
The main beach access points are:
- 1 Opal Beach (Gulf Islands National Seashore; Opal Beach) (between the main areas of Pensacola and Navarre Beach). A typically quiet area of the beach; part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore; location of the landfall of its namesake, Hurricane Opal.
- 2 (cross Navarre Beach Causeway, continue straight, parking lot for beach will be directly in front of you). This is the main beach access point, often the busiest during the summer months.
- 3 Mom's Beach (Soundside Beach at Navarre Beach Marine Park) (enter the Navarre Beach Marine Park, turn left at first left, and proceed forward to parking lot). A quiet beach with calmer waters; popular with families, kayakers, and canoers; avoid visiting directly after heavy rains, due to potentially hazardous conditions.
Golfers will enjoy the area championship courses, Hidden Creek is the only one fully included within the Navarre city limits.
- 4 The Club at Hidden Creek, 3070 P.G.A. Blvd (off County Road 399, in the Hidden Creek neighborhood). +1 850-939 4604. Open to the public. 18 holes.
- 5 Tiger Point Golf Club, 1255 Country Club Dr., Gulf Breeze (less than 15 minutes west of Navarre), ☏ . Open to the public. 18 holes. Golf lessons available.
The Navarre area is home to a number of regionally and nationally famous zoos, aquariums, and birdwatching sites.
Zoos and aquariumsEdit
- 6 Gulf Breeze Zoo (Navarre Zoo), 5701 Gulf Breeze Pkwy, Gulf Breeze (Travel west on US 98 for ~10 minutes, the zoo will be on the south side of the road), ☏ , toll-free: . Mar-Sep: 9AM - 5PM; Oct-Feb: 9AM - 4PM. 50-acre zoo. Under 2 free, youth (2-12) $20, adult $26, senior (65+) $24, 15% discount for military and law enforcement.
- 7 , 8740 Gulf Blvd (at the entrance to the Navarre Beach Marine Park), ☏ . Tu-Sa 10AM-2PM. A sea turtle and sealife conservation center within the Navarre Beach Marine Park; check schedule for hours and public events. Under 2 free; adult $5; senior (65+) $4.
Though there are no trail riding providers in the area, there are number of regionally renowned horseback riding teachers and facilities that call the area home.
- 8 Bay Haven Farms, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Bay Haven Farms is by appointment only, and they require that you call to schedule beforehand, and they will give you directions on the phone.
The Navarre area is home or has access to a great number of areas, marinas, portages, and rentals for boating.
- 9 , 1451 Navarre Beach Blvd (next to Juana's Pagodas and Sailor's Grill, across the street from the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier.). Open 24/7. Provides boating access to Santa Rosa Sound.
- 10 Woodlawn Beach Boat Ramp, 1422 Woodlawn Beach Rd (travel west on US 98, turn left unto Woodlawn Beach Road, proceed to end of road). Open 24/7. Provides boating access to Santa Rosa Sound.
- 11 East Bay River Boat Ramp, 2939 FL-87 (entrance to access road north of the East Bay River Bridge on Florida Highway 87). Open 24/7. Popular boat and kayak launch for access to East Bay, East Bay River, and Arachno Creek.
Navarre is home to a number of souvenir shops and markets, all in addition to having two Walmart stores (one being a neighborhood store, the other a superstore; and there's also another superstore about 20 minutes west of Navarre), a Winn-Dixie supermarket, and a Publix supermarket.
- 1 Seashell City, 8771 Navarre Pkwy (Diagonally opposite from Taco Bell on 98), ☏ . Daily 10AM-7PM. A souvenir store selling things to remember the beach by.
- 2 Island Style, 8715 Ortega Park Dr (just east of Navarre Beach Causeway, on northside of 98), ☏ . A popular souvenir shop directly in the middle of Downtown.
- 3 Sand Dollar Cottage, 1900 FL-87 #I (on FL-87, just a mile north of 98), ☏ . M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-3PM. Artists' cooperative and gift shop, mostly paintings for sale.
- 4 Where Y’At Seafood Market, 9575 Navarre Pkwy, ☏ . W-M 11AM-7PM. They regularly have in stock Pensacola Bay oysters, gulf oysters, gulf shrimp, Royal Red Shrimp, Blue Crabs, King Crab, Snow Crab, Dungeness Crab, frog legs, soft-shell crabs, turtle, alligator, crawfish tail meat and Cajun meats.
- 5 , 8104 Navarre Pkwy (northside of US 98, a five-minute drive west from Navarre Beach Causeway), ☏ . Daily 10AM-5PM. Seafood market just slightly west of downtown.
Navarre is home to a wide variety of independent restaurants, as well as the majority of the regional and national fast foods chains (specifically: McDonald's, Domino's, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Culvers, Taco Bells, Jersey Mikes', Hungry Howie's, Subway, Firehouse Subs, KFC, and Whataburger). The majority are in downtown, and are less than a five-minute drive from the gulf-side beaches. There are few chain, sit-down restaurants, mainly including the regional chain of Shrimp Basket. Nearly all restaurants are primarily casual, with the notable exception of the Beach House Bar and Grill. (See 'Splurge' sub-section below).
- 1 Tops Burgers (Top's Choice Hamburgers of Navarre), 8072 Navarre Pkwy (westerly on US 98, near Navarre Station Post Office), ☏ , email@example.com. M–Sa 10AM–9PM, Su 11AM–6PM. A location of a small local chain of hamburger restaurants, Top's has some of the best burgers in Navarre, and is a popular little known restaurant with the locals.
- 2 Peking House, 8224 Navarre Pkwy (at the Shops of Navarre plaza in Downtown, adjacent to Publix), ☏ . Su Tu–Th 11AM–9PM, F Sa 11AM–9:30PM (closed Mondays). Takeout Chinese food. Chow mein, anyone?
- 3 J.J. Chago's, 8476 Navarre Pkwy (just east of the intersection of US 98 and FL Highway 87), ☏ . M–F 6AM–1PM, Sa 8AM–1PM (closed Sundays). A local cafe that's apparently a local favorite. Who doesn't like a Cuban or Mexican breakfast, after all?
- 4 The Copper Bull (Copper Bull Bar and Grill), 7279 Navarre Pkwy (towards west end of Navarre, across from West-Navarre Primary School; cattycorner to Walmart Neighborhood Market of Navarre), ☏ . M–Th noon–8PM, F Sa 11AM–8PM (closed Sundays). A small local hamburger restaurant with a twist: all burgers are handcrafted and custom-made.
- 5 Johnny Huston's Grille & Bar, 7634 Navarre Pkwy (near the east entrance to Holley by the Sea on 98), ☏ . Daily 11AM-10PM (Sa to 11PM). A popular sports bar with tasty food and a family-friendly atmosphere.
- 6 Sailor's Grill and Bakery (Juana's Pagodas), 1451 Navarre Beach Causeway (on the island, to your right almost directly after crossing causeway), ☏ . Daily 8AM–9PM. Best sticky buns you can get on the gulf coast. Good omelets, good pizza.
- 7 TC's Front Porch, 8552 Navarre Pkwy (at the base of the Navarre beach bridge, north side of 98), ☏ . Su-Th 7AM–9:30PM, F Sa 7AM-10PM. Open air restaurant with a selection of po'boys and various fried seafood platters. Very popular with locals and tourists alike.
- 8 Stripes Pub and Grill, 1878 Andorra St (western building of the Public complex), ☏ . Tu-Th Su 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight. A military-themed sports bar, with traditional pub fare featuring wings, burgers, and nachos.
- 9 Scooter's Fish House, 1968 Highway 87 (on 87, just north of 98), ☏ . Daily 11AM–9PM. Popular seafood restaurant. Rated as the best restaurant in Navarre on Trip Advisor.
- 10 Ye Olde Brothers Brewery, 4458 FL-87 (travel north on FL Hwy 87; restaurant will be one of the last buildings before entering Eglin AFB, which is identifiable by the large expanse of woodlands), ☏ . M–Th 11AM–9PM, F 11AM-10PM, Sa 9AM–10PM, Su: 9AM–9PM, brunch Sa Su until noon. A craft brewery and restaurant that focuses on serving fine foods, wine, and craft beer in a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere.
- 11 Samurai Japanese Steak House and Sushi, 8780 Navarre Pkwy (on north side of US 98; 2- to 3-minute drive from the Navarre Beach Causeway), ☏ . Su M-Th 11AM-9:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-10:30PM. Popular sushi and steakhouse, only a few minutes from the beach.
- 12 East Bay Crab House, 9250 Navarre Pkwy (on northside of US 98, about 2 miles east of Navarre Beach Causeway), ☏ . Th-Tu 5-9PM. Homespun location with quaint feel turning out Cajun-influenced seafood dishes & American classics. The oldest family-owned restaurant in Navarre
- 13 Alphy's Catfish House, 1900 FL-87 A (on right side of FL 87, almost as soon as you get on the road), ☏ . Daily 6:30AM-1PM. Homey seafood specialist serves simply prepared fish & breakfast some days in nautical digs.
- 14 Slippery Mermaid (on Highway 98 next to the Sea shell store), ☏ . Su-W 11AM-8PM, Th-Sa 11AM-9PM. Sushi restaurant.
- 15 Beach House Bar and Grill, 8375 Gulf Blvd (next to the Springhill Suites on Navarre Beach), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Su 10AM–2PM, 4–10PM, M-Sa 11AM–10PM. Waterfront upscale restaurant. One of the few true upscale restaurants in Navarre. Uses local ingredients and delicacies. Known for having a good selection of cocktails, see the below, 'drink' section, for further details Lunch mains $14-21, dinner mains $20-55.
- 1 Juana's Pagodas, 1451 Navarre Beach Causeway (immediately to your right after crossing the Navarre Beach Causeway), ☏ . Daily 8AM–9PM.
- 2 Beach House Bar and Grill (Navarre Beachhouse Bar and Grill), 8375 Gulf Blvd (next to the Springhill Suites on Navarre Beach), ☏ , email@example.com. Daily 7AM-9PM. Waterfront upscale bar and restaurant. One of the few true upscale restaurants in Navarre. Known for having a good selection of cocktails. From $10.
- 3 Johnny Houston's (near the east entrance to Holley by the Sea on 98). A popular sports bar with tasty food (see 'eat' section) and a family-friendly atmosphere.
- 4 The Grey Taproom, 7622 Navarre Pkwy (from the Navarre Beach Causeway, head west on 98 for around two miles, on the right, beside Johnny Houston's). A wine and beer taproom next to a popular sports bar.
- 5 Ye Olde Brothers Brewery, 4458 FL-87 (travel north on FL Hwy 87; restaurant will be one of the last buildings before entering Eglin AFB, which is identifiable by the large expanse of woodlands), ☏ . Ye Olde Brothers Brewery is Navarre's only craft brewery, serving a variety of wine, beer, and other liquors, while still holding a family-friendly atmosphere (see the above 'eat' section for details of the restaurant portion of this establishment).
- 1 , 8577 Gulf Boulevard, ☏ , toll-free: . Has a variety of beachfront accommodations including private homes, condos, and town homes.
- 2 Hampton Inn and Suites, 7710 Navarre Pkwy (towards the western area of the Navarre area, adjacent to the Holly By The Sea neighborhood), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. A mid-sized hotel with free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, and a fitness room. Breakfast and free parking are also included, as well as pet-friendly rooms.
- 3 , 8697 Navarre Pkwy (on US-98), ☏ , toll-free: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. A traditional laid-back waterfront hotel with several of Navarre's important beaches nearby.
- 4 Springhill Inn and Suites by Marriot, 8375 Gulf Blvd (on the beach; when coming from Navarre Beach Causeway: turn right, and proceed 1/2 mile, hotel is on left; hotel is on the Gulf of Mexico), ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon.
Beaches are a popular draw for visitors, but it is important to stay safe throughout your stay.
Lifeguards are the best way to stay safe on the beach. They primarily operate on the gulf side inside the Marine Park section of the gulf beach. Their operating times vary by season. Navarre Beach Lifeguards are operated by Navarre Beach Fire Rescue, one of the two fire departments in Navarre. If an emergency happens on the beach where there are no lifeguards, call 911 for help.
Rip tides are powerful currents that occur when water trapped near the shoreline escapes back into the ocean through a break in an underwater sandbar. They can drag even powerful swimmers out to sea for a very long distance. To escape a rip tide, do not panic! If you are near a lifeguard station, you can wave your arms and shout for help. Wait until the rip tide is no longer carrying you out further from land, then swim parallel to the shoreline to escape the current. Then, you can swim back towards shore. To avoid rip tides, don't swim between the shoreline and underwater sand bars, don't swim during low tide, and pay attention to the color-coded flags.
At all lifeguard stations, color-coded flags are flown that tell how safe the water is for swimming. If no flags are flying, then there are no lifeguards on that section of the beach.
Sunburn and dehydration are the most common ailments at the beach. Although it's tempting to skip the sunscreen, even if you have tanned skin, it's a bad idea in Florida summer. The white sand that draws visitors here also reflects the UV rays from the sun, and unprotected skin will burn quickly. Bring plenty of fresh water or hydrating beverages to the beach and wear a high-SPF, waterproof sunscreen. Sunglasses and hats are a good item to bring along, when the bright sun gets to be too much.
Being at the Gulf coast, Navarre can get hit by hurricanes during the North Atlantic hurricane season (summer and fall).
- Milton, known as the Kayak Capital of Florida, Milton is home of Coldwater Creek and the Blackwater River, beautiful kayaking/canoeing rivers. In addition, Milton is home to several adventure outfitters, who provide zip-line, backpacking, and tubing services for the forests and rivers of central and north Santa Rosa County.
- Ft. Pickens, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, is a nature preserve and a civil war-era fort and museum. Activities include fishing, camping, historical research, and tours. A 7-day pass is $8, and covers a private vehicle and all passengers. It's located on the far west end of Santa Rosa Island, about 45 minutes west on Highway 98, then take the CR-399 bridge south at Gulf Breeze, then follow CR-399 right.
- Panama City Beach is an area more targeted to the younger crowd. It is a popular spring break destination. Head east on Highway 98 about an hour.
- Gulf Breeze is a smaller town to the west of Navarre, and provides bridge access to Pensacola Beach
|Routes through Navarre|
|Pensacola ← Gulf Breeze ←||W E||→ Fort Walton Beach → Lakeland|
|Gulf Breeze ← Pensacola Beach ←||W E||→ END|
|Dixonville ← Milton ←||N S||→ END|