Navarre is Paradise in the Florida Panhandle

Navarre, Florida is located on the Gulf Coast (Gulf of Mexico) in the Florida Panhandle.  It can be found on Highway 98 about 25 miles east of Pensacola, Florida and 15 miles west of Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.  Navarre is a town that was founded in 1850 and it has more than 40,000 residents who are mostly military personnel and their families, defense contractors, and retirees.  It is the largest town or city by population that you will find between Pensacola and Tallahassee, Florida.  Navarre and the Florida Panhandle Beaches are an easy day drive from Atlanta, Georgia, Birmingham, Alabama, and many other cities in the southeastern United States.

Upon arriving to Navarre, Florida we decided to stay at the Best Western Navarre Hotel.  This hotel offers large clean rooms with amenities including a refrigerator, microwave, iron and ironing board among other amenities. This hotel also offers a complimentary breakfast.  The hotel is not on the beach but it is a waterfront hotel. Below is a view from our room as we woke up to see the sunrise.

Navarre Sunrise

The beach is less than a five-minute drive across the bridge that is located close by.  Below you will see the bridge that was taken from a Nature Park located 1/4 mile from the hotel.

Navarre Beach

The drive across the bridge offers a breath-taking view of the water.  Driving along the beach access road you will discover beachfront houses, some condominiums, and beachfront resorts.  Upon our arrival we found parking to be very easy to find and there was no charge to park our car.  Navarre Beach is very secluded compared to beaches found in the Florida metropolitan cities of Fort Lauderdale, Miami, or Daytona Beach.  Please note that Navarre Beach is not a tacky tourist beach with gift shops or stores so make sure to pack a cooler with drinks and snacks and bring your own towels or beach chairs to relax on.  There are about six restaurants on Navarre Beach and although we did not dine at any of them we were told they are excellent.

After a short stay on Navarre Beach we took a drive over to Pensacola Beach to meet some family members.  The drive westbound along Highway 98 takes you through many small towns and cities.  After about 20 miles and 25 minutes of driving we found the street sign directing us to turn towards the beach and then crossed the bridge ($1 toll) and arrived. We noticed a lively atmosphere with several locals and tourists alike taking in the cooler weather on a sunny October day.  Again there was plenty of free parking.  This area offers several local restaurants, hotels, and gift shops.  Pensacola Beach even has an area known as the Pensacola Beach Dog Park where people can bring their dog and enjoy beach time with their beloved pets.  Dogs are only allowed in this section of the beach that is clearly marked with signs. Bags are provided to clean up any messes Fido might make.  Beware that a $250 fine will be levied if Fido leaves the Dog Park section of the beach.  We met our family at the Dog Park as they brought their dog named Wrangler.  We noticed about 10 dogs on the beach.  All of the dogs were very playful and well-mannered.  It was fun watching the dogs interact with each other.  We found Pensacola Beach to be quite enjoyable with the softest sand we have felt between our toes anywhere.  The sounds of the waves rolling in from the Gulf, the whitest sand we had ever seen, and the natural surroundings made Pensacola Beach a delightful location to relax and enjoy the day.  As you can see from the picture below Pensacola Beach offers enjoyment for not only adults but for kids and even dogs too.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

After leaving the beach we decided to stop for dinner.  Navarre, Florida offers some excellent non-chain restaurants.  Below you will find a picture of Vinnie R’s.  It is an Italian restaurant that provides delicious food and excellent service at great prices. Some of our favorite choices include the Chicken Parmesan and the Homemade Meat Lasagna. Our family members had the Build Your Own Pasta which they enjoyed very much. Vinnie R’s even has a children’s Menu available.

VinnieR's

We also want to share with you an excellent restaurant recommended by the hotel named the East Bay Crab House.  They are open for dinner only beginning at 5 p.m.  Upon arrival we were met by the owner who greeted us with a friendly hello and a shake of our hands.  He then took us to our table.  The server provided excellent service as she offered meal suggestions and visited the table quite often.  The food did not disappoint as the seafood was fresh and delicious. During our meal the owner stopped by our table to ensure everything was to our liking.  As we were leaving he was there again holding the door open for us, asking how our dining experience was, and inviting us to return.  We highly recommend visiting here for dinner if your time allows.

The Panhandle of Florida offers many cities and towns to explore.  If you are looking for a vacation destination that will offer you the beauty of the beach, friendly locals, excellent restaurants and a small town feel than Navarre is definitely the place for you.

Thank you for traveling with us.  We hope you enjoyed our visit to Navarre, Florida.

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