VIBE: Relaxed Beach, Family Friendly
Gulf Blvd, Navarre, FL 32566
November is a great month to visit Navarre Beach, which is named among the best in the nation, year after year. Bring the family (or your sweetheart) to 12 miles of pristine white shoreline near Pensacola, Florida before winter hits. There's lots to do!
The Perfect Family Getaway: Navarre Beach Vacation
Our youngest son attended college at University of West Florida in Pensacola so we got to visit the beaches of Santa Rosa County in the Florida Panhandle. Navarre is east of Pensacola and is a rapidly growing community. It's a beautiful beach with lots of nearby activities in the surrounding area. It's a great combination of fun for families. November is cooler in the Panhandle at night, but the Gulf of Mexico is still warm enough for comfortable swimming. Summer crowds typically thin out at this time.
Navarre Beach Sand
Wow, Destin and Santa Rosa County beaches have sand like snow! This shiny, bright white quartz sand is soft and thick. It's so thick it "squeaks" when you walk on it. The sand will be warm on your feet and the last thing on your mind will be winter, even in November. The sand dunes and grasses are well preserved which contributes to the snowy appearance of Navarre Beach sand. If you love the white sand on Siesta Key Beach, this will meet your approval. You will likely find less crowds here in November due to the cooler nights. For conditions at the beach, check out this link that offers a beach cam and lifeguard locations map.
Navarre Beach Water
What can we add to describe the incredible emerald color of the Gulf of Mexico at Navarre Beach? Navarre Beach is one of the nicest beaches in this area. The water is very clear and you can see right down to your feet. Like other Gulf beaches, it is pretty shallow but there is a bit of a drop-off into the water. The clarity and warmth is the reason the film "Jaws 2" was filmed here from August 1, until December 22, 1977. Unfortunately, the famous Holiday Inn the cast and crew stayed at has disappeared, along with the mechanical shark (and the 1977 prices).
Navarre Beach Parking and Amenities
You will find an abundance of free parking for Navarre Beach...but it fills up fast! There are quite a few access points along Gulf Blvd, as well as close to the pier but expect the traffic to be slow. Like every other place in Florida, tourism and new residents have tripled since the pandemic. Navarre Beach is a small community and traffic is a problem that is being looked into. No dogs are allowed on the beach or the pier. Outdoor showers, pavilions and bathrooms are handy. There is a playground nearby at Sound Side Park. Beach rentals and food are available. Camping and RV sites are located before you cross the causeway to the beach. We ate at Juana's Pagodas and Sailors' Grill near the causeway, enjoying the Blackened Mahi Green Salad and Guacamole Bacon Burger.
Navarre Beach Activities
Nearby is the Gulf Islands National Seashore which is the longest stretch of federally protected seashore in the United States. The beauty of this area is unsurpassed, in our opinion. The Seashore is about 10 miles west of Navarre Beach. It offers recreational activities including snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, boating, fishing, wildlife viewing, biking, camping, fort tours, and more. Your family will be busy all day! Three parks in Florida area available for exploration:
Navarre Beach Fishing Pier
If you love fishing, you will love this pier at 8579 Gulf Blvd. However, you might not have a chance to cast a line with all the wildlife sightings. Dolphins, sea turtles, pelicans, stingrays and large groups of jellyfish. You might even see a hammerhead shark. It's a magical view for only a dollar when walking on (fishing has a separate fee). Billed as the longest pier in Florida it has its own restaurant, Windjammers On The Pier. It is fully accessible.
Gulf Breeze Zoo
At TruckThatBeach.com we love a good Florida zoo like Gatorland in Orlando! Walk through the park on the boardwalk or take their train. Hippos, giraffe, orangutan, gorillas and rhinos are featured animals at this Navarre zoo. They even have an aviary with budgies. Dedicated to conservation, your family will enjoy various animal encounters and events on 50 acres at Gulf Breeze Zoo.
Uncle Sandy's Macaw Park
This exotic bird rescue organization is a budget-friendly activity. The entrance fee is only $5 for adults and $2 for children. They provide a "forever home" for unwanted birds so you will be supporting a good cause. Walk in the aviary to see the birds flying around while learning all there is to know about parrots. There are peacocks too. If smaller kids are a little intimidated by these larger birds, then you might want to consider a museum.
National Naval Aviation Museum
Although you need ID to visit this active military base, it's worth it. Virtual experiences, the Blue Angels 4D experience and aircraft galleries will delight every age. There is a small cafe inside the museum although we had trouble validating its hours due to broken links. After you leave the museum there are restaurants on Florida 292, about 10 minutes drive.
Look Out! This Could Happen...
One of the reasons we recommend a November visit to Navarre Beach is to avoid the summer crowds. Summer crowds can mean a 2-3 hour drive to the beach. Navarre Beach is accessed by a single bridge that is one lane in each direction. In summer, which is high season in the Florida Panhandle, this can result in a crawl. Doing this with children in the back seat of the car is torture. November usually is a little less crowded since the kids are back at school. Getting onto Gulf Blvd. using the Pensacola Beach bridge means you have to pay a toll. It's just not easy getting onto any Florida island during the busy season. Securing accommodation directly on the beach will make your stay less stressful. The summer months also bring hurricane threats, June grass in the water and sometimes black algae.
What We Really Think About Navarre Beach
The Emerald Coast is not it's official name, but the stretch of beaches from Panama City Beach to Destin Beach and Pensacola Beach are among the most stunning in Florida. This is one of those beachfront areas that literally can take your breath away. Unlike Siesta Key and other Gulf Coast beaches, there are times you can surf because there can be waves here. In fact, surfing is better in winter here when there are north winds. If you enjoy cool nights and don't need really hot water in the Gulf of Mexico, November is the perfect month for your visit.
Navarre Beach Summary
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Susan and Bruno are travel bloggers specializing in Florida beaches on every coast. Take a road trip or plan a Florida vacation.