Navarre Journals

Young Family Hits the Beach with Local Relations

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A June 2001 trip to Navarre by Kids-in-Tow

Aquarius Beach House Photo, Navarre, Florida More Photos
Quote: The 2001 trip to the Gulf Coast based in a beach house in out-of-the-way Navarre Beach. Once again, our resident brother made it easy to find the best activities. Our days followed a relaxing pattern of Leisurely Breakfast, Morning Beach Time, Lunch, Cat-Nap, Afternoon Sight-Seeing, Evening Restaurant, Sunset Swim, Visiting.

Young Family Hits the Beach with Local Relations

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Overview

Heavenly Photo, Navarre, Florida
Quote:
Navarre Beach is a wonderful, quiet, un-crowded, family-oriented beach community. It is in the process of more development. Enjoy this piece of Florida-as-it-was while you can. The beach is the cliché for the Florida Panhandle. Cool white sand, clear emerald-to-blue water, gentle surf: a perfect beach for young families. Proximity to Gulf Islands National Seashore means you’ll see more wildlife. The Sunset Swims were heavenly. Bathtub warm water, low tide and gloriously colored skies made for a beautiful ending to every day. This turned out to be a great base for afternoon forays to sites in Pensacola to the west and Fort Walton/Destin to the east. Navarre Beach itself has f...Read More
Quote:
There are many Real Estate/Rental Property Management web sites. There are also many independent homes advertised on the web. I had the good fortune to have a Florida Brother who checked out the houses and made a recommendation. We worked with ERA in Navarre. I like web sites that show bed configuration rather than just a number it sleeps (nobody in our party wanted to sleep on a sofa sleeper, our couples needed a queen not a double, etc.). Their building is at the foot of the Navarre Bridge and their large sign faces west (hard to see when coming from east/Fort Walton area.) The beach house we had was good quality, I assume they have a standard and all their beach houses would be equall...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2001

ERA – Navarre Rental Agency
1804 Prado Street
Navarre Beach, Florida
(850) 939-2020

Aquarius Beach House Photo, Navarre, Florida
Quote:
Our Beach House was the Aquarius from ERA Navarre. There are pictures, floor plans and bed configurations on their website: ERA Navarre It beat our expectations for cleanliness and size. The beds were comfortable. The house is on stilts (see the web site) so it swayed very slightly when the washer or dryer kicked in. Not a problem, less than the rocking of a boat. It had a dishwasher in the fully equipped kitchen! The house is across the road from the gulf, so it did not have a sweeping 180-degree view of the ocean. That would have cost us $1000 more for the week. We could see the gulf through our 30-ft wide beach access, and we had nice...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2001

Aquarius Beach House
7830 Gulf Blvd.
Navarre Beach, Florida

Quote:
Typical Holiday Inn: clean but not out of the ordinary. This is the only hotel on Navarre Beach. All other housing is condos or houses which are typically rented Saturday-to-Saturday. My Florida Brother recommends this hotel and has stayed there. We did not stay there this trip, mainly because their 2 Dbl Full or 1 King bed configuration did not meet out needs. Cots are $10 extra. Also, the rooms do not have refrigerators or microwaves, which would make snacking children between meals more difficult. Kids do eat free at Holiday Inn, but only with an adult meal. The indoor pool is uniquely shaped and is 3 ft at its lowest end. It is not a huge pool, but there is also an...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 29, 2001

The Tropics – Holiday Inn Navarre Beach, FL
8375 Gulf Blvd
Navarre Beach, Florida
1(888) 277-8667

The Palms of Navarre

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Restaurant

Quote:
Open for evening meals only This restaurant does not have a great view of the Gulf, you must overlook the parking lot and some dunes to catch a glimpse of it. The Palms does have an indoor atrium with a goldfish-filled fountain and statuary. The outdoor bar area was comfortable, maybe I’d eat out there instead (I have small, somewhat rowdy kids).The local Chamber of Commerce newsletter was a buzz about the owner’s taking over management of the restaurant starting the spring of 2001. They have apparently brought in a new chef and totally re-done the menu. I cannot tell you about service, as we had carry-out. On this particular evening, the kids preferred hot dogs and the adults pre...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2001

The Palms of Navarre
8649 Gulf Blvd
Navarre Beach, Florida
(850) 939-8777

Quote:
Floribbean cooking in a bar-room atmosphere. They feature Muffaletta sandwiches, spicy crawfish cakes, Gulf seafood, salads, pasta and the usual fried bar grub. They are open at 11:00 am and the atmosphere is young and casual. We got carry-out, so I can’t comment on service. The items we got were nothing to write home about, but pretty adequate when your option is to cook for everyone at the beach house!

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 29, 2001

Barracuda’s Bar and Grill
8469 Gulf Blvd
Navarre Beach, Florida

Cowboy’s Steakhouse

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Restaurant

Quote:
Cowboys Located at the foot of Navarre bridge on the mainland side, not on the island. This restaurant does not take reservations, but you can call ahead to see if there is a long wait or to mention you will have a large party. Excellent Saturday/Sunday morning Country Breakfast Bar made to order omelets and waffles plus western and southern breakfast food selections. Sunday brunch includes everything from the breakfast bar plus soup/salad bar, hand carved roast beef and smoked ham, steamed shrimp and desserts. I recommend this particular meal because it allows you to stroll to the Visitor Information Center and the Nature Walk bef...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2001

Cowboy’s Steakhouse
8673 Navarre Parkway
Navarre Beach, Florida
(850) 939-0502

Quote:
We don’t usually eat in chain or hotel restaurants on vacation because we like to experience the local cuisine. But the Holiday Inn on Navarre Beach puts on quite a seafood buffet on Friday evenings. We had Plain or spicy steamed snow crab, steamed clams and mussels, cold peel-and-eat shrimp, baked cod, fried clam strips, hush puppies, fried popcorn shrimp, clam chowder, shrimp and sausage gumbo, stuffed crab, shrimp Creole on rice, new potatoes, crawfish cakes and a lot of other dishes I can’t remember. Even if none of these items were the "best of this dish I’ve ever eaten", it was an extremely enjoyable way to try many different regional dishes (I know, snow crab is hardly native to the Gulf). ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2001

Navarre Beach Holiday Inn Friday Seafood Buffet
8375 Gulf Blvd
Navarre Beach, Florida
1(888) 277-8667

Biking the Beach

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Attraction | "Navarre Beach, FL"

Biking the Beach Photo, Navarre, Florida
Quote:
This is a wonderful, quiet, un-crowded, family-oriented beach. It is in the process of more development. Enjoy this piece of Florida-as-it-was while you can. On Santa Rosa Island, it has both Gulf of Mexico surf and sound-side calm water. The sound-side is a great place to learn to handle water craft. The sands are white and cooler to the feet. The waters are emerald to blue and nicely warm in the evenings. The beachfront is changed with every tide movement, but is generally safe for adult-supervised younger children. Do pay attention to rip-tide warnings, as there have been 5 drownings of adults on Santa Rosa Island in June 2001. While there are Jetski/WaveRunner/Parasail/Catamaran r...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2001

Biking the Beach
Santa Rosa Island
Navarre Beach, Florida

Biking the Beach

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Attraction

Quote:
A bike trail runs the length of the Navarre Beach community and is used by any non-motorized wheel and pedestrian traffic. Bring the kid’s scooters and rollerblades! Bike rentals are available ($25/week) in Pensacola Beach and Fort Walton Beach but not in Navarre or Navarre Beach. A business opportunity for someone! The bike trail ends at the entrance to Gulf Islands National Seashore (GINS), but you can easily switch to the lightly traveled road. You can then take the Pensacola Beach Bridge to Gulf Breeze and pick up the bike trail on the peninsula back to the Navarre Beach Bridge. This makes a loop of about 40 miles. It is almost all flat, but you have to cross two long bridges ov...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2001

Biking the Beach
Santa Rosa Island
Navarre Beach, Florida

Gulf Breeze Zoo

Attraction | "The Zoo 850-932-2229"

Quote:
We did not visit the zoo on this trip, as my Florida brother said it was too costly. He believed the price of admission was $24 each, and his small family of 3 usually spent around $80 for a visit. While the zoo has many interesting features (see website), the heat of Panhandle summers makes the animals pretty lethargic. The Florida brother recommends this activity for a spring, fall or winter visit. He also hopes they will lower their prices soon to make it affordable for the locals to visit more often.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 29, 2001

Gulf Breeze Zoo
5701 Gulf Breeze Pkwy.
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32563
(850) 932-2229

Nature Walk/Navarre Park

Attraction | "The Nature Walk of Navarre, Butterfly House and Vi"

Quote:
800-480-7263 Free Butterfly House 11-4 daily These attractions are not worth a trip in themselves unless you really like butterflies. But for small children, they offer the perfect place to burn off energy before or after a meal at Cowboy’s Steakhouse or Trader Vic’s. If you make this stop early in your trip, you can also pick up the information you need at the Visitor Information Center (get coupons for Pizza Hut, they’ll deliver to Navarre Beach). Navarre Chamber of Commerce The Nature Walk is made up of shoreline, pond and bog exhibits. The boys were happy to feed the waterfowl and turtles. The Butterfly House was closed when we w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2001

Nature Walk/Navarre Park
Santa Rosa Sound
Navarre, Florida

Gulfarium Marine Park Adventure

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Attraction | "Gulfarium"

Gulfarium Marine Park Adventure Photo, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida
Quote:
This is a nice break from the beach if you haven’t been to Sea World. The Gulfarium is older than that "other" theme park chain, but it doesn’t have the beer bucks behind it. The dolphin and sea lion shows were nice, but not near as expansive or glitzy. The individual shows were shorter, which was an advantage for our young children. They were also able to get close to the animals. A highlight of the 5-year-olds day was getting his picture taken with a sea lion flipper in his lap. There are 4 shows of 20-25 minutes each, run back to back with the cycle repeating. You can cover all the exhibits, shows and gift shops in about 3 hours. The shows are a dolphin show, a ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 2, 2001

Gulfarium Marine Park Adventure
1010 Miracle Strip Parkway SE
Ft. Walton Beach, Florida
(850) 244-5169

What's that noise?

Story/Tip

Quote:
With Pensacola Naval Air Station and Eglin Air Force Base in the area, there is plenty of military activity about. There are streets with names like "Air Commando Blvd". On prior trips, we have watched the Navy’s Blue Angels practice while we were sunbathing on Pensacola Beach. On this trip, we saw at least one military aircraft every day, usually more. Coast Guard helicopters are common during the day. One night, my Florida Brother told us to come for a walk on the bike trail on Navarre Beach. He pointed out a distant "booming" sound. It was followed by a faint but perceptible rat-a-tat-tat. You had to concentrate, but you could hear them. These were the sounds of the night bombing runs ...Read More
Quote:
Use the same runway as the F15s! If you have boys in your crew, this may be the airport for you. As you taxi to and from the terminal, you pass Air Force aircraft and equipment of all kinds. The adult "boys" were more excited than the 5 and 3 year olds. This is a small regional terminal that caters to military personnel and families heading to the beach; it does not have extensive services. There are no bathrooms in the secured area, so pass thru as late as possible if you have small children. Also, we noticed unclaimed luggage was left unattended on the carousel. Be aware that it does not have an Alamo Car Rental, which was offering the cheapest prices when we visited. The ot...Read More

Navarre Beach, FL - Housing

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Story/Tip

Quote:
There is only one hotel at Navarre Beach, a Holiday Inn (see entry). All other housing is condo or beach house. On Navarre Beach, the higher the street number, the closer to the bridge you are. Lower numbers (Under 7300) are quite close to the Gulf Island National Seashore (GINS). Near the bridge connecting Navarre and Navarre Beach (50 cent toll) are the new high-rise condos, equipment rentals and a few restaurants. Farther west from the bridge there are more free-standing beach houses and 3-4 story condos. There is the occasional empty lot, even a few on the gulf. About 3.5 miles from the bridge you enter the GINS, which has no houses/hotels and few public beach access points. This runs fo...Read More
Quote:
NAVAL LIVE OAKS VISITOR CENTER Visitor Center Open All Year varying hours check Gulf Island National Seashore. Location - Gulf Breeze, Florida which is the middle peninsula, not the ocean-most barrier island (Santa Rosa) We didn’t feel the small boys were up to the nature trails this year. On another trip, I want to see the trees that helped build the USS Constitution and other vessels I have toured in other places. The Zoo 5701 Gulf Breeze Pkwy. (Hwy. 98) 20 minutes west of Ft. Walton, FL 1-850-932-2229 The Zoo We will save this for a winter or spring trip...Read More