Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Navarre Beach, FL

  • Published 2023/05/25

As a resident of the sleepy little town of Navarre in Florida, I can tell you that our main attraction is the beautiful Navarre Beach.

It’s been gradually gaining popularity, with more and more tourists visiting the place each year.

Nestled in Northwest Florida on Santa Rosa Island, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, Navarre Beach is characterized by clear turquoise water, clean powdery white sand, and a simplicity that is hard to find in today’s time.

It’s a joy for sun-seekers, nature lovers, adventurers, and water sports enthusiasts like myself.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the best things to do in Navarre beach, Florida:

Interact with Sea Animals at Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center

I recently visited the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Cente and had a fantastic time learning about their mission to conserve and preserve endangered sea turtles and other marine resources.

The center offers various programs and hands-on learning experiences, making it an excellent place for both fun and education.

During my visit, I had the chance to interact with marine species that are not usually seen in traditional zoos.

I was particularly excited to see Sweet Pea, a green sea turtle, and the residential ambassador of the Center.

Besides Sweet Pea, I also enjoyed observing Grumpy the Lionfish, the Jellyfish Aquarium, the Seahorse habitat, and the Artificial Reef Aquarium.

The NBSTCC also features engaging activities for kids, like Scavenger Hunts and Shark Tooth Treasure hunts.

My children absolutely loved participating in these activities and learned a lot in the process.

After exploring the center, I stopped by their Seamore store, where I found a great assortment of books on sea turtles and marine conservation.

I was happy to shop with a purpose and show my support for their exemplary mission.

The center is a nice local stop if you’re at the beach or by the fishing pier, and it’s a great way to mix in a little education for the family while supporting a good cause.

It’s small and very simple, but it’s perfect for kids to see some human compassion and learn about these amazing creatures.

Plus, turtles are cool!

The outside area had a couple of tortoises for us to check out and watch while we waited to enter.

Once inside, we were able to see a rescue sea turtle swim laps while hearing about sea turtles, local hatchings, and the center’s cause.

The small educational area with graphics and local aquatic life in tanks was also very informative.

See the Marine Ecosystems at the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station

Navarre Beach Marine Science Station was founded by some marine science students to educate the community and visitors about marine species and the ecosystems supporting them.

As a local, I found it to be a great place to learn about the local marine life and species.

During my visit, I participated in programs on sea turtles and Gulf artificial reefs.

The interactive and educational activities offered there were not only enjoyable for me but also for the kids who were present.

The center makes learning about fascinating marine science easy and fun.

I also discovered that Navarre Beach Marine Science Station hosts summer camps, birthdays, and guided beach tours.

The amenities provided were top-notch, making the experience even more enjoyable.

Visit and Relax at Navarre Beach

Shoreline of Navarre Beach

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When at Navarre Beach, I love to simply soak in the sun at Navarre Beach itself.

With its pristine white shore and clear Gulf water, the beach makes for a beautiful sight.

I often don my beachwear, take my beach sports equipment, and head towards the Navarre beach.

I am also allowed to carry my food and drinks, which makes it even more enjoyable.

I usually find myself in a good spot, get comfortable and enjoy a day under the sky.

Sometimes, I simply unwind or engage in beach sports.

As the beach is not crowded, I can often find an entire stretch of beach waiting, all for me!

Beach lounge chairs at Navarre Beach

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I have fallen in love with the exquisite Navarre Beach, and I believe it is aptly said that Navarre Beach is Florida’s best-kept secret!

Navarre is indeed “Florida’s Most Relaxing Place”!

While I don’t especially enjoy the sand, I do find looking at this beach to be very relaxing, maybe because it is not at all crowded!

The beach is different in comparison to the West Coast beaches I’m familiar with!

The sand is like white, and the water is an inviting emerald green color, which is apropos as it is part of the Emerald Coast!

Fishing at Navarre Beach

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Enjoy a Walk at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier

Navarre Beach Fishing Pier

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If you are at Navarre Beach, visiting Navarre Beach Fishing Pier is a must.

I love taking leisurely strolls at the longest pier in Florida.

The best part is that the walking fee is only $1 per person.

Due to the clear water, I often see dolphins, turtles, rays, and other fishes.

Fishing is one of my favorite activities at the pier, and I’ve had great success catching a variety of fish, including Spanish mackerel, cobia, jack, and pompano.

Sun shining brightly over the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier

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At night, there are volunteers with a group called True Blue who tag sharks for research.

I haven’t stayed long enough to watch, but they have tagged over 295,000 sharks, including 15 ft great whites!

At the start of the pier, there’s a little gift shop with gear and drinks/snacks, and a fun bar and restaurant.

I’ve enjoyed grabbing a mixed drink there and have always been pleasantly surprised by the prices.

Surfing is another popular activity at the pier, and I’ve had some great sessions there.

The brilliant sunset view from the pier is something I never get tired of – I’ve taken countless beautiful pictures over the years.

Aerial view of Navarre Beach Fishing Pier

Navarre Fl Drone Pilot /

Have Fun at Navarre Family Watersports and Mini Golf

If you are vacationing on a beach, you may engage in some form of watersports and other outdoor activities.

The Navarre Family Watersports and Mini Golf is the perfect place for you.

As a local, I can tell you that this is the place where my entire family loves to spend a day full of exciting watersports.

We have rented a wide gamut of things here – Jetski/Waverunner, pontoon, Slingshot, kayak, and stand-up paddleboards.

This full-service watersports establishment also offers 18 holes of miniature golf, seaplane intro flights, and a floating waterpark.

With so much in store, fun and excitement never stops at the Navarre Family Watersports and Mini Golf.

I remember trying out the water park with my family.

It’s super neat and a must-try for anyone visiting the area.

The water was at different levels in different areas, with the deepest being in the back, where the slide and diving area is.

There are also slides for smaller ones in a more shallow area.

The slipping, sliding, and falling made for some good laughs.

Enjoy Diving and Snorkeling at Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary

If you want to spot reefs and enjoy snorkeling in Navarre, visit the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary.

It consists of three different artificial reef areas.

They are located offshore of Navarre Beach Marine Park – two of them at Santa Rosa Sound and one in the Gulf of Mexico.

While I don’t especially enjoy the sand, I did find looking at this beach to be very relaxing, maybe because it was not at all crowded!

The beach is different in comparison to the West Coast beaches I’m familiar with!

The sand is like white, and the water is an inviting emerald green color, which is apropos as it is part of the Emerald Coast!

Buy Locally Sourced Seafood at Navarre Seafood Market

At Navarre Seafood Market, which is just down the road from me, you can truly indulge in some of the finest seafood around.

I often find myself picking up fresh, locally sourced shrimp, fish, crab, oysters, crawfish, and more from their broad selection.

But the market isn’t just a place to buy seafood – you can also have your pick of the catch steamed to perfection right there.

This ‘fresh-steamed seafood to-go service is a hit with everyone who visits, myself included.

And what’s a seafood feast without some delicious accompaniments?

The market also offers an exclusive selection of local dips and desserts to pair with your steamed goodies.

Trust me; you’ve got to try their tuna dip, cocktail sauce, and homemade Key Lime Pie – they’re absolutely irresistible and crowd-pleasers for sure.

The cherry on top? This seafood heaven is open seven days a week, so you can get your seafood fixed whenever you like.

As a local, I feel really lucky to have such a fantastic market so close by.

Enjoy Horse Riding at Bay Haven Farms

Enjoy horse riding in a safe and friendly environment at Bay Haven Farms.

This cute little farm is perfect for everyone – from a novice to a pro.

I was looking for something enjoyable, apart from the existing common activities in Navarre, and I’m so glad I decided to check in to Bay Haven Farms.

It’s a clean facility, and they do a lot of activities for the kids.

After my visit to Bay Haven Farms, I also checked out Pinspiration, a Pinterest-inspired craft studio located in Pensacola.

I had a great time making some of the most popular DIY projects and personalizing them on the spot.

They offer kids’ birthday and adults’ party packages, and their studio hosts Paint and Sip events.

See the Colorful Butterflies at Panhandle Butterfly House

For a simple and relaxing time amidst nature, visit the Panhandle Butterfly House.

This place is home to native species of Florida butterflies, and it’s always a treat to see them up close.

The beautiful butterflies soar through the open exhibit of the facility, sitting atop a variety of colorful plants and flowers and feeding on them.

It’s such a peaceful and calming experience.

One of my favorite things to do here is to watch the caterpillars moving here and there on their journey from squishy little larvae to enchanting butterflies.

I also appreciate the fact that the Panhandle Butterfly House is a non-profit organization, and they rely on donations to keep the facility running.

It’s great to know that my visits are supporting a good cause, and I always make sure to leave a donation when I stop by.

Grab Some Craft Beers at St. Michael’s Brewing Company

Looking for some handcrafted beer after a full day of activities?

The St.Michaels’s Brewing Company might just be the perfect place for you.

Located in the heart of Navarre, the craft beers they offer are loved by locals like me and visitors alike.

I often go to the taproom, sit back, relax and enjoy sampling beers from their extensive selection.

They also have an extensive and nice beer garden with a friendly atmosphere.

I love to sit outside and enjoy the breezy weather while enjoying a pint or two of their handcrafted beers.

The beers over there are named in honor of our local heroes, defense personnel, and protectors.

The place also has wine and cider in store for you.

Shop at Salt Water Cottage

As a resident here, I have a real soft spot for the Salt Water Cottage.

This delightful little shop is a treasure trove, stocked with everything from local art and gifts to gourmet food, jewelry, books, and home decor.

It holds a special place in the heart of Navarre, being the oldest and only original cottage that still stands in our town.

The moment you see the cozy, inviting exterior, you can’t help but be drawn in.

And as you step through the front door, you’re immediately greeted by an abundance of books – a reader’s paradise.

But it’s not just the items on sale that make this place special; the owner herself is a warm and welcoming person, making every visit to the cottage feel like coming home.

And for the eco-conscious, there’s an impressive selection of items crafted from recycled materials – everything from rugs and baskets to towels.

I love the fact that the shop places a strong emphasis on selling locally made goods, supporting our local artisans and community.

The Salt Water Cottage truly embodies the spirit of Navarre.

Dine at Slippery Mermaid Sushi Bar

The Slippery Mermaid Sushi Bar is my go-to casual place to enjoy delicious sushi in Navarre.

The dishes at the bar are unique, with some creative spin to the basic sushi.

However, the menu is not limited to sushi.

If you’re someone who is not fond of raw fish, you can try their veggie sushi rolls or sushi rolls made with cooked seafood.

The bar also offers non-seafood rolls like grilled chicken and seared steak.

The Psycho Mermaid is their bestselling sushi roll, and I can’t recommend it enough.

The other favorites are The Tropical Mermaid, The Sassy Mermaid, and The Land and Sea.

As a meat lover, I can vouch for the Merman Roll and the Stealer Pleaser.

They never fail to please my palate.

The vibrant and creative interior adds to the charm of the place, and I always enjoy outdoor dining on the lovely patio.

Shop at Farm to Table NWF – Navarre Farmer’s Market

If you’re a food lover like me and value locally sourced produce, there’s no better way to spend a Saturday morning than at Farm to Table NWF – Navarre Farmer’s Market.

This vibrant marketplace is one of Navarre beach’s gems, offering an array of products from our local producers.

You’ll find everything from fresh fruits and veggies, to homemade jams and butter, to artisanal baked goods – there’s a little something for everyone.

And the offerings don’t stop at food – you can also pick up locally sourced meats, eggs, and even some treats for your furry friends!

Shopping at the market truly encapsulates the small-town charm of Navarre.

I love the sense of community here; it’s friendly and close-knit, with everyone dedicated to showcasing the very best that Navarre and its surrounding farms have to offer.

What’s more, every purchase you make contributes to the success of our local artisans and community, helping us all to thrive.

It’s a delightful, meaningful experience that makes me proud to call Navarre home.

Book a Day of Fun Water Expeditions at Sage Paddle Company

Sage Paddle Company was established to provide customers with expeditions, events, and memories that can only be experienced while paddling.

Established over six years ago, Sage Paddle Company has grown into new areas and merchandise, becoming the biggest independent rental business in the region with more than 150 rental units.

Whenever I have friends or family visiting, I always take them to check out the available rentals and interesting sights, such as the paddle boards, kayaks, bikes, scooters, and Sages Snack Shack.

We always have a blast discovering the oceans and participating in different water sports.

The people at Sage Paddle Company are always so friendly and knowledgeable about the Santa Rosa Sound and the Gulf.

They offer reasonable prices, making it easy for us to enjoy a day out on the water without breaking the bank.

One of my favorite memories with Sage Paddle Company was when my family and I rented scooters and traveled to Pensacola for lunch and shopping at the pier.

The scenic route through the sand dunes offered the most beautiful views of the ocean, and the salty air hitting our cheeks and tangling our hair only added to the experience.

Order a Drink or Two at the Grey Taproom

Visit The Grey Taproom, Navarre Beach’s preferred Craft Beer & Wine Bar.

The Grey Taproom is unique to this neighborhood and offers an industrial environment with a contemporary touch.

As a beer lover, I’m always impressed by their great selection of 30+ drafts.

They also have a full bar and wine selection, which is perfect for when I want to switch things up.

The inside of The Grey Taproom is very clean, but sometimes it can be a little too chilly for my liking.

Thankfully, they have outdoor seating, which is perfect for enjoying the great vibe and reasonably priced drinks.

In addition to their vast choice of bottled and canned beers, outstanding wines from around the globe, and various excellent cigars, The Grey Taproom is filled with summer hues and even provides apparel items to keep!

Experience a Sunset Cruise with Coastal Life Charters & Adventures

Are you looking for a boat trip, dolphin trip, sunset cruise, or fishing charter?

Coastal Life Charters & Adventures offers family-friendly fishing excursions, which also feature a comfortable boat with an enclosed bathroom and a plethora of information.

All excursions include ice, quality rods, reels, bait, equipment, and licenses for you and your group.

All kinds of anglers are welcome since the only prerequisite is a desire to have fun.

Book a trip with Coastal Life Charters & Adventures if you are interested in fishing, observing dolphins, dipping in emerald seas, watching the Blue Angels train, going on an adventure to Crab Island, or experiencing a sunset cruise!

Spend a Relaxing Overnight Stay at Navarre Beach Camping Resort

The best-kept vacation gem in Northwest Florida is Navarre Beach Camping Resort.

I absolutely love the stunning, untouched white sand beaches and green water.

In just five minutes, I can drive to the Gulf Beaches or take advantage of the private beach on the Santa Rosa Sound.

Navarre Beach Camping Resort offers waterfront campsites on Santa Rosa Sound, a pier, heated swimming pool, hot tub, beach, roomy pull-thru sites with patios, 50-amp service, cable Television, protected paved roads, spotlessly clean facilities, and a restricted entrance gate.

Plus, they now rent out kayaks and paddleboards!

I recently stayed in cabin A15, and it was perfect for a quick getaway.

The cabin was an adorable tiny home with a queen bed, a small dining table, a kitchenette (mini fridge, microwave, and sink); and a single-person shower and toilet behind a pocket door.

There was also a small corner nook to hang clothes and a fairly sizable (for the size of the structure) screened-in front porch with a picnic table-esque seating area to spend some time out in the fresh air.

It was very basic and very simple, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Taste Fresh Seafood at Scooter’s Fish House

Scooter’s Fish House is a modest fish restaurant delivering excellent services for dine-in and takeout in the center of Navarre, Florida.

I often dine here or get it to go, and it’s always the most reasonably priced and fresh available local seafood.

It ranks as one of the top eateries in Navarre and serves the greatest seafood.

I take pleasure in their delectable dishes that entice me and my companions to return for more.

All the seafood is locally sourced and fresh, and all dressings and sides are homemade.

The fish is caught directly from the boats in Destin and the nearby places.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore the Gulf Breeze Zoo

Giraffe at Gulf Breeze Zoo

JKalinowski /

As a resident here, one of my favorite ways to spend quality time with my kids is by taking them to the Gulf Breeze Zoo.

This place is a wild adventure sprawling across 50 acres, and it’s just a short 10-minute drive from Navarre – perfect for animal enthusiasts like us.

Once you step inside, there’s an overwhelming amount of activities to engage in.

The zoo is home to a variety of magnificent creatures like giraffes, gorillas, hippos, orangutans, and rhinos, each of them sure to capture your fascination.

You can choose your own adventure when it comes to experiencing these animals.

Take a leisurely stroll through the park, observing the animals in their habitats.

Alternatively, enjoy a bird’s eye view from the elevated boardwalk or hop on the safari express train ride for a unique perspective.

Alligator at Gulf Breeze Zoo

JKalinowski /

And if you want to get even closer, there are unique animal encounters and visits to their farm for a more interactive experience.

One of the things my kids love most is the chance to feed the animals.

You can purchase food for them and the budgies at the gift shop, which makes for a truly personal connection with these incredible creatures.

To sum it up, Gulf Breeze Zoo offers an unparalleled opportunity to get up close and personal with a diverse range of animals.

It’s a must-visit for any Navarre local or visitor.

Final Thoughts

As a local, I’ve come to appreciate the countless activities in Navarre that celebrate our region’s stunning natural beauty and unique wildlife.

Most of the fun happens right on our beach, where you can spend your days swimming, unwinding, fishing, or snorkeling.

But the adventure isn’t limited to the shoreline.

Just a short distance from the beach, on the mainland accessible via a charming bridge, there are family-friendly spots like our local zoo and Blackwater River State Park.

These places offer excellent day trip opportunities that everyone can enjoy.

So, if you’re planning a trip, I’d recommend considering these highlights as part of your itinerary.

They’re truly some of the best things you can experience in Navarre Beach.

Trust me, as a resident, you’re in for a real treat!

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