Home » Travel » North America » United States » 17 Best Things to Do in Navarre Beach

17 Best Things to Do in Navarre Beach

Navarre Beach sunset

This post may include affiliate links: if you make a purchase, we may receive a commission, at no cost for you. Learn more.

Looking for the best things to do in Navarre Beach? Then you’re in the right place. In this guide we are going to talk in detail about what to do in Florida’s most relaxing place.

You’ll find Florida’s best-kept secret on a barrier island in the Northwest Florida Panhandle in Santa Rosa County.

In particular, you’ll find Navarre Beach, Florida, 25 miles east of neighboring Pensacola and 15 miles west of Fort Walton Beach.

Navarre is an island in the Gulf of Mexico between the Navarre Beach Marine Park and Gulf Islands National Seashore.

If you’re flying in to visit, the closest airports are in Fort Walton and Pensacola. If you prefer a road trip, it’s conveniently located via US Route 98 and State Road 87. 

Photo by Crystal Jackson

What is Navarre Beach Known For?

Navarre Beach, Florida — Photo by Crystal Jackson
Navarre Beach, Florida — Photo by Crystal Jackson

Navarre Beach is known for clear emerald swimming waters and white sand beaches. It’s also known for being the filming location for Jaws 2 in 1977. Don’t let that alarm you.

The film was meant to be a horror movie and not a documentary about the risk of sharks in the water. Remember that they live in the ocean, and be respectful of sharks and other marine life. 

Navarre Beach made recent headlines when beachgoers filmed a large shark swimming in the water off the pier.

While that might make you hesitant about visiting Navarre, no swimmers were harmed during the infamous sighting.

Keep in mind that the Florida panhandle is home to sharks, alligators, and other wildlife often minding their own business.

I visited Navarre Beach the week after the shark sighting and swam in the ocean near the pier. No sharks were sighted on my visit, and the biggest threat to safety was incoming storms that week. 

What is the Best Month to Go to Navarre Beach?

Navarre Beach — Photo by Crystal Jackson

If you want to go to Navarre Beach when there are less tourists to share the beach, you’ll want to plan your visit for Spring or Fall.

April and May see less tourists than the summer months with more temperate weather for visitors. September through November also offers milder weather and fewer crowds.

While you’re visiting the beach, you can expect frequent thunderstorms. If you happen to visit at that time, take care to plan your activities around the weather and stay clear of the beaches and water if lightning is seen in the area. 

If you do choose to visit in the summer, you’ll want to make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen and SPF rash guards.

Make sure your sunscreen is reef-safe and won’t harm the oceans or local wildlife. While many products claim the reef-safe designation, many of them are misleading.

Use the app Yuka to verify the safety of your skincare products for the beach. 

Is Navarre Beach Expensive?

Navarre Beach can be an expensive vacation destination depending on where you live. Flights to Navarre Beach could incur a higher cost than a road trip.

Champion Traveler reports that hotels range in price from $85 to $385 per night with vacation rentals pricing at an average of $260 to $640 per night for a private home.

Restaurant costs and entertainment are yet another expense to be factored into your trip. 

For budget travelers, you might want to consider low-cost options on your visit.

The beach is free to park and visit, and you can visit one of the many local grocery stores to find low-cost breakfast and lunch options you can take with you to the beach. With some advanced planning, a trip to Navarre Beach doesn’t have to break the bank. 

17 Best Things to Do in Navarre Beach, Florida

Navarre Beach, Florida at sunset  — Photo by Crystal Jackson
Navarre Beach, Florida — Photo by Crystal Jackson

I’ve recently returned from a visit to Navarre Beach and can highly recommend it as a vacation destination.

I’ll share some of my favorite things to do in Navarre Beach and also share some of the local recommendations for your stay. Your vacation can be as relaxed or as busy as you choose. Here’s what you can do on a visit to Navarre Beach, Florida:

1. Stop for Iced Coffee at Deb’s

Stop in to Deb’s Coffee Drive-Thru to get some iced coffee before you start your day. As the sign at Deb’s declares, Life’s too short to drink bad coffee!

I opted for a Salty Dog latte containing dark chocolate, caramel, and toffee. There are even espresso-free frappes and smoothie options for the whole family.

Military and first responders can get 10% off their order at Deb’s. 

2. Have a Breakfast Burrito at Shark Bite Navarre

If you’re looking for breakfast options before you head to the beach, consider Shark Bite Navarre.

Enjoy a hearty breakfast burrito, a favorite among locals. If you’re on a plant-based or gluten-free diet, you might want to opt for nearby Juana’s Pagodas & Sailors’ Grill.

Breakfast options include a veggie omelet, pancakes, French toast, and more.

3. Walk the Navarre Beach Pier

Navarre Beach Pier — Photo by Crystal Jackson

Once you’re fueled up with your beverage of choice and breakfast, you might want to consider walking Navarre Beach Pier.

It’s $1 per person to walk the pier, but it offers some of the best local views. Don’t worry: you won’t need cash. You can pay by cash or card in the gift shop beside the Pier.

You can walk the 1,545-foot-long pier, or you can rent a fishing pole for up to $7, which includes your local fishing license. If you’re staying for a week, you can pay a weekly pass to walk or fish the pier. 

4. Spend a Day at Navarre Beach

blue tent on the beach
Navarre Beach — Photo by Crystal Jackson

My favorite thing to do at Navarre Beach is to do nothing more than spend the day oceanside.

I brought our tent, a cooler, plenty of sunscreen and water, and everything else needed for a full day at the beach. The beach offers much to do.

Swim in the crystal-clear water, walk along the soft, white sandy beaches, or even try your hand at building a sandcastle.

If you’d rather have a more active adventure, you can rent paddleboards or kayaks to explore the waters off Navarre Beach. Just remember to apply and reapply your reef-safe sunscreen at regular intervals. 

5. Visit the Navarre Park Splash Pad and Playground

Navarre Park Splash Pad and Playground — Photo by Crystal Jackson
Navarre Park Splash Pad and Playground — Photo by Crystal Jackson
Navarre Park Splash Pad and Playground — Photo by Crystal Jackson
Navarre Park Splash Pad and Playground — Photo by Crystal Jackson

One of the best things to do in Navarre Beach for families is to visit the Navarre Park Splash Pad and Playground.

You’ll see it empty after-hours in the photos above, but we came back the next day to find it filled with families having the best time.

The splash pad is free, and restrooms are located between the splash pad and playground during open park hours.

This is a great place to cool off and allow little ones to run off their energy on a trip to Navarre. Plus, it has spectacular views everyone can enjoy.

The splash pad is open from May 2nd until September 30th each year. 

6. Have Lunch at The Slippery Mermaid

My favorite meal of this trip was easily the one I had from The Slippery Mermaid Sushi Bar. My favorite sushi roll was the Psycho Mermaid, although I also enjoyed the Rainbow Mermaid.

Happily, The Slippery Mermaid offers dine-in, takeout, and delivery options. It would be a shame to come all the way to Navarre and not try out some of the local dining establishments.

Even if you aren’t a seafood lover, you’ll find that there’s something for everyone at the many local eateries in Navarre. 

7. Enjoy Ice Cream and Take a Selfie at The Twist

Another local favorite in Navarre is The Twist, a custom ice cream shop you don’t want to miss! You can get soft-serve or scooped ice cream at affordable prices.

There are even options for ice cream sundaes, banana splits, and brownie sundaes.

The menu changes daily, so you’ll have the opportunity to try more flavors if you make multiple visits on your trip.

Don’t forget to take a photo at the selfie wall before you go and tag them on Facebook or Instagram. While the lines can be long at times, the wait is definitely worth it! 

8. Tour Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center

Navarre Beach Sand Dunes — Photo by Crystal Jackson

Nature lovers and fans of sea turtles will want to make time to visit the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Navarre Beach.

Admission to the center is $5 with discounts for military, first responders, and seniors. Children under 2 are free.

Parking is free, and there are several exhibits for visitors to enjoy. Check out Sweet Pea, the Center’s resident sea turtle.

Stop by the Jellyfish Corner and Seagrasse Exhibit. Learn about tortoises, terrapins, and sea turtles and don’t bypass the Salt Marsh Life Exhibit to learn about the Diamondback Terrapins.

There’s an exhibit on invasive Lionfish and an artificial reef room. Family activities include a Shark Tooth Treasure Hunt, scavenger hunts, and Seamore’s Gift Shop.

There’s even a Marine Debris Recycling Corner. 

9. Visit the Gulf Breeze Zoo

If you’re traveling with family or simply love animals, you’ll want to stop and visit the Gulf Breeze Zoo.

You’ll be able to check out the animal exhibits, feed some of the animals, visit the Gulf Breeze Farm, a Safari Express train ride, and even enjoy a little gem mining.

Some of the animals you’ll see at the zoo include giraffes, gorillas, hippos, orangutans, and rhinos.

Military and law enforcement receive a 15% discount on ticket prices with valid identification.

10. Snorkel the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary

Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary — Photo by Crystal Jackson
Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary — Photo by Crystal Jackson

While you’re visiting Navarre, you can visit the artificial reefs in Santa Rosa Sound and in the Gulf of Mexico at Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary.

Snorkeling programs allow visitors to learn about the reefs and to view local marine life.

If scuba diving or snorkeling isn’t for you, you can also opt for a clear bottom kayak tour starting at $25 per person. Snorkeling reefs are free of charge for visitors. 

11. Go on a Dolphin Tour at Coastal Life Charters and Adventures

If you love dolphins, you’ll want to take a dolphin tour at Coastal Life Charters and Adventures.

For added adventure, you can even combine another activity when planning your day. Coastal Life also offers combination packages, which include the following: 

  • Family-Style Fishing Adventure
  • Dolphin Tour & Fishing Combo
  • Fishing, Dolphin Tour, & Shelling Combo
  • Fishing, Dolphin Tour, & Sunset Cruise
  • Blue Angels Cruise & Fishing Combo
  • Sunset Cruise & Fishing Charter Combo
  • Dolphin Cruise & Swimming Combo
  • Dolphin Tour, Swimming, & Island Adventure
  • Sunset Cruise

Depending on your budget and interests, you can charter a boat for the adventure of your choice.

You can bring your own food and drinks aboard the vessel, and all fishing excursions come with a fishing license, rods, reels, bait, tackle, and ice. 

12. Test Your Skills at the Navarre Family Watersports Water Park

Navarre Family Watersports Water Park — Photo by Crystal Jackson

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous and athletic, you might opt for an adventure at Navarre Family Watersports Water Park.

The inflatable obstacle course might look easy, but my group tapped out 30 minutes into a two-hour adventure. Children and adults found the course fun but challenging.

If that sounds like an adventure for you, give it a try. While some of the area is shallow, life jackets are available for guests to navigate the deeper waters of the course. 

13. Hike or Cycle the Florida National Scenic Trail

The Florida National Scenic Trail, also known as the Florida Trail (FT), runs through Navarre. You can hike or cycle the trail for a more adventurous vacation in the area.

There’s a paved path that stretches between Navarre Beach and Pensacola. You can bring your own bike or rent a bike in Navarre.

You can even elect to rent an electric bike for your tour of the trail. 

14. Enjoy a Day in the Bay at Live Oaks Naval Youth Campground

Live Oaks Naval Campground in Navarre — Photo by Crystal Jackson

While visiting Navarre, don’t overlook the benefits of a day by the bay at Live Oaks Naval Campground.

Groups can reserve a pavillion, and it’s the perfect place to have a picnic. The waters are calm, and you’ll be able to hike, fish, swim, or snorkel.

There were even children sledding down a sandy hill into the bay. While I didn’t dare attempt this, it looked like a lot of fun.

Bring your own boat, jet ski, paddle board, or kayak to enjoy the day at the campground. You’ll find public restrooms, a grill, a campfire circle, and more near the pavillion.

15. View Jaws 2 Beachside

If you’re lucky, you might even find a seaside viewing of Jaws 2. There was one happening while I was visiting.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend since Jaws 2 isn’t exactly an ideal film for young, impressionable travelers.

However, if you get the chance to watch it beachside, I highly recommend it. Even if it’s not playing locally, you can always enjoy visiting some of the iconic filming locations in Navarre Beach.

16. Rent Jet Skis at Navarre Beach Marine Adventures

Another option for adventurous beachgoers is to rent a jet ski at Navarre Beach Marine Adventures.

Jet ski rental rates start at $80 per hour with half and full-day rental options available. You have to be at least 21 to rent a jet ski and riders cannot be younger than 8 years old. 

17. Rent a Glow Paddle Night Kayak at Navarre Family Watersports

Visit Navarre Family Watersports to rent a glow paddle night kayak. Children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult, and the minimum weight limit for participants is 30 pounds.

Children ages 10 to 17 can rent a solo kayak with parent permission. Glow kayaks are $59 per kayak for a 45-minute guided tour. Life vests are provided. 

Best Safety Tips for Your Visit

When traveling to the beach, there are some important safety tips to keep in mind. These tips can help you enjoy your trip and reduce your risk of incident or injury.

Take note of the following.

Beach warning flags

Know the meaning of beach warning flags and heed them. Red flags are warnings of high hazard conditions at the beach.

Yellow flags warn of medium hazard conditions with moderate surf and currents. If you see green flags, these indicate calm conditions with low hazards. You’ll also see a blue flag to warn of dangerous marine life spotted near the beach. 

Image credits: Get Relaxing

Other important things to keep in mind

  • Bring SPF 50–100 for kids at the beach to protect their skin from the intense summer sun. Adults should wear a minimum of 30 SPF. Rash guards are also recommended. Reapply sunscreen frequently. Make sure your sunscreen is rated as reef safe to protect the natural habitats you’re visiting. 
  • Don’t leave children unattended at the beach or in the water. Supervise them even if lifeguards are present.
  • If caught in a rip tide, do not fight against it. Swim parallel to the shore until the current runs out.
  • Avoid swimming at dawn, dusk, and nightfall as these are times that sharks are most active in the water. 
  • Yell and wave your arms if you’re in danger of drowning. Try to float until help arrives.
  • Dress children in brightly colored swim clothes to make them easier to see in the water. Avoid blues and other colors that could blend with the water. 
  • Never swim alone.
  • Never dive into unfamiliar waters.
  • Leave the beach if there’s a thunderstorm. Take cover immediately.
  • Make sure to keep toys and inflatables away from the water to avoid polluting the ocean and losing your beach items. 
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Remember that alcohol and swimming don’t mix. 
  • Protect your eyes with sunglasses. 
  • Don’t forget to use SPF protection on your lips to prevent them from being sunburned.
  • If someone appears to be drowning, throw them something inflatable and call a lifeguard or 9–1–1.
  • Avoid getting overheated, and never leave anyone unattended in a hot car.

A trip to Navarre Beach can be fun, but you’ll want to make sure that you take precautions to minimize risk. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

While you’ll want to avoid the dangers posed by nature, you’ll also want to use your regular safety practices to avoid human dangers as well.

Visiting Navarre Beach 

Photo by Crystal Jackson

If I’m entirely honest, I normally wouldn’t have found myself at a beach in Florida during the sweltering month of July.

However, a family reunion was a great excuse to hit the beach. Even though the temperatures were high and storms frequent, I had a wonderful time. 

My best advice for a trip to Navarre Beach? Keep it simple. Play on the beach. Swim in the ocean.

Enjoy trying out different scoops of ice cream at The Twist. Relish the simple pleasures, and don’t think you have to spend every waking moment chasing adventure. Relax, and enjoy this beautiful coastal town. 

Make time for coffee and a breakfast burrito, but don’t think you have to eat out for every meal.

Packing picnic lunches and planning for a dinner out (or vice versa) can save money and help avoid the cumbersome task of packing up for the beach multiple times in a single day.

You can enjoy a fairly simple getaway to the coast that can be relaxing, affordable, and fun. 

Recommended reads

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *