Navarre has everything you’d expect from a Florida beach vacation… except the huge crowds. Visitors to this Panhandle Paradise rave about its powdery white sands, emerald-tinted water, and plenty of personal space. Although Navarre might not be a household name, it’s certainly worth investigating if you’re interested in a secluded Sunshine State sojourn.
The star attractions in Navarre, obviously, are the beautiful beach and pier. In-between sunbathing sessions, however, you’ll find plenty of fun attractions around town. Check out our list of the top 7 things to do on your trip to Navarre:
- Navarre Beach & Pier
- Gulf Breeze Zoo
- Navarre Sea Turtles Conservation Center
- Ye Olde Brothers Brewery
- Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary
- Navarre Beach Marine Science Center
- Take a Dolphin Sightseeing Tour
Interested in staying in Navarre on your trip to the Florida Panhandle? If so, keep reading to find out more about getting the most out of your Navarre Beach vacation.
Why You Should Visit Navarre, Florida
Navarre’s best feature is its relative solitude. Unlike other Florida beaches, Navarre remains somewhat of a local secret. Don’t get us wrong, this stretch of sand can get crowded at times (especially the summer), but it’s nowhere near as busy as nearby Destin or award-winning Clearwater.
This “hidden gem” quality makes Navarre a perfect destination for romantic couples in the mood for a relaxing beach vacation. You might not find a strong tourist infrastructure here, but you also won’t be bombarded with tacky commercialization.
If you ever tire of the charms of Navarre, however, there are plenty of more touristy-beaches just a short drive away. For instance, Navarre vacationers are only a 40-minute drive from either Pensacola or Destin and a 1-hour drive from Mobile, Alabama.
7 Awesome Things To Do In Navarre, Florida
Navarre may not be as touristy as other Florida beaches, but it has its fair share of attractions. Below, we’ll give you a rundown of our suggestions for the top 7 things to do in Navarre, Florida.
1. Navarre Beach & Pier
Stretching for roughly 12 miles, Navarre Beach has the sugar-white sands and emerald waters stereotypical of the Florida Panhandle. Along with soaking up the sun, popular activities in Navarre Beach include picnicking, horseback riding, paddleboard yoga, and fishing.
Speaking of fishing, there’s no better place in the Panhandle to cast your line than on Navarre Beach’s 1,500-plus foot pier. Even if you’re not a fishing enthusiast, plan on taking a stroll along this impressive pier to enjoy the views at sunset.
2. Gulf Breeze Zoo
Located a 15-minute drive west of the Navarre Beach Pier, Gulf Breeze Zoo is 50-acres of family-friendly fun. Popular activities on property include feeding giraffes, petting farm animals, and taking a scenic safari train ride. Oh yeah, and since this is a Florida zoo, you’d better believe there are plenty of alligators roaming about.
Daily operating hours vary depending on the season, but usually, the Gulf Breeze Zoo is open between 9 AM – 4 PM. General admission tickets cost $18.95 per adult and $14.95 per child but check the Gulf Breeze Zoo’s website for info on discounts.
3. Navarre Sea Turtle Conservation Center
Founded in 2013, the non-profit Navarre Sea Turtle Conservation Center is on a mission to take the sea turtle off the endangered species list. To achieve this goal, marine biologists regularly hold educational tours where guests could see what it takes to rehabilitate a sea turtle. Visiting this center is a fantastic way to introduce children to the importance of recycling and conservation.
The Turtle Conservation Center usually open between 12:00 PM – 4 PM Tuesdays through Saturdays. Tickets cost $5 per person, but military and senior discounts apply. For more details, visit the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center’s webpage.
4. Ye Olde Brothers Brewery
If you’re in the mood for comfort food and craft beer, then you should pay Navarre’s Ye Olde Brothers Brewery a visit. Only a 15-minute drive north of the Navarre Beach Pier, this cozy brewpub is best known for its local brews, brick-oven pizzas, and smoked entrées. Ye Olde Brothers also regularly hold fantastic live events, so be sure to check out their online calendar before stopping in.
Ye Olde Brothers Brewery is usually open between 11 AM – 9 PM, but hours are subject to change. Check out Ye Olde Brother Brewery’s website to better plan your feasting.
5. Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary
Not far from the coast of the Navarre Beach Marine Park, the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary is an artificially created reef ideal for first-time snorkelers. Organizers involved in this project used a collection of eco-friendly discs to encourage the growth of diverse ecosystems.
Anyone interested in snorkeling around this sanctuary should look for the big PVC pipes on the shore indicating its location. For more detailed information, check out the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary’s website.
6. Navarre Beach Marine Science Center
Thanks to considerable efforts from local marine biologists, Navarre Beach now has its own Marine Science Center not far from the Navarre Beach Pier. Although somewhat small, this center works hard to educate visitors of all ages about the uniqueness of Florida’s marine life with regular demonstrations, exhibits, and activities.
This science center doesn’t have formal visiting hours, but it often hosts events open to the public. Be sure to look through the Navarre Beach Science Center’s calendar before visiting.
7. Take a Dolphin Sightseeing Tour
Drawn to the warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, dolphins are a regular sight by Northwestern Florida’s beaches. Believe it or not, you have a pretty good chance of seeing and even interacting with dolphins by Navarre at any time of the year.
For the best chance of seeing loads of dolphins, consider visiting during the summer mating season. If you’re not having any luck on Navarre Beach, don’t be discouraged! There are plenty of other dolphin viewing opportunities in nearby beaches like Miramar and Destin.
For specific names of highly-rated dolphin sightseeing tours around Navarre, definitely check out this list compiled on Yelp.com.
Where To Stay In Navarre, Florida
Since Navarre Beach isn’t as built-up as other Florida beaches, you won’t find as great a hotel selection as in bigger cities. On the plus side, most of the hotels here have rooms at extremely reasonable prices compared with Destin or Pensacola. Here are a few highly rated Navarre hotels worth looking into.
Springhill Suites by Marriott Navarre Beach
Located directly on Navarre Beach’s coast, Springhill Suites offers guests stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and is just a short walk from the Navarre Beach Pier. On top of its stellar location, guests who stay at this two-star hotel enjoy continental breakfast, access to a pool, and free parking.
Hampton Inn & Suites Navarre
While the Hampton Inn & Suites isn’t located on Navarre Beach, it’s an affordable option that’s within a 10-minute drive of the pier. People who stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites will enjoy free breakfast, a fitness center, pool access, and complimentary WiFi.