Follow the desires to the tranquil, white-sand coast of Navarre Beach.

By Lissa Harnish Poirot

Navarre Beach has many allures. The miles and miles of sugar-white sand beaches. The caressing, warm, emerald-green waters. The scores of natural trails and bicycle paths to make outdoor living even easier. The family-friendly environment that provides a perfect vacation destination for your brood to return to again and again.

I first discovered the island beach community of Navarre Beach as a relative newlywed, enjoying the quiet beaches and lazy afternoons for the romance they provided. Now I''m a mother, traveling from the big city to the quiet haven of Navarre Beach to give my children a safe and fun place to play reminiscent of the bygone era of my own youth.

Nature at Its Finest

While Florida is filled with amusement parks and attractions to entertain visitors, Navarre Beach provides a place for families to sit back, relax and reconnect in a natural setting centered around miles of undeveloped, gorgeous white-sand beaches free of high rises and crowds.

Follow Highway 98, which winds along the coast, to Navarre, then cross the Santa Rosa Sound to Santa Rosa Island's four-mile Navarre Beach. The biggest draw to Navarre, tucked between a county park and the Gulf Islands National Seashore, is its waters begging to be explored via kayak, canoe and small boat. Landlubbers can see the island by following a paved walking and biking trail. Moms like me can rest assured that young children can safely frolic at "Mom's Beach," a quiet inlet on the sound.

Affordable Attractions

When looking for more adventure than the beach and warm waters, attractions that won't break the bank are just around the bend. Santa Rosa County, an expansive travel destination that reaches from the emerald-blue waters of Navarre Beach, to the tranquil sand-bottom rivers of the Blackwater River State Forest. With so many outdoor activities to choose from, affordable family fun is around every corner.

Navarre brings families closer to even more wildlife at The ZOO – Northwest Florida. Guests can get up close to animals and birds from around the world. Or visit a playground for your own little monkeys at the five-acre Navarre Park, located at the foot of the Navarre toll bridge and providing its own jungle gym playground and splash pad.

Hungry Yet?

Four casual restaurants on the island of Navarre Beach -- Sailor’s Grill at Juana’s Pagodas, Windjammers on the Pier, Brossard’s Bayou Grill, and the Beach House Bar & Grill -- all serve fresh fare, lively entertainment and fantastic views.

Of course, just over the bridge in Navarre are a variety of additional restaurants and grocery stores to feed hungry bellies, as well as a plethora of boutiques, full-service spas to relax the body, and golf courses to improve your game. The Blackwater River State Forest also offers endless trails, tubing and canoeing trips for active travelers.

The family-friendly, charming and natural environment of Navarre Beach will bring your family closer and leave you feeling so relaxed and rejuvenated you may not want to leave!

For official visitor information on Navarre Beach, Blackwater River and Historic Milton Call 1-850-981-8900 and visit