There are plenty of places in the Florida Panhandle to get your party on during Spring Break. But for those who prefer relaxing over wild, there’s Navarre Beach. Think of our destination as an oasis, where gorgeous natural surroundings, a vast, uncrowded beach, an easygoing pace, and some much-needed peace and quiet can make your Spring Break rejuvenating rather than exhausting.
Relaxing doesn’t have to mean idle, though. Here are a few activities that can add a little laid-back adventure to your Spring Break stay:
Get Out on the Water
The sparkling, blue-green waters of Navarre Beach are a wonderland unto themselves. So get out there! Lazy Lizard Tours offers an array of excursions. Most popular is the two-hour Sunset Tour aboard the Lazy Lizard — a roomy, double-decker pontoon boat — in the calm, protected waters of Santa Rosa Sound. Make sure to point your camera west and collect some amazing sunset shots for your social media feed!
Get Out on the Water and Fish
Capt. Chuck Kemper has traveled the world surfing and tournament fishing. He lived in Maui, Hawaii for 22 years. Chuck brought his knowledge of angling, thirst for adventure and boundless enthusiasm back to his hometown of Navarre and started up Lucky Chucky Charters. He takes parties out on inshore and near-shore excursions, fishing mostly gentle waters for redfish, speckled trout, flounder, sheepshead and other species. Four- and six-hour charters are available, and they include all bait, tackle and licenses. Lucky Chucky launches from two locations in Navarre and two in Gulf Breeze. His charters are ideal for kids, even young ones. He even offers special Kids Trips.
Get Up in the Air
It’s very likely that during your visit here you’ll see plenty of Navarre Beach from ground level, but how does an aerial view strike you? Fly the Boat offers flights on Ultralight aircraft that provide breathtaking, birds-eye views of the grandeur of Navarre Beach, the Gulf and its surroundings. Tours, which rise roughly a thousand feet, can accommodate one to more than four riders. Different options can take you over and around Navarre Beach Pier, out to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and all the way to the Pensacola Pier. Fly the Boat is run by Navarre Family Watersports.
If you want an up-close view of our colorful marine life in their native habitats but aren’t about learning to scuba, snorkeling is the ideal alternative. You can strap on the basic gear and enjoy the view virtually anywhere around Navarre Beach, but the area also offers three amazing near-shore artificial reefs. Each provides a distinct experience, but all are breathtaking. The best place to access all of these sites is from Navarre Beach Marine Park, a county facility that includes restrooms, fresh-water showers, and pavilions. You can snorkel at no cost from sunrise to sunset. Basic snorkel gear can be purchased at a variety of local stores.
Rent Watercraft and Gear
All this watery fun may require you to rent some stuff. Three operators can handle all your needs, from a simple paddleboard to a double-decker pontoon boat. Navarre Family Watersports has the most elaborate list — waverunners, kayaks, pontoon boats, Craigcats, beach gear, and even an inflatable Wibit Waterpark. NFW offers tours as well. Sage Paddle Co., located right on the Gulf side of Navarre Beach, rents kayaks, paddleboards, bikes and has a surf shop. Navarre Beach Ski & Sail, located in the Juana’s Pagodas complex, rents kayaks, paddleboards, Hobie Cat sailboats, waverunners, and 22-foot pontoon boats, plus beach chairs and umbrellas. They’ll also take you parasailing or on a dolphin cruise.
Stretching 1,545 feet over the Gulf of Mexico, the Navarre Beach Pier is the longest pier in Florida, and the longest on the entire Gulf. Amble along the boards of this straight-as-an-arrow structure 30 feet above the water and you’ll take in lovely views: sweeping vistas of the beach and dunes, as well as the vast expanse of the Gulf. You can stop and watch anglers reel in their catch and surfers zig-zag the waves. The water is so clear, you can often see the bottom, and that means getting a look at fish and other marine life. The pier head is a 3,800-square-foot octagon, a good place to sit down and soak in the surroundings. This is an idyllic stroll, sure to relax and refresh you. The Pier is wonderful at sunset (or sunrise, for that matter), and it only costs a dollar for adults, free for children 5 and under. Stop at Windjammers on the Pier for a bite and a drink, and to lounge on the beach if you’re so inclined. A note to joggers — running on the pier is a no-no.
Occupying 50 beautiful acres about seven miles west of the Navarre Beach Causeway, Gulf Breeze Zoo is home to more than 800 animals from around the world. The Zoo has an exciting array of attractions: The Safari Line Limited is a 15-minute train ride that departs every hour) and takes you through a 30-acre preserve for up-close views of rhinoceros, hippos, zebras, gorillas, antelope and other species. There are stations to feed giraffes and American alligators. You can mingle with small, gentle birds called budgies in an enclosed aviary (don’t be surprised when they perch on your hand or head!) At The Farm, you and the kids can feed and pet goats, pigs, sheep, llamas and other familiar animals. The facility also features talks by zookeepers, and you can also pay extra for a private tour (for two to 10 guests) led by an animal-care professional.
Okay, you’ve pampered yourself with a placid, low-key Navarre Beach Spring Break. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to get into a party vibe and catch some live country music. Every spring, Juana’s Pagodas — Navarre Beach’s eating, drinking and entertainment complex — sets up a full concert stage right on the beach. You can catch the show on the sand or from one of Juana’s many decks.