SANTA ROSA COUNTY TOURISM UPDATE

Date: June 29, 2020

Santa Rosa County continues to stay open and welcome visitors to our unspoiled, uncrowded beaches and charming towns. We do understand that there is a level of uncertainty surrounding travel at this time. The health and safety of our residents and visitors is our top priority and the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Office is working with public health officials to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and guidelines with regard to COVID-19.

Your health and safety is our top priority and the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Office is working with public health officials to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and guidelines with regard to COVID-19. We cannot wait to welcome you back to Florida’s most relaxing destination.

Santa Rosa County is taking steps to mitigate the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus in line with the most up-to-date Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) standards and guidelines. Please see the full list below of openings and protocols with regard to our beaches, parks, restaurants and more. 

Please note: The Navarre Beach Tourism Office is open by appointment only, Mon. – Fri., 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call (850) 981-8888 to make an appointment.

Below are responses to some frequently asked questions:

  • Will the County Host Fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July? Yes, the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Office will present an Independence Day fireworks show at 9 p.m. on July4, at the end of the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. The pyrotechnic demonstration will be held rain or shine. Residents and guests are reminded to allow plenty of time to find parking, follow social distancing guidelines set by the CDC and remember to leave pets at home. For more information, call 850-981-8900.
  • Are beaches open? Yes. All beaches are now open and following normal hours. Between sunrise and sundown, parking is available at ALL public lots and spaces. Visitors may also walk and bike the multi-use path of the island of Navarre Beach. Parking lot opening and closing times differ, please check individual parking lot restrictions for opening and closing times.
  • Is the pier open? Yes. The Navarre Beach Pier is open from 5a to 11p daily. Normal pier admission procedures will be in place; daily and annual passes may be purchased.
  • Are Blackwater River and Coldwater Creek open? Yes
  • Is the Gulf Islands National Seashore Open? Yes (with some parking closures). On Sat., May 16, Gulf Islands National Seashore will initiate Phase Two access, opening: Santa Rosa area, including Highway 399. Opal Beach restrooms at clusters C & D will be open – lifeguards will be on duty at Opal Beach; the Naval Live Oaks Area (no restrooms).
  • With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time: Parking lots 33A and 36A along Highway 399 (closed for the season); Parking lots 34A and 34E at the Opal Beach Complex.
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore will implement its annual effort to protect nesting shorebirds by lowering speed limits to 25 mph on Hwy. 399, installing radar speed signs and speed humps, and increasing speed limit enforcement patrols.
  • Are hotels open? Yes, most Santa Rosa County accommodations are open at this time. Please note, this could change, please reach out directly to individual properties.
  • Are vacation rentals available? Yes, with parameters surrounding guests (please review thoroughly). As a supplement to the Full Phase 1 reopening across the state of Florida, Santa Rosa County will implement the following additional measures to enable vacation/short term rental units to begin taking reservations and accepting check-ins the week of May 18th. As part of these measures, vacation rentals reservations and stays will ONLY BE OPEN to residents from those U.S. counties and parishes with a COVID-19 case rate of less than 1000 cases per 100K residents. Additionally, reservations from other identified COVID-19 hot spots in the country will be avoided for the next 30- 45 days. Please reach out directly to individual property management companies for reservations and questions. County level case rate information is available at the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/county-map.html?
  • Vacation Rental property owners and managers will adhere to DBPR recommended safety measures and other best practices located here.
  • Are parks open? Yes, most Santa Rosa County parks are open at this time for use adhering to latest health guidelines. Please reach out ahead, to check on hours of operation.
  • Are campgrounds open? Most campgrounds are open at this time. Please call ahead to check on availability.
  • Are state forests open? Yes, most Florida state forests in Santa Rosa County are open with limited capacity. List of Florida state forests and campground sites that are open with limited capacity: Clear Creek OHV Riding Area, Bear Lake, the Coldwater horse stables, Hurricane Lake and Karick Lake. Krul Recreation Area and Sweetwater Trail remain closed. Please call ahead to check on capacity level.
  • Are Restaurants and Bars open? Yes, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide. View the emergency order here.
  • Are face masks mandatory? Wearing face masks is voluntary for Santa Rosa County residents. Residents may consider wearing a mask in locations where physical distancing is more difficult such as grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, hospitals, etc.

For those traveling to our area, the CDC and Florida Department of Health encourage the same personal best practices that are standard for a typical flu season – frequent washing of hands, use of sanitizing wipes, consulting with a doctor before traveling when sick, and staying up to date on vaccinations, etc. In addition, it is strongly encouraged that all CDC social distancing guidelines are followed. We will continue to follow the guidance offered by the CDC, as well as those provided by state and local public health authorities.

The Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Office is actively monitoring COVID-19 reports from the State of Florida Governor’s Office, the CDC as well as the FDOH, and will pass pertinent information as it becomes available via this page.

Should you have questions about COVID-19 and your ability to travel, the Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 call center, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1 (866) 779-6121. Questions can also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

Businesses requesting masks to provide to employees or customers may call 850-564-2307 to request a supply.

Travel Industry Resources

Destinations International

U.S. Travel Association – COVID-19 Toolkit

Santa Rosa County Emergency Management

Florida State Emergency Bridge Loan Program for Small Businesses

Santa Rosa Ready