Blue Wahoos bring all-American fun to Navarre Beach vacations

What is more American than baseball? Not much. We all know the words to “take me out to the ball game,” and we have all seen the cliché apple pie and baseball in the backyard of yester year.

Adding a little slice of this Americana to your vacation can be a blast. Just west of beautiful Navarre Beach visitors can catch an afternoon minor league baseball game at the Blue Wahoos Stadium.

For my non-fishing readers, a wahoo is a blue colored fish found in the Gulf of Mexico and commonly sought by fisherman. It’s known for its speed and fantastic flavor.

The Blue Wahoos are an AA minor league baseball team. That means they are two steps below the professional league. Some of these same players go on to play for major league teams.

Watching them play is a real treat, and we make a point to go to a game when family or friends come into town.

Last week, $15 a person got me a front row seat behind the pitcher’s mound. It was a great view, and cheaper seats are available. These seats come with the added benefit of a waiter or waitress who will bring meals, snacks and beverages right to your seat.

We had a blast heckling the umpire and cheering on our favorite players. To our right you could see right into the Wahoos dugout, and children frequently approach the area for autographs following the game.

The Blue Wahoos stadium is very fan friendly, and there is not a seat in the house that is not an excellent view. Some days a seat right along third base line can be $5.

Aside from the typical baseball fun, Wahoos Stadium takes pride in customer service. Anytime I have come to a game there were always friendly staff ready to greet me, guide me to my seat or help me with anything I need. Plus the games and activities between innings are always family friendly.

Win or lose, following up a game with some tasty grub in downtown is always a safe bet. There are a variety of restaurants sporting everything from burgers to pizza to five-star seafood within walking distance of the park. Just ask a friendly staff member for directions.

Beaches and baseball, what more could you ask for?

Take a preview of Navarre Beach through our webcam

Want to know exactly what your days of fun in the sun along beautiful Navarre Beach will look like?

There’s a webpage for that!

Those wanting to get a first person view of our stretch of the Gulf of Mexico can check out the Navarre Beach Surf Cam. This live stream cycles through several different angles of beautiful Navarre Beach including zoomed out views down the shoreline, closeups of our blue-green waters, far out shots of the entire three mile stretch of shoreline and even a closeup of the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier, the longest fishing pier in the Gulf of Mexico.

The camera quality is good enough that you can actually see what folks are catching off the pier.

It also has a special feature where the camera angles to focus on the horizons for sunrise and sunset each day, giving an amazing front row seat to the skies as they come a blaze with color.

The webcam shoots live HD 1080 Zoom video and is run by local nature photographer Kenny Wilder. Kenny’s works really have an amazing way of capturing the beauty of our home. (His prints make for great souvenirs, but that is a conversation for another day.)

I live here and get my fair share of seeing the beautiful beach up close but being able to just let the crashing waves play in the background while I work will relieve event the worst case of the Mondays.

What better way to psyche yourself up for that beach getaway than getting a front row preview?

We host this super soothing video on our website at Once you’ve had your fill of the relaxing views, click on over to the “Vacation Rentals” tab to book your trip to paradise.

Try your hand at Wild Shots

Think you are pretty slick at shooting photos? Could you be considered a shutter bug? Are you a complete novice who only takes pictures with your phone? Did you take one art photography class in college, then quit the whole endeavor?

Regardless of skill level, this photo contest is for you.

Located just west of Navarre Beach, the Gulf Breeze Zoo has opened up their annual Wild Shots photo competition, and photographers of all skill levels are invited to take photos of the zoos furry, scaly and feathered residents.

The Gulf Breeze Zoo is the award-winning home of more than 800 exotic animals. Will your winning photo by of the zoo’s new baby rhino Katana? Or will your secure first prize by taking a great angle shot of the towering giraffe family? Or maybe junior will win the cell phone photo category for his selfie with the lions? How about a wide angle in the flight cage surrounded by fluttering wings?

Even if you don’t win, a day at the zoo just exploring with the family is always a win.

There are few basic rules. Visitors have to obey zoo policies while taking their photos, images must be taken at the zoo and only five photos can be submitted.

Categories include youth for ages 2-12 years old, adult and cell phone photos.

Grand Prize winners of the 2018 Wild Shots Photo Contest will be announced on the zoo’s website and through social media.

Each Photo Category (Adult, Youth & Cell Phone) will win the following prizes:

1st Place: Zoo Unlimited! Includes 4 Annual Memberships for unlimited visits to the Gulf Breeze Zoo for a full year ($185 value)

2nd Place: Grand Day Out: Includes 4 Day Passes, 4 cups of food, 4 budgie sticks, and 4 giraffe feeding experiences ($125 value)

3rd Place: Choose Your Adventure: Includes $75 gift certificate for your choice ot tickets, animal feed, merchandise…its your choice! ($75 value)

Staff Pick: Zookeeper Gift Pack: Includes an official Gulf Breeze Zoo t-shirt, zoo animal plush and souvenir cup ($40 value)

For more info go to

The Zoo opens at 9 a.m. daily and is located just off Highway 98. Visit for event updates, seasonal hours, and more. The Wild Shots contest runs from now to August 31, so book your vacation ASAP at

Navarre shares hometown fun for Fourth of July

On Independence Day, there’s nowhere better to be than small town USA. Celebrating the birth of our nation just seems right when there’s that hometown character and family charm.

Here on Navarre Beach, one of the South’s Best Tiny Towns according Southern Living magazine, a hometown 4th of July is exactly our style.

This year we celebrated the fourth with our first ever children’s parade, and I have to say it is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. From infants to adolescents, kids of all ages dressed up in their red, white and blue best to parade around the beach in wagons, on bicycles and walking.

My personal favorites were a little boy with motorized dump truck festooned in glittering garland and a girl on roller skates with an American flag draped across her back and a flamingo head band.

After the parade awards were distributed The Village Belles performed live patriotic tunes for the crowd in a throwback to The Andrews Sisters and their time with the USO.

The event even had a classic general store with treats for the kids and gifts for the grown-ups. What’s more American than eating cracker jacks on July 4th?

Following the parade, we walked over to grab a bite to eat at Juana’s Pagoda’s and Sailor’s Grill. For the adults, I highly recommend their special Independence Day firecracker cocktail. For the kids, the key lime pie is always a great sweet treat.

After dinner we stuck our toes in the sand to watch the fireworks light up the night.

Just another day in our slice of paradise. Be here for next year’s parade. Book your vacation today at

Beach Ambassadors offer education and fun

Did you know that the award-winning powder white sands of Navarre Beach actually came here from the Appalachian Mountains?

We didn’t import it. But nature did send it by express river travel down from the mountains. That lovely sand is actually trillions of tiny, tiny quartz crystals. As water wears down the semi-precious stones high in the mountains they travel down rivers, eventually accumulating along our shoreline over millions of years.

I have lived here my entire life, but I didn’t learn that until just the other day thanks to our new Navarre Beach Ambassadors.

These guys and gals are pros on all things Navarre Beach. The ambassador program is a partnership of the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Office and our local UF/IFAS Extension Office.

These volunteers are sent out to the beach with a simple goal: interact with all of you. From sharing cool information on our local ecosystems to answering questions to helping protect our nesting sea turtles, the ambassadors rock.

They started their patrols this month, all wearing their “Navarre Beach” t-shirts to easily be identified. They even pick up trash and fill in abandoned holes to keep our beach looking its best. They embody the spirit of Navarre Beach.

In addition to providing great info and assisting guests, the ambassadors are also offering surveys to visitors. The 9 question survey will help us make the beach an even better place to play, so if you have a minute, fill one out.

Otherwise just enjoy the knowledge these friendly folks have to share. Even I learned something new and super cool.

Come meet our volunteers here on beautiful Navarre Beach,

Milkshake monstrosities await you at Taste Buds

When I was a kid and Florida’s sun shiny heat would come rolling in, my mom would bust out the blender, some ice cream and a shot of chocolate syrup. Those milkshakes were simple and sweet and the perfect treat for a hot summer day.

These are not those milkshakes.

Taste Buds is a cute little ice cream parlor with a love for going big. It is a bit of a drive from Navarre Beach, but well worth adding to the vacation schedule, specifically because of their massive, mouthwatering milkshakes.

Served up in classic southern mason jars, Taste Bud milkshakes are piled high with sweet and savory toppings. There’s one topped with a mini pie, and another has not one but two mini cupcakes mounted atop a pile of whipped cream. Whether it be a handful of oreos and andes mints or a Belgium waffle, every one of these self-proclaimed “freakshakes” is delicious.

Dessert here may require two hands.

Beyond just beautiful to behold, these treats are absolutely tasty. And it doesn’t stop at “freakshakes.” The shop offers dozens of flavors of ice cream and incrEDIBLE cookie dough. It’s a favorite stop for my family after a long day of soaking up the beach front sun.

Plus for the big of stomach and brave of heart, there is the “Oh No You Didn’t” Challenge.

In a bowl larger than my head, the lovely ladies of Taste Buds will pile high 12 scoops of your favorite ice cream flavors, 2 waffles, 2 massive brownies, a sprinkling of toppings, syrup and whipped cream with a cherry on top.

All together this thing weighs 5 pounds! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to eat the entire thing, cherry and all, in 30 minutes or less. Succeed and it is free. Plus, you get a $20 gift card and your name immortalized on the “Wall of Fame.”

Loose and you got to pay, plus your name goes on the “Wall of Shame” along with a note of just how much of that 5 pounds was left behind.

It may sound easy, but by the time you have consumed a pound of ice cream, odds are your stomachs full and that sweet dairy is fighting back. This is only for the tough folks.

Thus far only two people have finished the whole thing in time. I have to say I have been too much of a chicken to try.

“Oh No You Didn’ts” aside, Taste Buds has some less intimidating but absolutely sinful sweets that are worth a sampling. Add dessert to that beautiful beach front escape here on Navarre Beach. Book today at

Three things to keep kids learning on Navarre Beach

As the old Alice Cooper tune goes “schoooooools out for Summer!”

Which means the kiddos are likely back at home with mom and dad for some quality bonding. It’s great!

And by week three, mom and dad are exhausted and the kiddos are bored. Not great.

The last things parents want is for their kids to progress into the all too familiar vegetative state summer break can produce. Sounds like a vacation is in order. Here are a few suggestions for ways to keep the kiddos’ brains engaged and mom and dad sane on Navarre Beach.

  1. Meet Sweet Pea at the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center

If your little ones love critters, they are going to flip for the sea turtle center. Sweet Pea is a juvenile green sea turtle. She acts as an ambassador for her endangered cousins in the wild. Aside from getting to meet Sweet Pea, the sea turtle center offers a scavenger hunt-style tour to help the kids learn about all of the animals living at the center.

  1. Challenge the mind with Escape Zone 60

As the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Sometimes keeping the mind sharp is all about practice. So challenge the kiddos to a brain puzzle they can actually live at Escape Zone 60. Older kids, with help from mom and dad, can try their hand at two different escape rooms in the Navarre area. These puzzle rooms put the visitor to the test through challenging, collaborative mind games in a race against the clock. And don’t worry if you don’t beat the clock. I can say from experience loosing is pretty fun too.

  1. 3. Navarre Beach Marine Science Station Summer Camps

What kid does not want to have an up-close encounter with dolphins, build underwater robots, try their hand at deep sea fishing or catch a wave atop a surf board.

The Navarre Beach Marine Science Station offers a variety of summer day camps to not only keep your children’s hands busy but their brains too! Lessons include hands on interactions with native wildlife and cool conservation messages. Plus, while the kiddos are away mom and dad can play! Camp registration is available at

So bring the little ones to our tropical paradise this summer. Check out the options at