Navarre Beach Top 5 Sweet Treats

It is a proven fact that calories do not count when one is on vacation. With that in mind, skipping dessert while vacationing on sunny Navarre Beach is out of the question.

Florida’s Panhandle gem, Navarre Beach, has plenty of savory and sweet delicacies to chomp, slurp and sip. So as your go-to gal for all things Navarre (and an avid dessert eater myself) here are the top 5 sweet treats for Navarre Beach.

  1. Tommy’s Sno Balls

Located at the foot of the Navarre Beach Bridge, this open air snow cone stand is a local’s staple. Mr. Tommy has been serving up freshly shaved, flavorful ice with a hint of humor for years.

In a variety of fruity flavors, these sweet treats go perfectly with a picnic lunch at Navarre Park just across the street.

  1. Culver’s Frozen Custard

OK, I know what you are thinking: that’s a chain restaurant! Well, I will defend this one’s spot on the list for the simple fact that our Culver’s here in Navarre is the best Culver’s. Period.

The staff is always super friendly, and they treat you with the attention and care typically reserved to a small business.

But you are here for the frozen custard which is like a soft serve but thicker and sweeter. Their frozen custard combined with a litany of sweet and salty topping such as Andes mints, brownie pieces, salted caramel and more makes it impossible to try all the possible combinations. I like to finish a hot beach day with these cool concoctions.

  1. Key Lime Pie at Juana’s

A favorite hangout spot on the sound side of the beach, Juana’s Pagodas and Sailor’s Grill (2017 Top 10 Florida Beach Bars recipient) serves up music, food, drinks and beach front fun. Complete with beach volleyball quarts and two well-stocked bars, there is plenty to do. Finish off dinner with a slice of this house-made pie. Or just skip straight to dessert as you watch the beach front sunset from their deck.

  1. Apple turnover at Milton Bakery

This one is a bit of a trek from the beach, but well worth the drive. Just up the road in historic downtown Milton, the Milton Bakery offers a litany of sweet treats from simple donuts to made-to-order cakes and delicious pies. The apple turnover here is unbelievable. The crust is flaky, and the apples are baked with a spice blend to tempt the taste buds. While in the historic area take a stroll along Blackwater River or head over to Adventures Unlimited for a canoe or tubing ride.

  1. Chocolate Ganache Cupcake at JJ Chagos

This place is full of delicious dishes to tempt the pallet, but hands down my favorite eat here is the moist chocolate cupcake coated in mouthwatering chocolate ganache. The menu, which is constantly changing as ingredients become available, features a variety of gourmet breakfast and lunch munches. But the pastries accompanied by one of their dozens of coffee options will satisfy the sweet tooth.

If you’re mouth isn’t watering by now, check your pulse. Or better yet check out where you will be staying on Navarre Beach while you chow down on these delicious sweets.

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Fish the Gulf of Mexico from Florida’s best pier

The longest pier in the Gulf of Mexico just happens to also be located on the best beach on the Gulf of Mexico in my humble opinion.

Navarre Beach offers one of the best fishing spots in Florida at the Navarre Fishing Pier. This 32,000 square foot pier is suspended 30 feet above sea level on concrete piles.

Located at the end of the bridge onto Navarre Beach, fishermen and women have been pulling up behemoth fish since the pier was built in 2014.

Gulf coast fishing is a treat. From 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. fishermen can cast their lines for a variety of sport fish.

Some of the best catches off the pier are Cobia, King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi and Red Drum. Other common catches include:

  •  African Pompano
  • Atlantic Spadefish
  • Atlantic Thread Herring
  • Blue Runner
  • Crevalle Jack
  • Florida Pompano
  • Gray Snapper
  • Gulf Flounder
  • Round Scad
  • Scaled Sardine
  • Speckled trout
  • Sheepshead
  • Blue Fish
  • Striped Mullet
  • Spanish Mackerel
  • Tarpon
  • Bonnethead
  • Redfish

Mako sharks and Sail Fish have even been hooked off the end of the pier in recent years. The pier lends itself to the amateur and the aficionado.

Wet your line for $7 a day or if you stay the week in one of our condominiums you can get a cheaper rate of $45 for the week. Military receive a discount for daily, weekly and annual entry.

Not everyone is into fishing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the pier. Grab a bite to eat at Loggerheads at the foot of the pier and play a round of beach volleyball on the sand courts.

Then walk off your meal down the longest pier in the Gulf for just $1.

During the day you will be able to see some of the amazing wildlife Navarre Beach is known for.

Loggerhead and green sea turtles often breach near the end of the pier chasing their favorite snack, jellyfish. Shore birds such as pelicans fly past and the variety of fish are endless.

A daytime stroll is great, but there is nothing quite like finishing out a day on the beach with a walk on Navarre pier at sunset. The sky comes to life like fire with streaks of blue, purple, orange, red and gold over the condominiums and stretches of undisturbed pristine white sand.

As you stroll families are still casting their lines and couples lean quietly against the rail taking it all in.

No sunset is ever the same twice, so bring your camera. Trust me when I say, you will want to remember that view.

After the sunset catch some live music at Loggerheads to round out the evening.

Don’t miss your sunset, or the perfect catch. Make a reservation at one of our beach front condominiums and get fishing.

Get up close with Navarre Beach sea turtle

Gigi the loggerhead sea turtle had a rough life.

In 1998, Gigi washed ashore in central Florida after a storm. Covered in barnacles and badly emaciated, she would not have survived very long. Despite being an otherwise healthy turtle, she had not been eating for some time, and the stress had taken its toll.

The problem lay in her eyes. Either through illness or injury, Gigi had become completely blind.

Fortunately, Sea World rescuers found Gigi and brought her to their rehabilitation center. Through antibiotics and months of care, they got her back to a healthy weight.

But her vision never returned.

Without her sight, she could not be released into the wild because she would be unable to locate food or avoid predators.

For 17 years, Gigi remained in the rehabilitation center, receiving upstanding care, but awaiting a forever home. With her disability, Gigi would need a special setup and a special team of people to care for her.

That is where the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center comes in.

The center welcomed Gigi to her new home in August 2016. Now she spends her days educating thousands of yearly visitors about sea turtle conservation. She swims around her state of the art, saltwater pool greeting visitors with a friendly breech when she hears them approach.

To say the sea turtle center is my favorite place on Navarre Beach is an understatement. This beachfront center is just inside the Navarre Beach Marine Park one left turn away from the Navarre Beach Bridge.

Once an abandoned state park information center, the building now displays brightly painted sea turtles. The center is the only one of its kind in the Florida Panhandle.

Along with Gigi, the center is home to a variety of other species. Pumpkin the diamondback terrapin sometimes greets visitors in her out door abode or splashes a hello from her indoor tank.

Native species of fish swim around a mock-up of the Navarre Beach reef, and another tank houses invasive lionfish to illustrate to visitors why invasive species threaten our ecosystem. Interactive displays teach visitors young and old about the life cycle of sea turtles from eggs buried in the sand to hatchlings scurrying to sea to adults swimming the deep for 100 years.

There are also lessons on how humans can limit their impacts to threatened and endangered sea turtle species.

The gift shop offers unique and handcrafted souvenirs themed around the Gulf of Mexico and its creatures that cannot be found anywhere else.

But Gigi is the star of the center. She loves to devour her favorite foods of mackerel and squid and swim close to children pressing close to her pool’s glass. She has stolen the hearts of her caregivers as well as the locals.

Come fall in love with her, too.

Visit the sea turtle center and all the great ecotourism stops on Navarre Beach while staying beachfront at one of our great accommodations.

Science station delights on Navarre Beach

It’s no secret that Navarre Beach is a hub of ecotourism. From our man-made near shore snorkel reef to our unique-to-the-area Sea Turtle Conservation Center, we have more than a few opportunities to get up close with the Florida’s beach wildlife.

But the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station takes it to another level.

The station offer events throughout the year that get families engaged in activities focused on beach fun and conservation.

Do you want to touch one of the oceans prehistoric inhabitants? Meet the stations resident horseshoe crab, a family of animals that have existed for nearly 445 million years.

Love water sports? Try the glass bottom kayaks and get an amazing view of the underwater ecosystem or stand up paddle board in the Santa Rosa Sound.

Want to pilot an underwater remote operated vehicle or ROV? The station has students build these and lets visitors test drive them. Your child could learn to build one over the summer.

The station students also love to hold dissection demonstrations with species such as squid and starfish.

In the summer, day camps range in themes from Guy Harvey Fishing to underwater remotely operated vehicles to mermaids and pirates.

The center also offers an array of homeschool student activity days, and a Spooktacular in October with creepy science that is can’t miss. Children can make their own slime, learn about bioluminescent species and create smoke bubbles. For children on the autism spectrum, the science station holds an annual Autism Odyssey.

And the station is expanding their reach. A recent IMPACT 100 grant will allow the station to take their activities on the road with a new traveling interpretive center, complete with touch tanks and more. The station offers a variety of classes to local students researching the wide array of marine wildlife found off Navarre’s white sand coast.

Visit navarresciencestation.org for a schedule of upcoming events. Rentals fill up fast. Don’t miss your chance to explore all the science station has to offer this summer and all year-round.

Man-made reefs growing on Navarre Beach

If snorkel, kayak or scuba is your thing, Navarre Beach is your destination.

Navarre Beach boasts man-made reefs just off shore in the Gulf of Mexico that are teaming with life. The Navarre Beach Marine Park is just a short drive west of the Navarre Beach Bridge.

Once on the reef sea turtles abound and a variety of fish school around the “modules” or structures that build up the reef where coral can grow.

If you are lucky you may even see a dolphin or two.

It’s never been easier to get your kayak in the water thanks to the new kayak and scuba friendly walk over in Navarre Beach Marine Park.

This walk over has no rails meaning it’s easier to carry kayaks and equipment down to the water’s edge. A wash down station has also been added to the path for convenience. The path leads directly to Navarre’s near shore artificial reef, one of two man-made reefs in the area.

Glass bottom kayak tours along the reef are a must do, and snorkelers of any skill level can enjoy this reef.

The new walkover allows visitors to keep off the dunes protecting the wildlife that call Navarre Beach home. Shorebirds such as sandpipers often nest in the grasses of the dunes. In late spring and early summer, keep an eye out for the fluffy white chicks along the dunes edge.

After a morning snorkel, there are several large public pavilions that serve as a perfect spot to chow down on a picnic.

Deeper in the Gulf, just off the end of the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier there is a second man-made reef for scuba diving. These reefs are known for their amazing array of wildlife and require a bit more skill to appreciate.

Whether you are a near shore novice or a deep reef pro, there is good news on the horizon. Navarre Beach’s pristine man-made reefs are about to get a whole lot bigger.

Hundreds of new modules will be added to Navarre’s near shore snorkel reef and off shore scuba reefs in the coming year meaning more to love and more for the local wildlife to call home.

Want to preview the dozens of species that call the reef home? Video of the sea turtles and unique schools of fish are available online thanks to the Gulf of Mexico’s first ever underwater live feed camera. Test video is available at navarresciencestation.org. Keep an eye out for a rare loggerhead sea turtle swimming on by.

Or better yet come to see it for yourself while staying in one of our beach front condominiums.