Freezin’ for a reason on Navarre Beach

On Navarre Beach, we celebrate the New Year with a special tradition, one shared across the country.

We all gather on the chilly morning of Jan. 1 to party before plunging head long into the chilly waters of Santa Rosa Sound, en masse, at exactly 12 hours into the New Year.

It’s called the Penguin Plunge, and this is year 11 of the tradition.

Though it sounds crazy, its actually a blast! People wear costumes. There’s music, beach volleyball, food and a stand-up paddleboard adventure course. It’s a great opportunity for fun in the sun and sand during the oh-so-mild Florida winter.

Juana’s Pagodas and Sailors’ Grill, a community staple for Navarre Beach, hosts the fun each year, and I always make a point to come out to join in the festivities.

While the family-friendly party is great, it’s the reason for this celebration that makes it so special. Each year, this beach bar restaurant donates all the proceeds from the plunge to local nonprofits.

This year’s Penguin Plunge is supporting a cause close to my heart: suicide prevention.

So many of us have lost a loved one to suicide, and the folks at Juana’s recently suffered a similar loss. So, the proceeds from this year’s plunge will be donated to the local branch of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the EscaRosa Suicide Prevention Coalition and Healing Paws for Warriors.

Healing Paws is a phenomenal organization that trains rescue dogs to become service animals for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

I can’t imagine a better way to ring in the New Year than with food and fun for a worthy cause.

Even if you’re too chicken to dive in yourself, you can still join in the fun as a “chicken” registrant and still receive a T-shirt. Folks can register at

Book your New Year’s vacation with us at

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