Visit us this Labor Day

All too soon, Summer fades from view.

Labor Day is upon us and that means Summer fun in the sun is coming to a close. It feels like the season just swept past so fast. Kids are heading back to school. It can feel like the load at work is heavier than it has ever been. Minds are turning toward the upcoming autumn and all the accompanying holidays.

I actually spotted Halloween decorations in several stores already. *Gasp*

Before the crazy and cold seasons come to call, I have some great news for you: it is not too late to squeeze in just a little more fun in the sun.

Here on beautiful Navarre Beach, the weather is still gorgeous. We will have temperatures in the 80s and sunny skies for months to come. We are still working on our tans, toes in the sand, drink in hand, man-oh-man that sunset is pretty.

Don’t you want just one more taste of vacation? One last hoorah before the funs over.

Labor Day weekend is a perfect time to visit.

While other beaches will be crowded with the tourists desperate to eek out a last sun ray before the monotony of the colder months set in, you could be enjoying the same pristine natural beauty where the locals go. Splash in the waves. Take in the sunset while relaxing on a beach front balcony.

Seriously, our crowds are low even on the busiest of days and there is a spot of sand just calling your name. You’re welcome to lay your towel next to mine because that’s exactly where I am spending my Labor Day weekend.

Come soak up the last rays of summer sun with us on Navarre Beach this Labor Day weekend. Book the family a condo (or maybe a romantic condo for two) today at navarrelistings.com.

Five ways to keep home safe while your away

As we prepare for fun in the sun, the last thing on our minds is home security. We load up the car and hit the road for a fun few days in paradise.

But taking steps to keep our property safe is essential. In the U.S., a home burglary is attempted every 20 seconds. Too often we hear of intruders smashing into a home when no one was there. Homes that are obviously unattended are prime targets.

So, before you make your way to Navarre Beach for that relaxing vacay, read these five tips to make sure there isn’t an unwelcome surprise waiting when you return.

Tips were sourced from a variety of sites including Safr.me, Cornerstone Home Lending Inc. and Smarter Traveler.

Tip #1 Stop your mail

When leaving town be sure to contact the post office to hold your mail for the duration of your absence. Piling up mail over a few days on the door step or in the mail box can let potential thieves know that no one’s home.

Tip #2 Get a house sitter

While it can be a pain to pay someone to watch the house, having someone there means a lot of thieves will steer clear. In addition, someone regularly checking the house can catch any other problems, feed pets and water plants.

If it is easier, ask a trusted neighbor to watch the house while you are gone. And return the favor later. If you do have a neighbor check on the house, they can also check your mail if you would prefer.

Tip #3 Ditch the spare key

It is no mystery as to where you keep the spare key. It’s under the mat. Or in that conspicuously fake rock. Or under the flower pot. Or in the power outlet cover.

A potential thief is going to know where to check, so don’t give them a chance to find your key. If you are leaving for an extended time, take the spare key with you or leave it with the person you have watching the house.

Don’t make yourself an easy target.

Tip #4 Triple check your locks

It goes without saying that you should check all your locks, but you would be amazed how often we mistakenly leave them wide open.

Just last week, I went out back to water my flowers and came back in without thinking about the lock. I had done the routine hundreds of times, flipping the latch back after attending my garden, but for whatever reason I forgot. It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized the lock had been undone all night!

When you leave for vacation take a moment to check all the doors and windows. Double check. Even triple check. That last look over before you leave is just an extra peace of mind. That goes for cars too, or better yet, lock them in the garage.

Tip #5 Don’t post it online

It’s very tempting to announce your vacation on social media. You are excited. You want to scream from the rooftops “I’m about to have so much fun!” But don’t do it.

While your friends and family are wishing you safe travel on that Facebook post, nefarious folks may see it as an opportunity to take advantage of you being gone.

That goes for posting while you are on vacay as well. I know that breathtaking beach sunset is just begging to be shared on your Insta but wait. Better safe than sorry.

Take this opportunity to unplug and be together without the cellular distractions. Facebook and Instagram can wait until you return for all the highlights and cute group selfies. Post away once you are back and take a moment to relive the whole thing over again.

Vacation confidently and securely with these tips. They are by no mean full proof, but they can help. Book now at Navarrelistings.com

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? Navarrelistings.com

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 navarrelistings.com/Navarre-beach-webcam.htm. 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 gulfbreezezoo.org/events/wildshotsphotocontest.aspx.

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

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 NavarreListings.com.

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, navarrelistings.com