Living in Texas, the closest stretch of heavenly beach is the Florida Panhandle. We planned a four-day beach escape to Navarre on Labor Day. Tag along for this weekend itinerary to paradise.
Navarre Beach is an eight-hour drive from Houston, crossing the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama before reaching the Sunshine State.
Beach tourism starts in Alabama. Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are popular beach towns that attract both spring breakers and families. Alabama’s Mobile Bay is scattered with waterfront restaurants that make for a great lunch stop. Hit the gas and continue east, because the Alabama coast is a world apart from the stunning beaches that await in Florida.
We towed our house on wheels to Navarre, which saved us a hotel headache. Hotel rooms in Navarre Beach are expensive, and even more so in holiday weekends. 200 USD per night would get us a room with little charm in an outdated hotel. Instead, we got premium views and tons of charm at The Hideaway Retreat, a dreamy waterfront campground.
With the campground almost booked for the weekend, we had no choice but to reserve a large Premium Waterview spot. Pulling through our 13-feet teardrop in a 45-feet spot surrounded by large RVs was quite the head turner. Our water view was blocked by the big fish and not exactly premium at this point.
One of our extra-large neighbors did not manage to manoeuvre into his spot, which left him at our mercy. We agreed to move and got to pick our own secluded and invented spot. Parked next to the summer house in front of the lagoon, our water view could not get any more premium.
Navarre’s number one attractions are its powdery sand beaches and turquoise waters. The beach is relatively undeveloped, with only a handful of big hotels and no real beach bars. We came prepared with a full cooler and spend the entire day at this heavenly stretch of beach.
Our beach day was topped off with a magical sunset.
Island Hopping @ Santa Rosa Sound
Between the beach and Navarre is an enclosed stretch of water that runs all the way from Pensacola Beach to Fort Walton. This 33-mile long lagoon is known as the Santa Rosa Sound. Near the Fort Walton side, the lagoon is scattered with little islands straight out of paradise. We rented a jet-ski for two hours at Navarre Family Watersports to go island hopping.
The still waters of Santa Rosa Sound are perfect for stand up paddleboarding. Our moving-package at The Hideaway Retreat included the use of a paddleboard for two hours. They normally rent these out at an hourly fee. Floating with the current was very relaxing, but we got our morning exercise on the way back.
Navarre Beach Pier Sunset
The Navarre Beach Pier is the longest in the Gulf of Mexico, measuring 1545 ft. It’s packed with fisherman having a pick at their next catch in the clear waters below. The view from the pier reveals the virgin stretch of beach east of Navarre. On our final evening in paradise, we enjoyed another beautiful sunset with the pier on the background.