Travel Guide & Photo Diary: Navarre, Florida


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Navarre really holds a special place in my heart. My great aunt has a condo here on the ocean and I have been visiting her over spring break every year for three years. I figured by now I know the area well enough to put together a comprehensive travel guide of things I love in the Navarre/Pensacola area.

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I fly in to Pensacola airport and then we drive to my aunt's condo on Navarre. It's about a 45 minute drive. The flight from Chicago is only a few hours, which is nice!

Food:
Hemingway's Island Grille (Pensacola): This is one of my all time favorite restaurants in the area. They serve seafood, which is not my thing, but they also have good burgers and steaks. Their alcoholic cocktails are amazing, and the atmosphere is upscale with a casual beach vibe, which I love. They have amazing onion rings as an appetizer and their fried plantains are my favorite dessert! Overall I'd give this place a 10/10. I eat here at least three times every year on my trip.

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Margaritaville (Destin): This is one of my favorite chain restaurants in the world. Every time I travel somewhere tropical, I am sure to visit one of these restaurants. I love the beachy laid back atmosphere. If you haven't figured it out yet, cheeseburgers are my favorite food. The cheeseburger here is one of my favorites. The view from the restaurant is beautiful. It sits on a cove area with some sandbars in Destin so you can enjoy the beautiful turquoise water while you eat.

Johnny Huston's (Navarre): The atmosphere and food here are amazing. The restaurant is not too far from my aunt's condo and is located off a main road in Navarre. They have the most amazing mac and cheeseburger I've ever had and their skillet cookie dessert is to die for. It has a sports bar atmosphere and the staff are always so friendly. Their menu has a ton of great options that are sure to please anyone!

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Tropical Smoothie Cafe (Navarre): This is a chain smoothie place that has stores all over the country. I am a huge fan of smoothies, so I got one almost every day on this trip. They have a large variety of smoothies, and they also offer lunch. The smoothies do only come in one size, which is pretty large, and they are filling enough to be a whole meal.

Prop's Bar and Grille (Fort Walton Beach): This is a really fun bar and grille. My favorite thing to get is their Buffalo Mac and Cheese. They also have a really great selection of locally brewed beers.

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The Tin Cow (Downtown Pensacola): As a burger fanatic, this place was a must on my list. The restaurant is located in downtown Pensacola. They have spiked milkshakes that I've heard are amazing and a build your own burger menu. They allow you to create a burger that is one of a kind and they offer so many more topping choices than other burger places. I got a mac and cheeseburger and it was so good! Plan on a wait if you go to this place because it's that good.
 
Activities:
Beaches: Obviously the gulf coast is known for its emerald white sand beaches, and that's one of my favorite parts of the area. I am definitely a beach girl at heart so there's nothing I love more than spending my days lying on the beach in Navarre. Most days, the water is pretty calm and is so clear you can see the bottom. I've also had pretty good luck finding some cool seashells!

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Jet Ski Tour (Pensacola): I grew up on a lake with jet skis, so I have always loved riding them. I had never ridden them on the ocean though until one of my visits to Florida. Jet skiing on the ocean is much different than a lake, and it was really fun! I think they gave me an hour with the jet ski. It was kind of cold when I did this, but I still had a great time. One thing to note is that the jet skiing is in the Santa Rosa Sound, not on the actual ocean.

Destin Outlet Mall: On rainy days, it's really fun to drive down the coast and stop at cheesy gift shops. After awhile, the cheesy gift shops get old, and that's where this awesome mall comes in. It's an outlet mall so they have awesome deals. They have so many stores, you could easily spend a whole day here!

Parasailing (Pensacola): I have wanted to try parasailing my entire life and I finally took the plunge in Florida. It was one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life. The day I parasailed, it was a little cold so I was wearing a sweatshirt and leggings, but it was still fun! I think on warm days, they can even dip your feet into the water while you're up there. The company I parasailed through was Key Sailing, and the experience and customer service were amazing. I felt very safe and comfortable the entire time.

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Hotel:
Margaritaville Beach Resort (Pensacola): All I have to say about this place is WOW. The decor is beautiful, the staff was so kind, and the pool/beach areas were to die for. This is a very high end beach themed hotel, and I felt like a princess while I was staying here. The pool area has a bar and comfy chairs to sit in with a beautiful view of the ocean. There's a really fun gift shop inside of the hotel too, which I stopped at a few times.

Caribbean Beach Resort (Navarre): This is where I have stayed every time I have visited Navarre. My great aunt owns a condo in this building, so that's where I stay. It is high up in the building so the views are incredible! I know that there are several condo buildings near hers where people rent out their condos to vacationers, so I definitely recommend renting in this area!

I highly recommend visiting the Navarre area. I have always traveled here alone, but it would also be a great place to travel with your spouse or your family!

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