Drop Down

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Navarre Beach, Florida: A Hidden Gem on the Gulf Coast

We stumbled upon Navarre Beach by accident.  We were looking for a place to stop for the night on a trip to the Florida Keys. I am one of those people who believes that flying somewhere is like reading the first and last page of a book. Driving road trips are what I love. My trip planning involves “wonder what there is to see between here and there”. So, on this particular trip, Navarre Beach looked interesting and lodging was fairly cheap.

I was really shocked by the beauty and peacefulness of the area. It was afternoon and cloudy when we arrived at the hotel. My mother and I dropped our bags off and hit the bridge to the beach to check it out.

Sugary white sand, emerald green water, and very few people is what we found. This place was perfect!

We walked along the beach to the fishing pier. Past the pier, we could see rows of condos lining the beach. Up towards the parking area, some teens were playing volleyball. Upbeat music coming from the restaurant set the perfect beach vibe. We had found a paradise!

Navarre Beach is located about 17 miles west of Pensacola Beach on Gulf Boulevard.

The pier there is 1,545 feet long (the longest in Florida) and stands 30 feet above the water. A shop, attached to the pier, rents fishing poles and sells bait and tackle.

Best Western Navarre Waterfront is where we usually stay. It runs less than $100 a night and is clean.


8697 Navarre Pkwy
Navarre, FL 32566

We usually prefer to stay right on the beach, but the views across the bay are amazing from the Best Western!

We have been back to Navarre beach several times since our first visit. We continue to love it just as much. It remains one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the Florida Panhandle.

Happy Travels! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Unveiling the Best Activities in Pensacola, Florida: A Comprehensive Guide

Pensacola is a favorite beach vacation destination for many families for good reason. I have never had a vacation strictly to Pensacola, but rather use it as a stop over point for trips father down into Florida. We usually wind up spending a day there on the way down and then stop again on the way back home. I find it to be more of a peaceful laid-back beach town than a busy party place. It gets a little crowded in the middle of Pensacola beach area, but go out a mile or so in either direction and you get to enjoy solitude.

Check out some of our favorite adventures below!

The Beaches

Pensacola Beach is popular for its sugar-white sand beaches and emerald-green waters. In fact, the beaches in the Pensacola area rank as some of the top beaches in the United States. Navarre Beach is my favorite and is usually lively without being crowded. Fort Picken is the place to go if you want miles of beach all to yourself.

Fort Pickens

This 1834 pentagonal historic United States military fort is located at the west end of Santa Rosa Island. It is named after American Revolutionary War hero Andrew Pickens.

After visiting the fort, enjoy some of the 10 miles of gulf and bay beaches leading to the fort. It's also one of the few places in the Pensacola area to find seashells. 

1400 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561

8:30 am - 6 pm   daily

$20 per vehicle

Big Lagoon State Park

This Park is a 705-acre located on the northern shore of Big Lagoon, which separates the mainland from Perdido Key and the Gulf of Mexico. Activities such as bird watching, swimming, fishing, canoeing, and hiking are available. Strolling the long boardwalk and crabbing in the shallow waters of Big Lagoon are some favorite activities. Be sure to walk up the observation tower for a view of this amazing park!

8am to 6pm daily

$5.00 - $10.00 per vehicle, depends on number of occupants

12301 Gulf Beach Hwy, Pensacola, FL 32507

Pensacola Lighthouse

This 1859 lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  A climb (177 steps) to the top will reward you with one of the most beautiful views on the Gulf Coast. It is located on an active military base (Naval Air Station Pensacola), so you will need to show proper identification for yourself as well as any other passengers who are 18 or older at the check point.

Adults $7.00
Children 12 and under $4.00
Seniors 65+ $4.00
Military $4.00

9:00am–5:00pm Daily

2081 Radford Blvd, Pensacola, FL 32508


Pensacola Bay Snorkel Reef (Escambia County Bay Snorkel Reef)

  • Located approximately 50 ft. off shore in Park West, just before the entrance of Fort Pickens. Great for beginner snorkeler.

Pensacola Beach Reef

  • The reef is located 500 ft. off shore in Park East and attracts a wide variety of marine life.

Gulf Breeze Zoo

The zoo is small, but has a nice variety of animals and it is a fun way to spend a few hours.

9 am – 4 pm daily

Adult (13-64)      $20.95
 Senior (65+)      $19.95
 Children (2-12) $16.95
 Under 2               FREE

5701 Gulf Breeze Pkwy, Gulf Breeze, FL 32563

Historic Downtown Village

Located close to the Pensacola Bay, the Historic Pensacola Village consist of 27 properties in the National Register Historic District. Eleven of these properties are open for tours.

Tuesday – Saturday       10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Adults   $8
Seniors 65+, Active Military & Dependents           $7
Children (3-14)  $4

120 Church Street, Pensacola, FL 32502

Happy Travels! 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Exploring the Natural Beauty of Fort De Soto Park, Florida

Fort De Soto Park is a hidden gem located at the southern tip of Pinellas County, Florida. With its stunning beaches, natural habitats, and rich history, it’s a must-visit destination for nature lovers and history buffs alike.

The park gets its name from Fort De Soto, a military fort built in the late 1800s to protect Tampa Bay from potential invaders. The fort played a significant role in both the Spanish-American War and World War II before being decommissioned in the 1940s. Today, visitors can explore the remains of the fort, including the gun batteries and officers’ quarters.

The park is home to three miles of pristine, white-sand beaches. Whether you’re looking to swim, sunbathe, or take a stroll along the shore, Fort De Soto’s beaches offer something for everyone. North Beach, located near the fort, is a popular spot for families and has a playground, snack bar, and kayak rentals. East Beach is a great place to go shelling, and it’s also dog-friendly, with a designated area where pets can run and play off-leash. Finally, there’s the secluded, tranquil beach at the southern end of the park, known as Fort De Soto Beach. This beach is popular among locals and is a great place to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Fort De Soto Park is also home to a variety of natural habitats, including mangrove swamps, salt marshes, and seagrass beds. These habitats provide important breeding and feeding grounds for a diverse array of wildlife, including manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, and shorebirds. The park offers several nature trails and birding opportunities, including the Arrowhead Nature Trail, which winds through a coastal hammock and offers views of the Gulf of Mexico.

For those looking to extend their stay, Fort De Soto Park offers camping options. The park has 238 campsites with electric and water hookups, as well as several primitive camping areas. The campsites are located in a wooded area and are just a short walk from the beach.

Fort De Soto Park is a treasure trove of natural beauty, history, and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the park’s natural habitats, or learn about its rich history, there’s something for everyone at Fort De Soto. So next time you’re in Florida, be sure to add Fort De Soto Park to your list of must-visit destinations.

A $5 parking fee is collected at the entrance station approximately one mile into the park.

Address: 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, St. Petersburg, FL 3371

Enjoy Your Visit!