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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Beautiful and Peaceful (Navarre Beach) Florida


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.

Address: 


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

Activity Guide (Pensacola ) Florida


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. 

Address:
1400 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561

Hours:
8:30 am - 6 pm   daily

Admission:
$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!

Hours:
8am to 6pm daily

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

Address:
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.

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

Hours:
9:00am–5:00pm Daily

Address:
2081 Radford Blvd, Pensacola, FL 32508






Snorkeling


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.

Hours:
9 am – 4 pm daily

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

Address:
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.

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

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

Address:
120 Church Street, Pensacola, FL 32502





Happy Travels! 



















Sunday, January 20, 2019

Fort De Soto Park (St. Petersburg) Florida


Fort De Soto park is located on the gulf coast of Florida, just few miles south of St. Petersburg. It is 1,136 acres over five interconnected islands (keys). All of these keys are connected by bridge or causeway.




The park is home to a variety of plants, trees, birds, and other wildlife. It offers many activities among its natural landscape.




But let’s just face it, I in it mainly for the beach!  With around three miles of sugar white sand beach, it’s perfect in my eyes!

North Beach has been “America’s top beach” and “The nation’s #1 beach” by Tripadvisor and Dr. Beach is the past. There is no question why when you set foot on it!

 North Beach on the gulf side and East Beach on the channel leading into Tampa Bay are the two main beaches. There is a dog park with a small beach in between the two. 





The beaches are usually a good place for shelling. The area behind the fort has been the best area to find shells.








When you are ready for a break from the sun, head over to the 1898 fort for a self-guided tour. Information about the fort is available at the fort and park headquarters.





 Be sure to walk upon the top of the fort for one of the best views in the park!






Walking or Hiking Trails

Multipurpose Trail - A seven-mile paved trail connects North Beach, East
Beach, the boat ramp, and the camping area. The perfect place for hiking or bike riding.

Barrier-Free Nature Trail - A 2,200-foot wheelchair-accessible trail with six auditory

interpretive stations for the visually impaired.





Fishing  

Two fishing piers - 1,000-foot Gulf Pier and 500-foot Bay Pier
Bait, tackle, and food concessions are available at both.
.

Boat Ramp - 800-foot boat launching facility with eleven floating docks. 






The park's natural ecosystems include more than 328 species of birds.






If you are in to canoeing, there is a 2.25-mile canoe trail through mangroves that looks like it would be fun. Canoe rentals are available within the park.  





Other Helpful Information

Go early in the morning if it’s a weekend. It can get a little crowded and noisy as the day go on. We went early in the morning and pretty much had the beach to ourselves. Before we left, large groups of people had come in to grill for lunch and some were playing loud music.

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





Happy Travels!