If You Love Unspoiled, Crowd-Free Beaches, This Southeastern Spot Will Be Paradise

Away from the rumbling and high-pitched excitement of the state's best rollercoasters and the never-ending buzz of things to do in Miami, the Florida panhandle is brimming with natural beauty and hidden gems that'll keep you coming back for more. Whether it's the region's chic little towns that feel straight out of a Caribbean painting, lush state parks, or historical sites — there are plenty of activities and destinations to choose from to fill up most itineraries. Plus, with miles of untouched beaches and serene landscapes that stretch along the Gulf of Mexico, it's no surprise that the panhandle has become a must-visit for tourists and locals alike.

One of these idyllic spots is Navarre Beach. Located in Santa Rosa County, just 26 miles west of Destin, Navarre is a go-to destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts looking to get away from the crowds. Laid-back and secluded, Navarre brands itself as "Florida's most relaxing place" — and, boy, does it deliver on that promise.

Things to do in Navarre Beach

Free from the hordes of tourists, kitschy souvenir shops, and classic seaside Florida tourist traps, Navarre Beach shifts its focus to the little things in life: pristine emerald-green waters, lazy days under the sun, and outdoor entertainment. For starters, the beach itself is a great place to unwind, catch some rays, and enjoy a refreshing dip — all in one place. Not only that, but Navarre Beach is also one of the region's top destinations for seashell and beach-combing aficionados. Some local treasures include tulip shells, coquina clams, and shark eyes — just to name a few.

Then, there's the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier — the longest in the Gulf of Mexico, coming in at a whopping 1,500 feet long. Open from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the winter and 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. during the summer, the pier draws in fishing enthusiasts from across the country looking for their next big catch. Keep in mind there's also a $7 fee if you're hoping to cast your line.

Additionally, Navarre Beach also has plenty to offer for travelers who want to stay a little more active. Whether it's hiring a kayak to paddle your way along Black Water River or zip-lining above the treetops at the Adventures Unlimited recreation center, exploring the trails at the Naval Live Oaks Nature Preserve, or heading underwater on a diving adventure to explore the Deepwater Nearshore artificial reefs, there's no shortage of fun no matter your vibe.

Staying and dining in Navarre Beach

Is all this peace and quiet starting to sound like the ideal choice for your next getaway? You'll be happy to know that, although relatively off the beaten Florida path, Navarre has plenty of options for visitors looking to spend a few days unwinding as needed. In terms of accommodation, for example, the beachside community has different styles of lodgings that are suitable for every budget. From the Spring Hill Suites beachfront hotel — operated by Marriott — to tucked-away campgrounds, RV-friendly parking spots, and vacation rentals by the water, it's entirely up to you how close to nature or how plush you want your stay to be.

Along with this, foodies traveling to Navarre Beach will also be spoiled for choice. Whether you're craving gourmet cuisine, local bites, or seafood snacks, the food scene in Navarre is as diverse as it is delicious. A few traveler and local favorites include Dave's Oyster Bar and GrillScooter's Fish House, and the Cactus Flower Cafe of Navarre.