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Northwest Florida Beaches

Fort Walton Beach, Fl:
A perennial vacation favorite, the Emerald Coast is renowned for its pristine white sandy Florida beaches, luminous green waters, and air perfumed by spring-blooming jasmine. Along this part of the Florida Panhandle, linked by Highway 98, the two most prominent cities are Fort Walton Beach and Destin.

Fort Walton Beach began life as a Confederate outpost; Destin got its start as a 19th century fishing village. Nowadays, Fort Walton Beach entertains businesses that provide Eglin Air Force Base with technological and industrial support. Destin, on the other hand, derives its revenue from tourism, attracting vacationers who crave upscale restaurants and accommodations. In tandem, they provide a destination for business and leisure that capitalizes on the strengths of both communities. Separated by less than ten miles, they share shopping at Silver Sands Factory Stores, the fabulous restaurants along Highway 30A, and, of course, the many parks and Florida beaches that are reason alone for a sojourn along the Emerald Coast.

Gulf Islands National Sea Shore Fl: 
More than 80 percent of Gulf Islands National Seashore is under water, but the barrier islands are the most outstanding
features to those who visit. The Seashore stretches 160 miles from Cat Island in Mississippi to the eastern tip of Santa Rosa Island in Florida. There are snowy-white Florida beaches, sparkling blue waters, fertile coastal marshes, and dense maritime forests.

Visitors can explore 19th century forts, enjoy shaded picnic areas, hike on winding nature trails, and camp in comfortable campgrounds. In addition, Horn and Petit Bois Islands located in Mississippi are federally designated wilderness areas. Nature, history, and recreational opportunities abound in this national treasure. The largest, most common, mammal in this underwater realm is the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin.

Whether you visit the seashore for a day or a week there are numerous activities and places to explore. Activities include swimming, bike riding, snorkeling, fishing, hiking, beach combing, wildlife watching, boating, and camping. Visitors are also encouraged to relax and watch the golden sunset.

Navarre Beach (Eglin Air Force Base):
Relax in Navarre Beach – Tucked away in a corner of Northwest Florida, far from crowded Florida theme parks and packed Florida beaches, the small beach community of Navarre offers solitude and simplicity for nature lovers. Navarre Beach boasts miles of beautiful shoreline rated best in the nation.

Towering sand dunes gracefully slope down to the Florida beaches where the sand is so clean and powdery white, it squeaks under your toes. Enjoy eight miles of pristine Florida beaches located within the federally protected Gulf Islands National Seashore, extending from Pensacola east along State Road 399 all the way to the southern tip of Santa Rosa Island. This is the longest continuous stretch of protected beach in Northwest Florida, perfect for sun seekers, birdwatchers and shutterbugs.

Panama City Beach, Fl:
Panama City Beach in Florida is one of the best known and most beloved beach resorts in the world. Beach goers come to Panama City Beach just to relax on its clean, powdery Florida beach, to participate in every imaginable water sport including scuba diving and fishing, and even to enjoy some of the hottest party spots anywhere. Panama City Beach is located in the Florida Panhandle where other vacation and travel opportunities abound.

Pensacola Beach, Fl:
Home to the protected Gulf Islands National Seashore, these Florida beaches have remained untouched through the centuries. Imagine a place where you can relax on the whitest, most pristine beaches you’ll ever find. Indulge in delicious seafood from award-winning restaurants. Have fun with your family on the island or in the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. From fishing to diving, building sandcastles on the beach or just relaxing to a good book in your beach chair, just sit back and enjoy what Pensacola Beach has to offer.

Perdido Key, Fl:
Barrier islands protect the Florida mainland from the harsh effects of storms and provide habitats for shorebirds and other coastal animals. Perdido Key is a 247-acre barrier island near Pensacola on the Gulf of Mexico. Beautiful Florida beaches and rolling dunes covered with sea oats make this park a favorite destination for swimmers and sunbathers. Surf fishing is another popular activity. Boardwalks from the parking lot allow visitors to access the beach without causing damage to the fragile dunes and beach vegetation. Covered picnic tables overlooking the beach provide a great place for family outings. Located 15 miles southwest of Pensacola, off State Road 292.

Seaside Beach, Fl:
Seaside has been the Northwest’s most popular ocean resort for over a century. Visitors from around the world have been coming to Seaside since the 1800s. Seaside is a destination paradise for a wide variety of reasons: its spectacular ocean views, miles of great Florida beaches, unique natural setting, mild ocean climate, outdoor activities, year-round events, excellent shopping and unforgettable dining. Seaside is “More than just a day at the beach!

Seaside is a perfect place for family fun, romantic getaways, outdoor enthusiasm, conventions, business meetings, family reunions… or simply to get away from it all. Seaside is truly a world-class destination! Seaside is the perfect place to have a New Year’s celebration. On thi Florida beach you can enjoy spectacular scenery during the day, breathtaking sunsets in the evening, and have fun around bonfires at night. On New Year’s Eve, Seaside’s beach is the place to be. Here you will create memories for a lifetime.

Winter Whale Watch Week happens in Seaside between December 26th and January 1st and falls on the peak of the southbound migration of Gray Whales. Winter migration has the highest numbers – about 18,000 Gray Whales migrate past the Oregon shoreline from mid-December to mid-January, up to 30 whales an hour. Humpback Whales can also be seen at the same time, but the size of their herd is only 1,100, and therefore they are more difficult to spot. This interim presents you with an incredible opportunity to see the majestic whales first hand – an experience that you will never forget!

Shell Island, Fl:
Shell Island is an undeveloped island, which lies between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay. It is located in Bay County, Panama City Beach, Florida. It is where the dolphins swim programs take place. The island’s pristine beauty and marine environment make Water Planet’s expeditions an enjoyable and exciting way to experience dolphins in their natural habitat.

In the emerald warm waters of Shell Island natural reserve, dolphins initiate contact with humans. These marine mammals are wild and free and have established a privileged relationship with human beings. If you wish, you will have the opportunity to explore the Island and the back bay, where you will be able to wade or snorkel on the shoals where most grass beds are. The seagrass beds are where most marine life starts. It is the bottom of the food chain. You will be able to collect seashells and to watch wild birds and game

St. Andrews State Recreational Area, Fl:
St. Andrew’s State Recreational Area is one of the most popular outdoor recreation spots in Florida. Named by Travel Magazine as “The World’s Best Beach,” in 1995, St. Andrews is well known for its sugar white sands and crystal-clear emerald green water. This 1,260 acre park is located on a peninsula with over 1 1/2 miles of Florida beach on the Gulf of Mexico and the Grand Lagoon . This park offers camping, swimming, canoeing, snorkeling, diving, hiking, picnicking and boat launching for the active park visitor.

Picnic sites are available in several locations on the Gulf beach and Grand Lagoon. Two fishing piers, the jetties and the convenient boat ramp provide many fishing opportunities. Nature trails lead through a number of plant communities where visitors may encounter wading birds, alligators and many small animals. You may wish to sun or pickup shells along the shores of Shell Island, a pristine barrier island just across the ship’s channel from the mainland. This 700-acre parcel of St. Andrews remains for the most part, undeveloped. Shuttle boats run to the island spring and summer.

St. George Island State Park, Fl:
Miles of undeveloped Florida beaches and emerald waters provide the perfect setting for this park. The park offers ample opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, canoeing, boating, hiking, camping, and nature study.

Two boat ramps provide access to Apalachee Bay where anglers can fish for flounder, redfish, sea trout, pompano, whiting, and Spanish mackerel. Few parks offer better opportunities for gulf coast shelling. Shore birds such as the snowy plover, least tern, black skimmer, and willet often nest along the park’s sandy shores and grass flats. The park has six large picnic shelters equipped with grills, tables, and restrooms. The campground features full-facility campsites; a primitive campsite can be accessed by trail or by private boat. Located on St. George Island, 10 miles southeast of Eastpoint, off U.S. 98.

St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge, Fl:
For both nudists who enjoy bathing in the buff and eco-tourists who like to keep their clothes on, St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge is the ideal. This virtually uninhabited location is only accessible by boat and consists of more than 12,000 acres of lake, marsh, dune, pine and hardwood. Established in 1968 as a waterfowl sanctuary, The St. Vincent Refuge is now home to more than 260 bird species, endangered bald eagles, red wolves and sea turtles.

The closest town is sleepy Apalachicola, so well known for its love of oysters and fishing that it’s not unusual for shops to close on Wednesday afternoons to let the locals get out on the water. Eighty miles of sand roads and 14 miles of Florida beaches along the south and east shores traverse this undeveloped barrier island, located just offshore, close to the mouth of the Apalachicola River. Upland slash pine forests, freshwater lakes and sloughs, tidal marsh, and dunes are just some of the natural communities found here. The sand roads and a small population of exotic sambar deer (Native to Southeast Asia) are reminders that this uninhabited island was once a private hunting preserve.