florida panhandle

We are looking to take our drifters out to the gulf in september and are looking to try out Navarre Beach or Perdido Key. They both look to be a little quieter that the Destin/Fort Walton area but we are curious about the water. Is it a beautiful there. Any suggestions. Also, has anyone stayed at a location there that would be yak friendly. A house or town house were we could drag the boats up to the deck. We are tired of portaging then up the wierdest ways to condos.

Choctawahatee Bay
I spend summers at the US Army recreational facility on the bay between Destin and FortWalton. It was beautiful, but that was 30 years.

I rememeber when there were just a few shacks on Destin Beach…

Navarre Beach
Been a few years, but we took the family to Navarre a couple of times. We stayed at the Holiday Inn (cause the kids love the pool & all). It isn’t a bad portage there - part of the parking lot is right up next to the beach, you could keep the boats locked on the car.

You’ve got the bay on one side and the ocean on the other. Navarre is nice because it is relatively desolate (at least, it is compared to other areas on the Gulf). Seems to me that water conditions are tough to judge anywhere on the Gulf coast. Sometimes you’ll have a beautiful Caribean like blue, while other times you’ve got more seaweed and junk than you’ve ever seen.

Navarre is also nice because the good restaurants & other “attractions” of Pensacola are only 15 or 20 minutes down the more or less empty beach road. Easy to get to, but just as easy to leave. I’m sure there are probably some houses / condos for rent in the area.

Second the Navarre idea,
because Perdido Key has become terribly built up in the last couple/3 years. There’s miserable traffic congestion and everything is crowded. Navarre Beach is a much better choice if you’re looking to avoid the crowds. Having said that, September might not be as bad–kids are back in school, vacationers mostly gone. Snowbirds are beginning to arrive, but that’s a better-behaved group in general.

Nice thing about beaches in this area is that if they’re too rough, you can always head over to the soundside, which is often somewhat calmer.

JuJu’s response
is right on. Both are nice, Perdido is the more touristy of the two, while Navarre tends to be mostly locals, even in the winter season. Rental condos -Gulf front- can be found easily at either location.

SHHhhhhhhhh this is a great area, lets not turn it into a Destin.


Apalachicola Bay
looks beautiful and wild, maybe more wild than you’re after. I’m going to try it on my next FL trip instead of the Everglades, my usual destination for a kayak trip. Good trip report on Apa. Bay in Seakayaker Mag. April 2003 issue.

They used to have the best Oysters in Apacacacola Bay…

Unfortunately it is slowly turning
into Destin. Navarre is my home, and while I hate the thought of it changing like destin has, I’m part of the problem. I first came to the area in the 70s (USAF Vet),and made it my home. All the same, I’m against the big-time developers. I found this link showing Destins development over the years a little shocking


Still, with the USAF range, and State controlled areas, there are many areas where nature and solitude can be found.

That Sucks
The US Army recreation faciltiy on Chotawahatchee Bay was willed to the Army by an old Army Sargent with no relatives. We started going there in the mid 1960’s

There was nothing in Destin then but one store that also doubled as a gas station and Marina…

That is a very nice clip. What a change.Thanks…We had a friend who flew up here this week and remarked about the developments " everywhere " as seen from the air. It’s coming, sad to see. When it gets like Destin I’ll take the money and move, we’re already looking for a new “undiscovered” location without going to Panama.

We’re in ther Midway area.


Some panhandle paddling photos
See at my Webshots site:


Does Cocoa ever ride in your kayak?
HAHAHAHA!! Your dog looks a bit too big for hatches! I guess he does the DOG paddle eh?

Cocoa in the kayak? Never happen, as you gathered from the photos. I’d have to have a MUCH larger cockpit. Probably need a boat with higher weight capacity too. Hah!

But I am thinking of getting him his own PFD this summer–he doesn’t always know when he’s had enough swimming and needs a break. And they say labs are so smart!

Destin/Ft Walton photo
Here’s some pictures of the bay between Ft. Walton and Destin http://www.loup-garou.net/4th.html (poor photos) and the Destin surf http://www.loup-garou.net/destin2004.html. Gulf Shores is also nice http://www.loup-garou.net/gulfshoresapril2003.html


Panhandle Surf

– Last Updated: May-13-04 2:31 PM EST –

Thanks for the photos...

The Panhandle is not known for epic surf, but it is where I learned to surf longboards when I was kid. About 35 years ago now. I probably had some of the best sessions of my life on the Panhandle.

I better stop the trip down memory lane before I star remembering the young girls on the beach...

Nice- looking kayaks!