Florida Snapshots: Santa Rosa Island

This quiet barrier island encompasses miles of pristine beaches.


On a sunny summer day, it’s easy to see how Florida’s Emerald Coast gets its name. Lit from below by sunlight reflecting off powder-white sand, the clear waters of the shallows take on brilliant shades of green, then transition to a rich royal blue farther offshore.

This portion of the Gulf Coast includes a number of coastal parks and wildlife preserves, ensuring that many miles of beachfront will never see development. One favorite destination that’s within easy driving distance of both Pensacola and Destin, and not overshadowed by condominiums, is Navarre Beach.

Located near the mid point of the coastal barrier island of Santa Rosa, this quiet beach community is tucked between the protected lands of the Gulf Shores National Seashore and Navarre Beach Marine Park, with nothing to east or west but sand and surf. From the beachfront parking lot at the end of Highway 339 Causeway, a short walk down the beach will earn you private views.