Navarre Visit

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lawhon1
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Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:54 pm

Not sure if this is the right place for a post like this. I apologize if it's not.

My family is renting a townhouse on Navarre Beach starting on May 13. We're coming down all the way from West Virginia. My wife and I stayed in Destin for a few days at the end of our honeymoon and we fell in love with the area. Navarre seemed to be a little quieter.

Having said that, I'm hoping to get some input from the locals. I don't care much for online reviews from people visiting. I like to know what the locals prefer.

So here are my questions.

1. What is weather normally like in mid-May? Water temps? Will it be warm enough for kids to swim a little? Any problems with jellyfish this time of year?

2. Best seafood restaurant in the area?

3. Best seafood market where we can go and buy seafood to cook at the house?

4. Places to rent paddle boards?

5. Best dolphin tour? Deep sea fishing?

6. Best pizza?

7. Best overall restaurants?

8. Anything else that you would recommend would be appreciated. My wife and I like trying new restaurants and seeing things from the local point of view.

I appreciate any feedback.
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Going Nuts
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Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:59 am

I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions, but here are a few from a lifelong Pensacola resident with a family home in Navarre as well....

1. Mid May is our favorite time of year to be at the beach. Water temps are still cool but plenty warm enough to swim. The weather overall is good (no problems with tropical systems, etc.) Jellys can come and go at any point in the year but rarely are they bad enough to keep you out of the water in the early summer.
2. Restaurants we like on Pensacola Beach are the Grand Marlin (casual dressy) and Redfish Bluefish (mostly outdoors, very casual, great for kids). The Fish House in downtown Pensacola is our favorite in town.
3. Hands down, Joe Patti's Seafood on Main Street in Pensacola. Combine this trip with a Fish House lunch/dinner. Just down the road from each other.
4. Paddle Boards, etc., maybe Juana's on Navarre Bch? I think there is also a small rental shop as well on the main road.
5. Destin for both.
6.
7. See #2, but on Navarre Beach, we like Cactus Flower on the Hwy 98 side, also a sushi restaurant on 98 I can't remember the name of. (Sailor's Grill for anything other than a lunchtime sandwich just isn't worth it.)
8. In Pensacola, catch a Blue Angel practice and the Navy Museum during the week. In Destin, my wife loves to shop at the Commons and the Outlet, and we like to go to Harbor Walk to walk around the docks and have a lunch, etc. They also have a good fireworks show on Thursdays? (not sure about the day). There are also two snorkel reefs at Navarre, one in the gulf, one in the sound that are a lot of fun.

Just my thoughts. I'm sure plenty more to come. Have a great time!
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bjrichus
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Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:12 am

Going Nuts wrote:Redfish Bluefish
We went there for the first time ever last year and it was OK but don't sit in the sun without lots of sunscreen...
Going Nuts wrote:Sailor's Grill for anything other than a lunchtime sandwich just isn't worth it.
Agreed. Although they have a "new" menu with a couple of things on it that I want to try out the value factor is less than great as its mostly too expensive for what it is. I suspect they just have very high overheads to cover is why...
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Going Nuts
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Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:38 am

bjrichus wrote:
Going Nuts wrote:Redfish Bluefish
We went there for the first time ever last year and it was OK but don't sit in the sun without lots of sunscreen...
Going Nuts wrote:Sailor's Grill for anything other than a lunchtime sandwich just isn't worth it.
Agreed. Although they have a "new" menu with a couple of things on it that I want to try out the value factor is less than great as its mostly too expensive for what it is. I suspect they just have very high overheads to cover is why...

I've only been to Redfish Bluefish at night, so I would agree about the sunscreen in the daytime.

Re Sailor's Grill.... That has to be one of the best locations on Navarre Beach to have one of the lamest menus. I wish they'd decide to serve local seafood, oysters, etc., 'cause we sure like the venue.
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Pete
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Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:51 am

1. For Tracking Water Temps:
http://www.surf-forecast.com/breaks/Nav ... er/seatemp
Should be upper 70's, pushing 80 by mid-May.

2. Agree. (but there are several others - to include the Destin direction)

3. Yes, but if need on short notice - don't underestimate Navarre Seafood Market - Hwy 98, west of Publix, short of Post Office (next to carwash).

6. We like NYPD for pizza. In strip mall across from Publix (south side of 98).
(same place, Vine Wine Bar = wine/beer and tapas! 2 for 1 first wine/beer 3-6 PM)
Ye Old Brother's Brewery in Holley is pretty good. Micro brewery, pizza, and more.

7. For fine dining/special occasions - Jackson's (same owners as Fish House/Atlas Oysters), or Skopelo's at New World, or Global Grill, or V-Pauls, all in downtown P'Cola. (going to Jackson's today! Happy Valentine's to all.)
Oysters - Peg Leg Pete's on P'cola Beach and Dave's Oyster House on Hwy 98 - about 10-miles west of Navarre Bridge.
Also, Bella Luna (Italian) about 3-miles west on 98.
For fun McGuire's, Crabs, and Flounders - same owners. (HUGE portions)
We also like Samurai for Japanese (same general area as Cactus Flower) and a couple of Thai places.
Slippery Mermaid is the little Sushi place across street already mentioned.
We also feel the restaurant at the golf course (Creekside Southern Grill) is under-appreciated - lunches everyday, dinner Wed-Fri evenings, and a Sunday Brunch. Since we live here (golf course) and can get to beach anytime, we do a lot of dining out exploring more widely.
Oh, Alphy's for breakfast! (or lunch)

8. As mentioned. But there is a lot of other. Blue Wahoo's baseball. Theater at Sanger. Canoeing the Blackwater River area. Stop into the Navarre Park Visitor' Center and check the brochures (and Kenny's photos).
Cheers, Pete
Go Vikings!
johnandkristie
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Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:57 pm

It's a great time to visit, as spring break is over and Memorial Day isn't here yet.
Don't forget Scooters, just up 87 a mile or so from 98. They have fantastic fish, so very fresh, very casual atmosphere. Not sure why they didn't just call it Stewbys like their other location in Fort Walton but I've had to wait on my meal in the past on occasion because they were still cutting the fish!!

If you want to drive to Pensacola, Peg Leg Pete's has very good food, very casual, and great oysters. Good place to eat as an alternative to Grand Marlin (we go back and forth each time we fly back to Minnesota).

And one of our all-time favorites is Alli's in Fort Walton just before the bridge going over the causeway. The grouper is our favorite, even for an Italian restaurant.

As to the weather, don't fret as it is usually pretty nice. Don't ignore the option of paddle boarding in the sound. I'm not all that confident on my board yet but having shallow water that is relatively flat is nice and going along the shore west into the national park is a really cool time. Can hardly wait to ride my fat tire bike on the harder sand found on that side of the island!
John and Kristie Frerich

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jandd92
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Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:49 pm

Agree strongly w/Joe Patti's.

Also have to recommend Sage Paddle Co - 850-396-3044. Nice boards, terrific service! They will help you decide if you should try the gulf or sound & provide good instruction for all.

Check out the Turtle Conservation Center - great for kids & adults.

Enjoy your trip & plan on bringing your calendar so you can plan the next Navarre visit!
In every grain of sand, there is a story of the earth.
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bjrichus
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Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:21 pm

Going Nuts wrote:Re Sailor's Grill.... That has to be one of the best locations on Navarre Beach to have one of the lamest menus. I wish they'd decide to serve local seafood, oysters, etc., 'cause we sure like the venue.
The location is terrific. Could do with more parking and the restrooms with a modernization, but its origins are "just" a bar, so...

HOWEVER... The food is all Sysco (or whatever they call themselves now) supplied. In case people don't know, they are one of the few main restaurant food suppliers. You choose packages of items prepared for you to just dunk in the fryer for 4 minutes or so and 'plate' for the punter on order.

Nothing is "fresh" or "local" in most of the restaurants out there these days. The cynics would say that when a restaurant claims something is "fresh", they mean, its fresh out of the freezer and "local" means the truck comes from a warehouse closer than 50 miles away.

I don't think there are any really local fishermen than can supply quantity and quality at the price point Juana's would be able to handle. Let face it, none of us want to pay $20 for a plain fish sandwich and whoever would supply local seafood, would need to supply them 365 days a year. That's the really hard part...
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PensacolaKid
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Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:50 pm

What Going Nuts said!! As for pizza...you can get that at home. Leave the pizza and sub with more fish.
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PensacolaKid
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Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:56 pm

Sailors Grill does indeed lack culinarily speaking.......badly. Great views, great music, great locale but the owners know they don't have to be good at food. They make their money in drinks. Breakfast is not bad. Dinner...Sysco bar food. Don't waste your money. Other places others have already addressed.
lawhon1
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Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:06 am

Oh man...I don't think I can just have pizza at home. I have to try the best pizza everywhere I go. Trust me, we'll have plenty of seafood. We are hoping to find fresh stuff to cook at home for most of the week we are there.


Thanks everybody for all of the suggestions. I'm sure we'll try several of them. Keep throwing them out there.
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Pete
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Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:06 am

PensacolaKid wrote:Sailors Grill does indeed lack culinarily speaking.......badly. Great views, great music, great locale but the owners know they don't have to be good at food. They make their money in drinks. Breakfast is not bad. Dinner...Sysco bar food. Don't waste your money. Other places others have already addressed.
An exception for those here in off-season. Sailor's does have a pretty good chef, when she is not busy.
During the winter, every other Friday they have had a "wine tasting" and a "chef's special" dinner. They have been quite good -- definitely NOT "Sysco"!
They have very small kitchens, and when busy - as noted - it is basically fast-food. If on beach and need a bite - saves travel - but just "bar food".
Cheers, Pete
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ATLhoosier
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Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:31 pm

For fresh seafood I have to put in a plug for Dave's. Dave's Oyster Bar and Grill has never disappointed for fresh seafood, and with a Gulf Breeze location, it's closer to Navarre Beach than Pensacola and with less of a touristy crowd as well. For "overall restaurant" Bella Luna gets my vote!
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lawhon1
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Mon May 08, 2017 9:33 am

So my family is headed that way on Saturday. How's the water temp looking for next week? I saw that it was 75 degrees at the pier. Is that warm enough to swim?

Also, I appreciate all of the suggestions on this post. I'm looking forward to trying some of the restaurants and hopefully paddle boarding for the first time. Wish I could go out on a fishing trip but may have to settle for fishing from the beach. Those fishing boats are expensive.
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PensacolaKid
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Mon May 08, 2017 9:51 am

lawhon1,

The air temps are supposed to be in the lower 80's to maybe 85/86. That is plenty warm enough stand the 75 degree water temps. Might be a bit chilly upon entering but you'll warm up.

As for the fishing, kind of hard to beat the pier fishing but if you want an economical offshore trip and don't mind a few handfuls of others on the boat with you, try one of the party boats in Destin or Pensacola. Quicker getting to the fishing grounds in Destin but they are about $50 a head and they clean the fish for you.

Also, remember, the Blues are flying their practice schedule next Tuesday and Wednesday. If you can, make a show (11:30 am). It is free and well worth the drive to PNAS.
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