Image from Flickr
Navarre, Florida, is a beautiful beach town known for its sugar-white sand and gorgeous, emerald water. Surrounded by state parks and the Gulf Islands National Seashore, the pristine landscape makes for scenic views like no other. The beauty of this remote beach town, however, goes much deeper than the surface.
Underneath the small, welcoming white caps of the Gulf of Mexico and Santa Rosa Sound in Navarre lies three man-made reefs. The reefs attract a variety of animals such as different types of colorful fish, coral, octopuses, and sea turtles, creating a whole underwater world just waiting to be uncovered! So, grab your goggles and your snorkel gear, and Explore the Best Turtle Reefs in Navarre.
Explore the Best Turtle Reefs in Navarre…
About the Reefs
Image from snorkelnavarrebeach.com
The Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary is home to three, near-shore reefs:
East Sound Side Reef
The East Sound Side Reef is the smallest of the three reefs with 28 structures. The structures are spaced 10ft. apart in 12ft. of water, with the top of the structure at 7ft. below the surface.
This site is located northwest of the Sandpiper Pavilion, and is the most accessible of the three, as there is clear signage showing the exact location of the reef. Snorkeling the East Sound Side Reef is a great way to explore the natural beauty and wildlife of the area in the calmer waters of the Santa Rosa Sound.
All snorkeled out? Relax under the shade with your very own beach chair and umbrella rentals
West Sound Side Reef
The West Sound Side Reef is also located in the sound, directly north of the Red Drum Pavilion and the Navarre Beach Science Station. This location is more geared towards divers because it is further out than the East Sound Side Reef, and has signage prohibiting motorized vessels from entering the area.
Gulf Side Reef
The Gulf Side Reef is located in the Gulf of Mexico, directly south of the Sea Oat Pavilion. Once on the beach, head east about 100ft. and the reef is located just past the second sandbar.
This is the perfect place to put on your goggles and see animals such as dolphins, fish, and sea turtles! If snorkeling and diving isn’t your thing, that’s okay! Many visitors to the reefs enjoy paddling out and fishing from their kayak or paddleboard, as well.
Paddle out today on a Navarre Beach Kayak Rental
Different Types of Turtles you can Expect to See
Image from the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary
While there are plenty of other “fish in the sea,” one magical thing about the reefs is that they attract many different types of threatened and endangered species of sea turtles. Here are a few sea turtles you can expect to encounter when exploring the best turtle reefs in Navarre:
The Loggerhead is a threatened species in Florida, named for its large head and powerful jaws. They can usually be found in open waters, reefs, and sounds, and average 300-400 pounds.
The Green Sea Turtle is also a threatened species in Florida, and gets its name from its green coloring. These gentle giants can weigh up to 600 pounds, and are found nearshore and in the sound.
Image from Wikipedia
The Kemp’s Ridley is endangered worldwide, and is named for the fisherman who identified the species. Kemp’s Ridley can be found in closer to shore in the sound, and usually weighs around 85 pounds.
*Please keep in mind most species of sea turtles are threatened, endangered, and protected. It is illegal to touch, feed, or interfere with them.
Image from Wikimedia
Whichever reef you decide to explore, you’ll be sure to encounter nature’s beauty at its finest, and make memories that will last a lifetime. From the incredible wildlife to the stunning landscape, Navarre’s reefs have what it takes to awaken the inner nature-enthusiast in us all.
Discover what else Navarre has to offer with TripShock’s Navarre, Florida, Visitors Guide