News

New 'Must Have' Guidebook for Snorkelers and Divers Highlights Emerald Coast Areas

This in-depth guide to what you can find UNDER the beautiful Gulf waters along the Emerald Coast.

Over 137 sites are revealed in this book, from shipwrecks, to artificial reef sites. This guide is the perfect companion for locals or visitors to our area, creating just another reason to not only enjoy the beauty above but to explore the unseen beauty below.  Sites in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Bay County are covered.

This guide has gone into publication and is scheduled to be available for purchase in May.

To find this MUST HAVE Guide in the May/June time period visit your local dive shops, bookstores as well as Amazon.

...

Tunes on the Dunes Summer Concert Series Coming Back in June!

This popular Summer Concert Series, held on Navarre Beach is returning this year!  After cancelling the entire season last year due to COVID, everyone's excited to be getting back to normal!

Although the schedule has not yet been released, we do know that the Season begins June 3rd & ends August 12th.

Concerts are held every Thursday and are held just east of the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier.  These are FREE Concerts so why not get out to enjoy the cool breezes and music on the Beach?

Interest from tourists planning on coming to the Beach is high, calling the Chamber to find out when this popular event will come back so they can begin to schedule their upcoming vacations!

Stay tuned!  The schedule will be announced here once it's released!

...

Santa Rosa County Finally Reaches Settlement with Owners of Delapidated Navarre Beach Property

Located on the West End of Navarre Beach, this dilapidated Brick home is the last house on the south before you enter Gulf Islands National Seashore.

For years, since the devastating effect from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, this home has sat with no repairs made, windows broken, graffiti written and has been an eyesore these past almost 17 years.

Neighbors have been complaining for years that, because of the boarded up home, their property values have gone down.

Finally, Santa Rosa County lawyers and the homeowners have reached an agreement to bring this home back up to code.

This 4 phase, 180 day timeline has been set for the Homeowners to complete needed repairs.

Per the agreement, by September or October all repairs will have been made.  Hopefully by then all parties will be satisfied.

...

Navarre Beach! Tourism is up and new improvements on the Beach being Discussed

The weather is warming up and the Pandemic is waning.  Navarre Beach is Open for Business and because of its slower pace, it is fast becoming the place to be with residents and tourists looking for more peace and quiet.

Despite the Pandemic, Navarre Beach only saw a 10% decrease in Tourism.

Estimates for this Fiscal Year, Bed Tax is expected to be over $4 million in revenue.

The Tourist Development Director for Santa County has presented ideas in how a central location on the beach could look.  Retail space, a playground and an amphitheater are just a few of the considerations being made.

Enthusiasm and praise came after a presentation, by the Director to the Santa Rosa County Commissioners, was finished.

As with any plan, some need additional information and the next step is to bring the public into the conversation.

There's a long way to go for this vision to become complete, but now that ideas have been presented, it's full steam ahead to improve this beautiful and often underrated beach.

Stay tuned for more!

...

Southwest Airlines Adding New Flights for Destin


Southwest Airlines makes a HUGE announcement last month by adding NEW flights to and from the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport.

Flights will begin May 6th to the following new routes:

Nashville, TN (BNA) - Three times/day - Fares as low as $69
Dallas, TX (DAL) - Once/day - Fares as low as $69
Baltimore, MD (BWI) - Once/day - Fares as low as $79

Flights begin June 6th to:
Chicago, IL - Once/day - Fares as low as $79

With Florida wide open, and Summer around the corner your beach options have now expanded

...

Walton County Board of Commissioners to be accepting bids for new Transportation Program


The Walton County Board of Commissioners have given the "go ahead" to start accepting bids for a new East to West Public Transportation program coming soon!

This new pilot program will begin with six vehicles running on two routes, one from Miramar Beach to the regional beach access at the county line and the other coming from Hwy 283 Grayton parking lot to Eastern Lake Road.

Anyone who has visited this area knows how backed up traffic can get and these are two of the most congested areas  during the Summer.

Scheduled to begin in June and July, hours of operation would be from Sunday to Thursday, 9:00 am - 10:00 pm and Friday and Saturday from 9:00 am to Midnight.

After operating for awhile, assessments will be made about whether it's successful or not, any improvements that may be made, so for now, it's a temporary program.

More information as this transportation program moves forward will follow.

...

2 Area Beaches Make the Top 25 Beaches to visit List for 2021!


Trip Advisor recently released their list of Top 25 Beaches to visit for 2021 and 2 of our area Beaches have made the coveted list!

#13 - Henderson Beach State Park - Open 365 days/year
17000 Emerald Coast Pkwy | Destin

This unique, protected state park includes 30 ft. sugary white sand dunes,  60 campsites, fishing, nature trails and hours of family fun in the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

#15 - Pensacola Beach
With nearby Dining, Entertainment, Shopping and the beach is just steps away!  Enjoy water sports, including swimming, fishing, snorkeling, diving, sailing and more!  Click here to see everything this beautiful beach has to offer!

We're proud of all of our area beaches along the Gulf Coast and urge you to visit ANY of them.  You won't be disappointed!

...

Construction of 2nd Phase of Pier Park Crossings is Complete in Panama City Beach!

CONSTRUCTION COMPLETE ON
360 UNIT PIER PARK CROSSINGS
IN PANAMA CITY BEACH

The St. Joe Company announced on Tuesday that construction is finally completed on the NEW apartment complex in Panama City Beach.  Construction began in December 2019.

This private apartment community is conveniently located on the West End with nearby shopping, entertainment and outdoor activities and, of course, the nearby beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.

Choose from 1, 2 or 3 Bedroom floor plans that include stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, 9 ft. Ceilings, Screened porches and more.

This gated community features Zero-Entry Saltwater Swimming Pool, 24-Hour Fitness Center, Pet Spa and Park, Movie Theater, Cyber Cafe & Coffee Bar and much more.

...

The St. Joe Company Sells all 23 Homesites in First Offering at WaterSound Camp Creek!

*businesswire - A Berkshire Hathaway Company - February 17, 2021

February 17, 2021 04:37 PM ET

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla.--()--The St. Joe Company (NYSE: JOE) (“St. Joe”) sold out the first release of homesites in the Watersound Camp Creek community at an average price of approximately $446,000. This offering of 23 homesites in this initial phase was direct to buyers through the community’s website beginning in October 2020. “We began executing purchase agreements on day one,” stated Bridget Precise, Senior Vice President of Residential Real Estate for St. Joe. “Demand was extremely high and the response to the online-only process was very positive. We anticipate a second online release of 38 homesites this spring.”

The Watersound Camp Creek community is St. Joe’s newest residential development ideally located off South Watersound Parkway adjacent to Camp Creek Golf Club and the adjacent amenities that are being constructed and within a short walk, bike or golf cart ride to Scenic Highway 30-A and the Gulf of Mexico or to the developing Watersound Town Center. This gated community with a restriction on short-term rentals is planned for 262 custom homesites ranging from approximately...

Laws Strengthened for Double-Red Flags Flying on the Beach

*Northwest Florida Daily News | Jim Thompson | Published 7:00 am ET 2/18/21 | Updated 8:53 am ET 2/21/21



SANTA ROSA BEACH — Walton County commissioners are satisfied — for now, anyway — with a change to the county's beach activities ordinance that details what constitutes being in the water when double-red flags are flying on beaches and the surf is closed.

Commissioners last week unanimously approved a number of changes to the ordinance, including a tangential definition of what constitutes being in the water when double-red flags are flying.

The new language replaces an earlier proposed amendment that would have defined being in the water as being knee-deep in the Gulf of Mexico.

To read the entire article click here

...

Walton County Commissioners give Unanimous Approval for new development

Walton County Commissioners Approve New Hardware Store
in Santa Rosa Beach

At their February 9th Commissioners meeting, unanimous approval was given for a NEW 18,000 Sq. Ft. Ace Home Helpers Hardware store to be located near the Publix grocery on Hwy 98.  Approval was also given for another, yet to be determined, 9,000 Sq. Ft. Building for development.

Access to the new store would be through the Publix parking lot.

A number of minor issues will be cleared up and addressed by the Technical Review Committee and the Design Review Board and Planning Commission.

Residents expressed concerns that the new development could hurt their home values.

...

Deadline to Homestead in Florida is Monday, March 1st!

ATTENTION ALL FLORIDA HOMEOWNERS!!!

DEADLINE for Filing is Monday, March 1st!

For those of you who are NEW Florida Homeowners, NOW is the time to apply for your Homestead Exemption for Property taxes!  Military members also get an exemption.

To make sure YOU qualify for the exemption click here.

Here are links to Gulf Coast County's Property Appraiser's website to file online.

...

Hwy 399 Between Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach FINALLY Open Again!

Hwy 399 from Navarre Beach to Pensacola Beach Now Open!

Over Five Months ago Hurricane Sally left the road between Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach damaged and closed.  On Friday, February 12th, with cars lined up to drive the beautiful Gulf Islands National Seashore, at 8:00 am the road was opened to Passenger Vehicles ONLY.  No RV's, Commercial Trucks, or oversized vehicles are allowed for now.

For months, work has been going on to repair the Opal Beach Pavilions, parking lot, restrooms, road repairs and tons of sand removed from the roads.  Permanent road repairs will begin later on in the year.

There's still much work to be done for it to be back to normal, but for now access to the restaurants of Pensacola Beach is back!

...

New Multi-Family Development Breaks Ground in Destin

*by Stephanie Rebman - Managing Editor, Birmingham Business Journal | February 11, 2021, 1:16 am EST

Artist Rendering of The Primrose

New 288-unit Luxury Community Breaks Ground in Destin

A Birmingham multifamily development and investment company has broken ground on a new Florida development.

Crest Residential is building a 288-unit luxury multifamily community in the Santa Rosa Beach submarket of Destin, Florida, slated for completion in fall 2021.

The Primrose is a gated, coastal-inspired community on 37 acres that features 12 floor plans ranging from 553 square feet to 1,909 square feet available in studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The developer will also offer carriage homes and townhomes.

Click here to learn more.



...

Navarre Beach Pier FINALLY to get a Restroom!

Long Awaited Restroom on Navarre Beach Pier
Ready for Installation

Who would have thought that it would take 5 years to get a restroom for Florida's longest fishing pier?

Finally, after facing major roadblocks, Deck replacement, service lines installed, and environmental permits, all repairs have been made!

Due to the location where this restroom will be placed, and in consideration of possible hurricanes, this unique restroom comes on wheels and can be easily moved should bad weather arrive.

This restroom is wheelchair accessible and includes a Diaper Changing Station, running water and electricity.  This Tech Savvy unit also sends an electronic notice to the Pier staff letting them know that it's time for servicing.

Installation should occur with the next couple of weeks.

...

Exciting NEW 30A Restaurant in Alys Beach!

*Published in Panama City News Herald January 21, 2021

New Restaurant in Alys Beach is Now Open!

ALYS BEACH — Quest Hospitality Concepts LLC announced the debut of 30A’s newest restaurant, The Citizen, a coastal tavern and restaurant open last Friday, Jan. 22.

Situated on the street level of The May in Alys Beach's Town Center, The Citizen presents approachable and innovative cuisine featuring locally and regionally sourced fare inspired by coastal communities from around the globe. As a celebration of community and a gathering place for locals and visitors alike, The Citizen boasts a dynamic food and beverage program paired with elegant and modern interior design.

Overseeing The Citizen’s conception and operations is long-time industry veteran Jeremy Walton. Having worked with the Alys Beach community since 2014, Walton brings more than 25 years of experience in the food, beverage, and hospitality industry, including stints at luxury hotel and restaurant groups, including Auberge Resorts, Montage International, and Sea Island. He has also served as a consulting partner for James Beard Award-Winning Chef, Chris Hastings.

To learn more and what's on the menu, CLICK HERE.

...

Navarre Beach Tourism Surges in November During the Pandemic

NAVARRE BEACH SEES
RECORD TOURISM IN NOVEMBER

After suffering through the dismal Spring months of 2020, when most of the country was in lockdown due to the Pandemic, Navarre Beach Tourism soared.

When Florida began to reopen their doors, it was evident that vacationers were eager to get back to normal after being shut inside, and go out and play and enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches around.

The numbers are astonishing with tax revenue being up almost 27% in October and 55% in November.  Total tax revenues for the year came in at $3.5 million, being only $400K less than 2019.

Unfortunately, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key didn't fare as well.  Tax revenues on Pensacola Beach were up, but just by 3% in November.  Perdido Key's revenue dropped by 30% in November.

So, why did Navarre Beach do so well but Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key did not?  Most contribute it to the fact that the Three-Mile Bridge was closed due to hurricane damage. Also contributing could be that Navarre Beach only has one hotel while Pensacola Beach and Perdido are filled with hotels, which were closed. ...