Santa Rosa County: Hid­den Gems

2017 Travel Guide to Florida - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - BY STEVE WIN­STON

Blessed by na­ture and filled with in­ter­est­ing his­toric spots and a dol­lop of en­joy­able at­trac­tions thrown in for good mea­sure, Santa Rosa County’s plea­sures are nat­u­rally beau­ti­ful and re­flect Florida’s small-town charms.

DO

A visit to Santa Rosa County is not com­plete with­out a stop at Navarre Beach, one of the most beau­ti­ful in the Florida Pan­han­dle, with the long­est fish­ing pier on the Gulf of Mex­ico, or at Gulf Is­lands Na­tional Seashore, one of only 10 such seashores in Amer­ica. And Black­wa­ter River State Park prom­ises a view of un­spoiled, primeval Florida. At each of these spe­cial places, you can com­bine nat­u­ral beauty with a host of recre­ational op­tions.

Santa Rosa County doesn’t lack for mod­ern at­trac­tions. The 50-acre Gulf Breeze Zoo high­lights the re­gion’s wild side and pro­vides shel­ter to an­i­mals from around the world. The Navarre Beach Ma­rine Sci­ence Sta­tion and Navarre Beach Sea Tur­tle Con­ser­va­tion Cen­ter both of­fer great fam­ily fun with im­mer­sive hands-on ex­pe­ri­ences.

SHOP

If you’re look­ing for a one-of-a-kind trea­sure to bring home from your trip, head for the shops in the his­toric town of Mil­ton, where walk­ing the streets is akin to walk­ing through a liv­ing his­tory book.

EAT AND PLAY

Later on, when you’re han­kerin’ for some rib-stickin’ food, take your ap­petite to Texas Road­house or the aptly named Pork and Spoon, both lo­cated in his­toric Mil­ton.

TOP: Pad­dling with Ad­ven­tures Un­lim­ited in Santa Rosa County. CEN­TER: Hip­pos at the Gulf Breeze Zoo.

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