My husband and I decided to take the long way home from Pensacola last weekend. We started our journey driving east on Hwy 399 toward Navarre, a lonely stretch of road where the sand creeps out onto the pavement and blows into drifts that look for all the world like snow. The highway hugs the beach, and when you enter Gulf Islands National Seashore, the horizon is unfettered by buildings or power lines. When you turn off your car you can hear the melody of the surf and the wind rustling through the sea oats.
Maybe that is an exaggeration but the beach sure feels like it. I believe there is an admittance charge. We have a senior pass so our fee was waived. Whatever the charge it would be worth it and I believe the charge would cover multiple days. There are nice parking lots located next to covered open areas where you can sit and picnic. There are also bathrooms and showering stations so you can clean up after walking the beach. People bring their lawn chairs, umbrellas, beach toys and relax. There are not hundreds of people there and there are no businesses or residences on the shoreline. It’s just you walking the shore, looking for seashells, sand dollars (we scored 2), seeing the pelicans fly overhead, looking for dolphins. They were out there; unfortunately we did not see them but were told about them. Nothing but the sound of the waves. It is so peaceful words can’t describe. We went here 2 days in a row during the day. The next day we went to Destin. Hundreds of people on the shoreline. Building after building on the shoreline. Not any seashells. Went back to Gulf Islands National Seashore near Navarre after dinner and it was wonderful. So quiet, so relaxing. And if the sky is just right, the sunset makes it the perfect ending!!!!