HIDDEN GEMS – Santa Rosa County

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.


An aerial view of Navarre Beach
An aerial view of Navarre Beach

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.


Milton Town

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.


Texas Roadhouse

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 .


Impress friends back home with a piece of trivia about Santa Rosa. The colorful town of Milton apparently carried some more descriptive names in the past. Among them were Jernigan’s Landing, named after an 1830s-pioneer named Benjamin Jernigan; Scratch Ankle, which referred to the results inflicted by briars growing along the banks of the Blackwater River; Hard Scrabble; and eventually, Mill Town, because of the lumber mill that employed many citizens, which was eventually shortened to Milton.

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