By Joe Rector

We’re home from vacation. Everything is unloaded and before long, I’ll have the sand out of shoes and suitcases. The weather was perfect. Highs were in the upper 70s to the low 80s. The rains hit on Monday and Tuesday, but we still found things to keep us busy. In all, the trip to Navarre Beach was a success.

With that said, I have to give the place a few minuses. For one, Navarre is a small place. The causeway is two lanes. Every day about 4:00 p.m., the traffic is terrible. Some folks claimed they spent up to two hours just to drive down Gulf Boulevard to the causeway. On weekends, the traffic stacks up the other way as new groups arrive for their vacations and locals crowd the pier to fish. Another delay in coming to the beach is the bird sanctuary along the road. Birds are nesting, and the speed limit is set at 20 mph. Getting to and from the places visitors stay can be exhausting and frustrating.

The beach is almost perfect. Located close to condos and motels, folks have little trouble maneuvering to a place to dump their gear and hit the water. The area is not as well-known as nearby beaches, so that means the crowds on the sand are much smaller. Of course, making the journey before schools empty for the summer ends cuts down on the number to teens who tend to be loud and rowdy. For the most part, Navarre Beach is a spot for families with small children and for oldsters like me.

We ate in most of the time simply because we didn’t want to fight the traffic. Most folks who had visited in years past suggested we go to Pensacola since the number of restaurants at Navarre is small, which makes wait times even longer. Our one venture out was to Scooter’s. The food was fantastic! If you get down here, make the trip to Scooter’s. Try the fried snapper or grilled grouper.

If what a person wants is a place that offers little entertainment but plenty of rest, Navarre Beach is the place to visit. Sleeping in is nice, especially when the rest of the day can be spent lazing around the beach. There’s plenty of people watching that can be done as well. For some reason, a swimsuit causes some strange actions. I’ve never seen so many females wearing skimpy suits and spend time trying to stretch tiny pieces of cloth across their backsides. They tugged at tops that slipped and slid over their oiled skin. Too many men my age were spotted wearing speedos that were hidden by big bellies that overhung them.

By the time you read this, I’ll be back home. I miss mowing the lawn and digging in the dirt. I hope to work at the golf course again this year, and Jim and I have several projects to complete this summer. By the end of the season, I’ll be ready for another beach trip. I’d like to go to Isle of Palms if an affordable condo is available. We’ll see. All I know is that a trip to the ocean renews a person’s spirit.