Just what is the Santa Rosa Sound? What is the water and sand like on your beach?
These are questions we field a lot from prospective guests. Hopefully the following will help explain, (with help from photos) what you can expect on our beach if you book one or both of our homes, The Seahorse Retreat and The Palm Breeze Beach House.
The Santa Rosa Sound is a sound connecting Pensacola Bay and Choctawhatchee Bay. It runs 33 miles long; its widest point is 1.8 miles across and its narrowest is 200 yards. The thin strip of barrier island that separates it from the Gulf of Mexico is Santa Rosa Island, and you can see it from our homes as well as the Gulf of Mexico beyond it. It’s about one mile across from our beach to the island.
Santa Rosa Island is unique in that it has different uses. On the South end, near Destin, is Fort Walton Beach, a popular destination for beach-goers. Then, Fort Walton ends, and for 12 miles the island is owned by the US Air Force, which it uses for military purposes. Other than a tower or a few unassuming buildings dotted here and there, the island is undeveloped so it looks wild and pristine (that unobstructed view in the photo below is what you will see from our homes). Then you’ll find the beautiful community of Navarre Beach, which stretches about five miles. And after the last house on Navarre Beach, the road meanders through the Gulf Islands National Seashore, with the Gulf on one side and the Sound on the other, until you arrive at Pensacola Beach. On the other side of Pensacola Beach you’ll pick up the road again that leads through the remainder of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which ends at Fort Pickens.
So, now that you have a feel for the lay of the land and the water, let’s get to what the beach and water are like where we’re located. First, the sand. It’s the same white sand you’ll find on the Gulf side - plushy and clean. The water is clear, too - not the emerald color of the Gulf but you can liken it to a lake where you can see the bottom from 4-5 feet.
Now, the great thing about our location is it is very shallow for quite a long ways, so it’s ideal for kids (and adults!). Even at the end of our dock it’s only about 3-4 feet deep (see photo below where I took a picture standing 20 feet from shore in the water looking back at the homes).
In addition, there are no drop-offs like in the Gulf and no undertow! And guess, what? We’ve never seen the jellyfish that you almost always encounter at the Gulf beaches. So you can pretty much always swim in the Sound. And it’s a perfect place to kayak or paddle board!