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Short Review of Navarre, Florida
Navarre (population 34,000) is located between Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola on the Florida Panhandle's Santa Rosa Sound. It started out as a bedroom community for these two cities and is close to several military bases, including Eglin Air Force Base and Naval Air Base Pensacola.
Thirty-eight percent of locals are age 45 or better, and most residents hold conservative views. Thirty-one percent hold at least a four year college degree. The city has some racial diversity, and the crime rate meets the national average. The cost of living is 12% above the national average. Navarre has grown by a whopping 325% within the last two decades.
The median home price is $250,000. Housing stock includes concrete block ranch ramblers, single story Mediterraneans, oceanfront condos and more.
Life in Navarre is leisurely and unassuming, and much of it revolves around Navarre Beach, which is on the other side of Santa Rosa Sound. Boasting a stretch of exceptionally white sand kissed by the Gulf's emerald waters, Navarre Beach and Navarre itself draw tourists who come to swim and surf along this part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which has miles of undeveloped dunes and beaches. Canoeing on the Blackwater River that meanders through the thick foliage of nearby Blackwater River State Forest is also a popular pastime.
Navarre's downtown is small but quaint, with ice cream shops, cafes, bookstores and other retailers. Weekly summer concerts in the park, the Taste of Navarre and Christmas in Navarre are a few of the local events. The public Club at Hidden Creek offers 18 holes of golf. The Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary is a recently completed reef project that local leaders hope will attract SCUBA divers. Most jobs are tourist related, and many residents work in Pensacola or Fort Walton Beach.
The E.H. Pullham Senior Center is across the street from the Navarre Public Library and offers a variety of programs and activities. The library is a member of the Santa Rosa County Library System and has guest lecturers, classes, pancake breakfasts, book sales and public computers with internet access. Getting to the center and the library has to be accomplished via automobile, though, since Navarre does not have a public transportation system and the county system is limited.
Navarre also does not have a hospital of its own, but it has two health clinics, and seven hospitals are within 20 miles. Fort Walton Beach Medical Center (15 miles) has won awards for excellence in spine surgery and is a primary stroke center. Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola (18 miles) is a Level II Adult Trauma Center, a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence and has won a raft of awards. Both are accredited by the Joint Commission and both accept Medicare patients.
Winters are short and mild, and summers are hot and humid. Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 40s, 50s and 60s. On average, the area receives 65 inches of rain per year.
Navarre is built on low-lying sandy soil and is occasionally threatened by hurricanes and storm surges. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan caused significant damage, as did Hurricane Dennis in 2005 (Irma in 2017 and Michael in 2018 caused minimal damage). The infrastructure has been rebuilt since 2005, as has Navarre Pier, the longest pier in Florida. Navarre hurricane insurance is expensive, particularly in the southern sections of the city (northern sections are built on higher ground). Navarre Beach also underwent a $13 million dollar "renourishment" project in 2015 and 2016, widening the beach and significantly increasing the willowy sea oat population.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Florida Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Yes
Although the hurricane threat is real, Navarre has a lot going for it, including world-class beaches, a mellow character, an average crime rate and friendly people. It is a place to consider for retirement.
Named Pascua Florida by Juan Ponce De Leon, the Sunshine State did not enter the Union until March 3, 1845. Balmy mild winters began attracting snowbirds to the state in the late 19th century. Retirees continue to flock to the state. It's not hard to see why tourism has become the leading industry.
International trade and citrus are also major contributors to the state's economy. Eighty percent of the nation's oranges and grapefruits are grown here, and 40 percent of all U.S. exports to Latin America flow through Florida.
Florida's landscape includes uplands and coastal plains. It contains more than 11,000 miles of waterways and about 4,500 islands spread across 10 acres.
The state has 1,250 more golf courses than any other state in the Union. The 47 mile Pinellas Trail is the longest urban trail on the east coast. Orlando theme parks attract more visitors than any other theme parks in the U.S. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist is in National Everglades Park.
Florida, particularly the Keys and the Gulf Coast, were struck by Category 4 Hurricane Irma in early September, 2017. Towns will rebuild, perhaps this time with climate change in mind, making them safer and better equipped to handle major hurricanes going forward.
Population - 20,612,439
Persons 65 years old and over - 20%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 87%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 27%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 24%
White persons, not Hispanic - 58%
Median household income - $47,525
Median home value - $159,900
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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