If you enjoy swimming, fishing, paddling out on the surf with a boogie board, jet skiing, kayaking, or just lying on the beach to catch some rays, Navarre Beach Vacation Rental has it all. Take the kids to the Gulf Breeze Zoo or the Panhandle Butterfly House. Hike, camp, and experience the thrill of ziplining and off-highway vehicle trails. Enjoy meals made with the freshest seafood at local restaurants. At the end of the day retire to one of these areas at a comfortable vacation rental with a view of Florida’s splendiferous Emerald Coast.

1. Pensacola

Beach

Drive a few miles southwest of Navarre Beach on Highway 399 to find Pensacola Beach. You and your family will delight in its stretches of glittering white sand and turquoise waters. Restaurants are as casual and kid-friendly or formal as you want, and the cultural scene is surprisingly sophisticated. You’ll find everything from the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra and the Pensacola Opera and ballet to the acclaimed Pensacola Museum of Art, which features such artists as Salvador Dali, Thomas Hart Benton, and Alexander Calder. If you love rock n’ roll, catch a show at the Vinyl Music Hall.

When it comes to nature, take the kids to the Edward Ball Nature Trail with its lovely live oak trees, walk along the Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park or hike the Adventures Unlimited. There are paddling opportunities in many of the quiet waters of the bayous and bays, and of course, the fishing is abundant.

2. Bellview

 Kid Fishing

This suburb of Pensacola is found in Escambia County. Close to Perdido Bay, a vacation rental in Bellview puts you and your family close to fishing, kayaking, and other watersports.

3. Okaloosa Island

Kids enjoying at the Beach
Source: Flickr/all for of them

As with so many places on the Emerald Coast, you and the kids can spend every minute of the day engaging in thoroughly enjoyable activities or just lying on the beach or sitting happily in the water and waiting for the surf to rush in. Activities include chartering a boat, jet skiing or catching a show at the nearby Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park.

4. Perdido Key

 Perdido Key
Source: Flickr/borabora_54

Perdido Key and its beautiful state park offer a calm getaway. Open from 8 a.m. till sunset, the gentle white sand dunes are an excellent area for a family picnic lunch. The quiet sound of the surf lulls you to sleep once you’re back at your Gulfside vacation rental.

5. Fort Walton

 Fort Walton
Source: Flickr/ Joey Lewis

Very near to Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton has something for everyone. Visit its bustling downtown for its farmer’s market, casual dining, music, and shopping. Go to Uptown Station to visit Fort Walton’s Central Park and Florida’s tallest flagpole. Don’t forget to stop by the Heritage Park & Cultural Center, with its Indian Temple Mound Museum, Walton Schoolhouse Museum and Civil War Exhibit Building.

6. Milton

Kid Playing at the sand

The county seat of Santa Rosa, Milton contains both the Imogene Theatre and the West Florida Railroad Museum. Bring the whole family to their free outdoor concerts that take place on Friday nights from April to June. The city is filled with places for the kids to play, including three playgrounds and a skate park. There’s also a dog park just in case you’ve brought Fido on vacation.

7. Bagdad

 Room at Bagdad
Source: Flickr/Jessics Whittle

Yes, this placid community was named after the city in Iraq, and no one knows why they dropped the “h.” After the hustle and bustle of the other places on the Emerald Coast, you’ll appreciate the tree-lined quiet of the streets and the homeliness of a vacation rental in one of its old Victorian houses.

8. Pace

 Sunset at the Beach

This sleepy former lumber mill town is a suburb of Pensacola and is found right on Escambia Bay. The fishing is second to none, with largemouth bass, redear sunfish, bluegill, and black crappie the most popular fish to catch.

9. Mulat

Live Oaks & Spanish Moss
Source: Flickr/chapstickaddict

This tiny town, population 259 as of the 2010 census, has streets lined with old, live oaks festooned with Spanish moss. That and its old railroad tracks give Mulat the feel of the old south. It’s a great place to sit on the porch, enjoy lemonade or a mint julep and watch the world go by from the porch of your vacation rental.

10. Tiger Point

Tiger Point Golf & Country Club
Source: Flickr/ cazoozle

The golf aficionados in your family will run, not walk to the Tiger Point Golf Club. Surrounded by twisty streets named Bengal, Ceylon, Ganges Trail, and Saber Tooth, this club has 18 championship holes. It also has delicious views of the Gulf of Mexico. Take the family to the club’s Sunset Grille for some down-home Southern cooking and the best seafood.

11. Mary Esther

Wooden Bridge

Named for a daughter of its first postmaster, this medium-sized city sits on the edge of the Florida panhandle between the Bay and Santa Rosa Island. Its city parks all have picnic tables and most have a playground. As its name implies, Pier Park has a pier from which you and yours can set out for the many little islands between the City and Santa Rosa. While you’re here, take advantage of the shopping and restaurants and the calm waters of the beaches.