I don’t need a tourist attraction to draw me to a beach – if there’s sand and water I’m in paradise – but I’m always a sucker for the fishing piers that jut into the surf from many of Florida’s beaches. Their intended function is to help anglers fish in deeper waters, but I am content to just walk along their wooden planks until I’m farther from land than any human ought to be without a boat.
At 1,545 feet, the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier is the longest pier in all of Florida. It’s also the longest pier in the Gulf of Mexico, besting piers in other states and in Mexico. The locals are extremely proud of this record, in part because it took several hurricanes for them to achieve it.
The original pier was built in 1974 and was about 1,450 feet long. Over the next thirty years, Hurricanes Opal, Ivan and Dennis would destroy the wooden structure. In 2009, the people of Santa Rosa County agreed on plans to build a bigger and stronger pier that would have a better chance of withstanding future storms. Although the structure is still mostly made of wood, the boardwalk and octagonal fishing area at the end of the pier are made of numbered blow-out planks that can be easily reassembled in the event that a hurricane does damage.
Today, locals and visitors alike enjoy the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier year-round for fishing (obviously) and walking. Fisherman tote their gear with homemade apparatus that set coolers on wheels and poles upright in PVC piping, a contraption I’ve yet to see on any other beach or pier.
Fishing on the pier is $7 per day for adults. You can walk along the pier for just $1. The pier is open 7 days a week from 5 am to 10 pm.