Eglin Reservation Beach Access
The northwest Florida coast has some of the most beautiful beaches in the US: powdery white quartz sand, sparkling aquamarine water, and gentle waves. If you're interested in relaxing on the sand, playing in the surf, or adventuring on paddleboard or kayak, this is the place for you.
The Eglin reservation provides beach access to the Gulf of Mexico through the Eglin Beach Park (parking for DOD-affiliated only) or public parking along Hwy 98 on Santa Rosa Island.
The Eglin Beach Park provides pavillions with restrooms and showers. Civilian visitors can walk to the pavillions and access the facilities. There is no drinking water provided at the pavillions, so you should bring your own. For more information about the Beach Park, please check the Eglin Force Support Squadron's website: Beach Park
The Natural Resources Office now DOES require visitors on the Eglin Reservation portion of Santa Rosa Island beach to obtain the FREE Beach Permit. The permit is available ONLY online. Log In to watch the video under My Safety Briefs, then answer the questions. Once you have finished the video and questions, the Beach Permit will appear under Available Permits.
Important Note to Remember During Breeding Bird and Sea Turtle Nesting Season:
Visitors to Eglin beaches should be aware that walking over/behind dunes is prohibited. Because beach habitat is the first line of defense against hurricanes and storms, our dunes are important and need to be protected. Dune ecosystems are extremely sensitive, and foot-traffic erodes dunes by moving sand, creating trails, and damaging vegetation. Cross the dunes only on official paths, and leave sea oats and other dune vegetation on the dunes.
As well, disturbance to protected species during their nesting season can result in failed nests, trampled chicks, or increased predation from coyotes that follow human tracks. Please see below for some photos. Shorebirds travel extremely long distances to come to our beaches to nest, we want to provide a safe place for them while they're here. All wildlife are protected on the Eglin reservation.
Many beach nesting birds are small, sand-colored, and their nests and eggs are extremely difficult to spot. If you notice birds behaving strangely (the wounded wing act, or dive-bombing you) give them more space because it's likely that a nest is nearby.
Snowy plover nest on the beach.
Least tern nest on the beach. The eggs are camouflaged.
Learn more about beach nesting birds: FWC Beach-Nesting Birds Reference Guide
Why is driving on the beach prohibited? FWC Beach Driving Brochure
There are several species of endangered sea turtles that nest on northwest Florida beaches. Mother turtles looking for a place to nest should be left alone, and marked nests waiting to hatch should be avoided to allow hatchling turtles time to grow.
Dogs are not allowed on the Eglin beach. Even well-trained dogs on leashes scare wild birds and can damage sea turtle nests.
When walking the beach, please avoid flagged or posted signs that indicate a sea turtle nest. Nests need to be left alone so that eggs can hatch and hatchlings can safely make it to the water without being hurt, eaten by predators, or diverted from their path to the water. Injured hatchlings, or hatchlings that are stuck in ruts or holes, are less likely to make it safely to the water. Sea turtles can live a very long time, and we want to help as many as we can have the chance to grow to their full potential.
Nesting Kemp's Ridley sea turtle.
If you are interested in helping with sea turtle conservation, see our Volunteer Information for more.
North Florida is home to the beach mouse, a timid, sand-colored mouse that lives in the dunes. This animal is also protected and should be left alone.
Report animal harassment to the FWC Wildlife Hotline: 888-404-3922
Be safe on the beach
Florida is hot and humid in the summer, so all visitors should pack accordingly. Bring drinking water, sunblock, and towels to stay comfortable. Cool off in the water or under the showers if you feel yourself overheating.
Please remember to pack all garbage out with you, and deposit it in trash cans at the parking lots or pavillions. Let's keep our beaches clean and beautiful.
When fishing from the beach, some animals may accidentally catch your hook.
You can call the FWC Wildlife Hotline for assistance: 888-404-3922
If you hook a pelican while fishing: Pelican Brochure
White Point Recreation Area
Beach access to the Choctawhatchee Bay can be found at White Point Recreation Area on the mainland near the Mid-Bay Bridge.
The Natural Resources Office requires visitors at White Point to possess a recreation permit. Please see Outdoor Recreation Permits for more information.
Check the Eglin Recreation Areas Map for more information:
Be sure to check our Outdoor Recreation, Hunting and Freshwater Fishing Regulations.
Due to military testing and training on the Eglin reservation on Santa Rosa Island from Fort Walton Beach to Navarre Beach is closed to all forms of public access.