Santa Rosa Sound
Santa Rosa Sound is a sound connecting Pensacola Bay and Choctawhatchee Bay in Florida. The northern shore consists of the Fairpoint Peninsula and portions of the mainland in Santa Rosa County and Okaloosa County. It is bounded to the south by Santa Rosa Island (also known as Okaloosa Island in the easternmost region of the sound), separating it from the Gulf of Mexico.
During strong hurricanes, storm surge elevates the Gulf of Mexico above the barrier islands to the south and increases the water level of the sound. Hurricane Opal and Hurricane Ivan caused extensive damage to waterfront structures on both sides of Santa Rosa Sound.
Communities located along Santa Rosa Sound
- Gulf Breeze, Florida
- Pensacola Beach, Florida
- Navarre, Florida
- Navarre Beach, Florida
- Mary Esther, Florida
- Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Bridges crossing Santa Rosa Sound
Three bridges carry pedestrian and automobile traffic to the barrier islands on the south side of the sound. The first two bridges have the lowest clearance of any span over the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. For this reason, many sailboats with masts taller than 50 feet must "go outside" and bypass the protected sound using the unprotected waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
The bridges crossing Santa Rosa Sound, including the names of communities on both sides of the bridge (mainland side, followed by island side) and center span clearances above mean sea level, are:
- Brooks Bridge: Fort Walton Beach to Okaloosa Island (55 feet clearance)
- Navarre Beach Bridge: Navarre to Navarre Beach (55 feet clearance)
- Bob Sikes Bridge (commonly the "Pensacola Beach Bridge"): Gulf Breeze to Pensacola Beach (65 feet clearance)
- SantaRosaSound.com Santa Rosa Sound information and map
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