What wildlife to look for at Spectre Island

Nestled in Santa Rosa Sound, Spectre Island is a tucked away, sandy home to a myriad of birds, fish, and other critters found in its waters and along its shore. Spectre Island is the result of an army dredging project and shares its name with one of the aircraft flown out of Hurlburt Field, a U.S. Air Force installation near the island.

Spectre Island wildlife is as diverse as it is abundant. Remember to have your waterproof camera ready for the many sights and memories that await you.

Birds of Spectre Island

The skies above Santa Rosa sound are always busy, so don’t forget to look up, or you might miss out on the birds of Spectre Island. Many birds feed on schools of fish that swim beneath Spectre Island’s glassy-clear waters. With a long pair of legs and its spear-like beak, the great blue heron fishes Spectre Island’s shore with elegant prowess. Ospreys loiter above the water, circling on their target. When they beat their wings, they’ve locked their eyes on a fish below and splash! Lunchtime. It used to be a rare sight to spot a bald eagle, but it’s become more common in Northwest Florida. These large birds of prey carry a sense of awe as they soar over the island in search of fish and other game.

Wildlife Watching from the Water

You can spot dolphins passing through the warm sunlit waters around Spectre Island. Listen for splashing followed by a breath, and look for fins. Dolphins chase fish by pushing them closer to shallow water near the beaches, creating quite a show.

One of the best ways to enjoy Spectre Island is from the waves. Whether you choose the comfort of a kayak or standing tall from a paddleboard, you’ll be treated to a refreshing ride where you are your own captain. However, that doesn’t mean you have to take things too leisurely. If you’re looking for a form of exercise away from the norm that the whole family can enjoy, anything involving a paddle, water resistance, and fun in the sun makes for a great workout! Plan your kayaking adventure with Island Watersports Company or BOTE Board.

You and your family can enjoy a day of snorkeling near shore above schools of mullet, trout, and other fish. Spectre Island wildlife takes many forms but none are more camouflaged than the hermit crab. Hermit crabs walk along the bottom with their homes on their back and are one of the many critters kids of all ages can see up close. Sea snails and sand dollars also live along the sandy seabeds of Spectre Island.

Come spend the day at Spectre Island, make some new memories in the sand, and let your day melt with the tide.


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Events in Destin-Fort Walton Beach

It’s always the best time of the year to visit Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Mild temperatures and warm gulf waters make the area enjoyable no matter the season. And with a running lineup of exciting local events and festivals, there’s always something to do in Destin-Fort Walton Beach!

April 1, 2023 - April 2, 2023

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April 9, 2023

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