By: Frederique Beroset, Dune Doctors

Florida’s communities along the Gulf Coast love their sugary white beaches that rank among the top in the world. 

Tourists love the beaches, too, with more than 40 million tourists visiting the state every year. 

While Florida residents welcome the tourists who travel here throughout the year, they also want to preserve and protect the unique beauty of its coastline. After all, about 14 million or roughly 70 percent of the state’s population lives within 10 miles of the coast.  

Everyone should be good stewards of this one-of-a-kind environment. Beyond their natural beauty, the beach, dunes, and wetlands along the coastline provide the first line of defense from storms, especially during the long hurricane season from June 1 to Nov. 30 for homeowners and businesses. This area is still bouncing back from Hurricane Ivan that slammed into the Gulf Coast, on Sept. 16, 2004.  

A storm has the momentum to relocate massive quantities of sand in a very short period of time. After a storm, over many seasons, the sand will travel back and forth, East, West, North, and South. It can be stopped with sand fences and trapped by plants. Sand fence placement and coastal vegetation installation are precisely engineered in specific areas. Both beach renourishment and the building of dunes have helped the once flattened beaches to recover. It takes a long time to rebuild the dunes and a very short time to make significant damage. 

To help ensure the fragile nature of the beach can be enjoyed for generations to come there are a few simple rules residents and visitors alike can follow:  

  1. Use dune walkovers and designated beach access points to cross over the dunes. Native dune vegetation can withstand harsh beach conditions but it cannot withstand being trampled by footsteps, pets, or vehicles. Once a footpath is regularly used it lowers the crest of the dune. This created trough becomes a likely place for a blowout during a storm. 
  2. When you decide to hit the beach leave only your footprints behind. Left on the beach garbage negatively impacts the beach ecosystem and endangers wildlife. Beach mice, coach-whip snakes, ghost crabs, nesting sea turtles, least terns, piping and snowy plovers, and monarch butterflies to name a few of the dunes’ inhabitants depend on you to keep them safe. 
  3. Sea oats collect wind-blown sand. The extensive root system of this critical plant and other native vegetation creates a deep web that helps hold sand dunes together. Picking sea oats is illegal in Florida and will result in a fine. Do not pick sea oats, not even their seeds. 
  4. Some areas are occasionally marked. When there are signs that show that a specific area is protected, may it be for bird nesting, a turtle has laid her eggs, or a protective planting has been implemented, please be watchful and stay out of that designated area.

So enjoy yourself at the beach! And help keep it pristine so others who follow you can enjoy it, too! 

Exploring Military History in Perdido Key

Written for the 2022 Perdido Area Guide By Dayre Lias   "The Lost Key" is one of the unique, historical places in the Florida Panhandle. From the end of the ice age, 12,000 years ago, Paleoindian hunters roamed the area and evolved into the powerful chiefdoms...

How to Make an Impact on Perdido Key

Advocate for your Perdido Key community and help keep our treasured area the best place to live, work and play! Whether your passion is for the environment and cleaning the beach, advocating for local businesses, or volunteering for local causes and events, there are...

Dining with a View

Enjoying dinner with a view is a simple way of life in Perdido Key. Living on our treasured barrier island, one can see water in every direction, from the vast wonders of the Gulf of Mexico to the tranquil waters of the Intracoastal; water views are varied and...

Favorite Live Music Venues in Perdido Key

The Perdido Key Area has an extended history of music and songwriting, shaping the culture of the community. When visiting the lost key, one must-do activity is to enjoy a lively, musical atmosphere while indulging in some local cocktails or treating yourself to some...

Best Breakfast in the Perdido Key Area

Here on the Gulf Coast, our locals and dedicated visitors love breakfast! You don’t need to be an early riser to enjoy the best eggs benedict or Bloody Mary’s in Perdido Key; most breakfast in the area is available as a delectable brunch as well!  Whether you can wake...

Best Sunsets on Perdido Key

The Sun is an essential part of our everyday life in Perdido Key.  It keeps our white sandy beaches a sunbather’s dream and provides us with reflective, shimmering beauty atop our emerald, blue-green waters. We cannot help but flood our social media timelines with...

101 Things to Do in Perdido Key

From adventurous water activities to relaxing sunset vibes, explore Perdido Key and plan your island getaway with things to do for everyone! 101 Things to Do in Perdido Key includes links to some of the local's favorite activities, dining, and entertainment in the...

Military in Perdido Key

By Emily Klinga   Pensacola has a deep-rooted history of military presence positioned by our very own Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola. Proclaimed a Naval Air Station in 1914, NAS Pensacola is renowned as the “Cradle of Naval Aviation” supporting the initial...

Sunset Weddings Are the Best by Karen Qualls

By Karen Qualls, Beach Bride Weddings You are one of many getting married in 2021 and have been debating the wedding time. Since you are getting married on the beach in Perdido Key, Florida, you should seriously think about the sunset. Why? you ask, why not midday?...

Recreational Boating in the Perdido Key Area

Thinking of renting a boat or bringing your own vessel to explore the ways of the water here in Perdido Key? Then you definitely do not want to miss these boating hot spots in the area! Be sure to pack lots of sunscreen because you will want to enjoy these exclusive...