St Augustine Beach

The St Augustine Coastline

The dunes form an important barrier between the shore and the rest of a barrier island; this is especially evident during strong tropical storms and hurricanes. Dunes are covered with sea oats, vines and grasses that help stabilize the shifting sand and reduce erosion from wind and waves. Dune areas are protected for good reason.

A long walk on a beach is a favorite activity for many people. Careful observation will reveal many kinds of birds including gulls, sanderlings, ibis, and pelicans. Frequent finds at the waterline and among the many shells include sea stars, jellyfish, crabs, and seaweeds.

Swimming is popular, but the area is prone to rip currents; new residents and visitors should become familiar with spotting rip currents and what to do if caught in one. An excellent source is the NWS Rip Current Safety.

There’s a variety of wildlife on the beach and in the dunes of northeast Florida. Pelicans, gulls, shell fish, jelly fish are abundant and a pleasure to watch. Occasionally, a right whale can be spotted off shore where they seen usually in the winter  to early spring. In the summer months the sea turtles nest and hatchlings make the journey to the ocean. There are rules protecting right whales and sea turtles and caution needs to be taken to ensure minimal disturbance. The dunes are a protected area and are home to sea oats where birds have nests along with the turtles and some mice that make a home in the dunes. One of the most beautiful natural areas to enjoy observing beach wildlife is Anastasia State Park, located near St. Augustine yet unspoiled beauty abounds.

Coquina is found along the coast from St. Johns County southward to Palm Beach County.  Coquina is the cemented together fragments of shells and quartz sand. It has been used as a building material for over 400 years along the east coast of Florida. The Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine was constructed by the Spanish using the material that was brought to the site from a quarry on Anastasia Island.

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A photo posted by Carole ODell (@caroleodell) on