Why is Our Sand So White?

Dan Scarlotto, Creative Director at 30-A.COM

Look out to the Gulf from anywhere along Scenic Highway 30-A and your heart will jump at the stunning contrast of emerald-green water and dazzling white sand. Step onto the beach and you’ll feel the stress slip away, the smooth sand warming your feet like well-worn slippers and the surf slapping the shore echoing against the charming, pastel-colored beachside homes. This is the healing calm of the beautiful beaches along 30-A.

A walk on the white sands quickly reveals why these are rated as some of the finest beaches in the world. It’s because the sand not only looks different, but it actually feels different under your feet. You’ll notice a faint squeak with every step: that’s because the granules are very fine and nearly round in shape, composed of almost 100 percent quartz. If you pick up a few grains you’ll notice they are not really white but almost clear, and they reflect and sparkle in the rays of the sun. There’s a miniature world out there in the tiny grains of sand that is so small we hardly take notice.

For millions of years in the Gulf of Mexico and along the coast the constant grinding and pulverizing motion of the waves have broken down the sand. That creates a situation where the sand becomes so fine it doesn’t take more than a small breeze to displace it on the beach. This is called “saltating”. Strong winds can rearrange a beachfront in no time and create huge sand dunes in the process. In fact, the buildup of dunes is crucial to the health of Scenic 30-A’s beaches and the reason why there are regulations against dune trespassing.

So what’s the ideal way to capture your dose of “beach bliss”?

First, consider renting a house or condo overlooking the Gulf where the sand and surf are just a few short steps away from your back door. Check our 30-A.COM’s Lodging Guide for information on where to stay in the area.

Next, choose your distance. You can walk for miles if you are up to it. Take some time to get off the beach and explore, especially around the dune lakes and beach towns. There are 11 beach towns along the way, each with their own eclectic character,shops and restaurants.

Watch for the dunes. You’ll start to find the high dunes as you come to Grayton Beach. They grow in size as you approachSeaside and Seagrove Beach, reaching heights of 20-30 feet and becoming covered with scrub oak and other dense foliage.

Finally, if you need a dose of the beach but can’t escape home or office to stroll in person, why not go electronically? Click onto our Scenic 30-A Virtual Bike Tour browse through more than 200 stunning photos of the beach towns, homes and natural coastal beauty along Scenic Route 30-A.

Don’t miss your chance to lose yourself in the silky luxury of the beaches of 30-A.

For more information, please visit our online travel guide at:www.discover30a.com

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