I have seen my fair share of beautiful beaches after visits to maybe 30 islands or so in the Caribbean and South Pacific, and also the beaches of Mexico, along the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast. But I just visited a Florida beach where the sand not only crunches beneath your feet, but actually “squeaks.”
I’m talking about the beaches of Panama City Beach, Florida, touted by the locals and tourism folks there for their “sugar white” sands and emerald-tinted waters. Well, I’ve certainly written words like “pure white” and “sparkling” when describing the many fine Caribbean and other beaches I’ve visited. But when walking along the shoreline of a few spots in Panama City Beach, I was amazed to find that the locals’ descriptions are true. And I had to find out for myself whether the sand actually squeaks, which I was amazed to learn it does! (See my YouTube video below.)
According to the Visit Panama City Beach Magazine, website and other sources, the sugar white, fine-powder sand is made up of quartz crystals that flushed down through rivers and streams from the Appalachian Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico during the last Ice Age, nearly 20,000 years ago. Through the millennia, the crystals that have formed the protective dunes and sandy shores have ground down to fine particles by the surf and storms.
I visited the sparkling sands and shimmering green-tinted, clear water of St. Andrews State Park including Shell Island – what many might consider the jewel of Panama City Beach. I found it to be just that; in fact, the beaches of Panama City Beach and St. Andrews have been rated within Florida’s top 10 and within the world’s top 100, according to a wide range of different reviewers and media outlets.
As for the squeaking, check out the following video. Yes, those are my sneakers “squeaking” on the sand! I’ve experienced a lot of “crunching” when walking on different sandy beaches, but this is my first time to hear the squeaking.
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Mardi Gras, Florida Style
I just returned from this year’s Mardi Gras in Panama City Beach and was quite impressed. Costumed partiers crammed into maybe a couple dozen or so floats and tossed seeming endless strings of beads into the crowds lining the beachside parade route leading into the Pier Park commercial development.