LISTEN LIVE

Florida beaches

Santa Rosa Beach, in Florida's Walton County, is a quiet place with sugar-white sand, a pleasant surf and signs warning visitors to stay out. The largely rural county on Florida's Panhandle is at the center of a battle over one of the state's most precious resources: its beaches. Most of the 26 miles of beaches are already privately owned. As of July 1, homeowners with beachfront property in Walton County can declare their beach private and off-limits to the public. The new law has sparked a standoff between wealthy homeowners and other local residents.

Tourists weren't scattered on beaches in southwest Florida on Thursday, but hundreds of dead fish were.

The Herald-Tribune reports that visitors piled into the parking lot of Venice Beach, got out of their cars, started hacking, coughing and sneezing and then quickly left.

Florida’s beaches are in constant need of restoration, to truck in sand that the sea washes away. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, miles of critically eroded beaches are in even more danger. Now a powerful lawmaker is once again trying to get funding to replenish the shorelines.

DEP

The sand on Siesta Beach on Florida's Gulf Coast is as fine as powdered sugar, a pure, sparkling white and soft as a kitten's fur — all because it's comprised of 99 percent pure crushed quartz.

The Miami-based rapper will film his upcoming video for “Sexy Beaches” in Florida.

William Garamella

Of the 1,100 acres that make up Fort De Soto County Park, the beaches probably get the most traffic. Both are close to grassy picnic areas under shade trees.  

Exploring Miami Beach one recent afternoon, Swiss tourists Adrian Cannistra and Shkunte Mustafa said they considered vacationing on a beach closer to home before booking the lengthy overseas flight.

Greece might have been ideal — with the financial crisis, bargains can be had and many Swiss are taking advantage. Cannistra has vacationed in Tunisia but said recent terrorist attacks there scared him away from North Africa.

"The Swiss don't go there anymore," he said. "They're afraid."

DEP

UPDATE: The URL for the Beach Access Map has been shortened to fdep.maps.arcgis.com.

Florida has 825 miles of sandy coastline, but it may not feel that way if you don't know where to find public access in between the privately-owned properties.

What would a competition be without a little friendly rivalry between Florida's Gulf Coast and it's Gold Coast? Check out what Dr. Beach has to say about the best beaches in the state.