Perhaps its most iconic habitat, beaches line most of Florida’s nearly 1,200 miles of coastline. Interestingly, the sand on the Gulf coast originally comes from the Appalachian Mountains, brought here by rivers like the Apalachicola and Ochlockonee that drain the Piedmont area. Over millions of years, that sand was deposited, moved, and reworked by tides and wind. In some areas, sand has built up into dunes which vary in size around the state. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, a site on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, boasts dunes 35 feet tall! Beaches and dunes provide critical habitat for many shorebirds, including Snowy Plovers and Black Skimmers. Because birds and people both enjoy using beaches and dunes, care must be taken to prevent interfering with breeding and nesting behavior. Watch for FWC signs that alert the public to such areas.