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6 Nov 2018
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6 Things You Didn’t Know About the Emerald Coast 

1. Over 4.5 million people visit the Emerald Coast each year, with Destin being the most popular destination along the stretch of the panhandle. Over 80% of visiting guests come specifically to Destin when they travel to the Gulf of Mexico! 

2. One of the most memorable and remarkable things about the beaches on the Emerald Coast is the distinct bright white color of the sand. The “snow white” beaches are unique to this area and is found almost nowhere else in the world. What causes this special color of our coastline? Quartz that erodes from the Appalachian Mountains flows way, way down to the Apalachicola River and is deposited throughout the coast. Just don’t forget that the dunes and sea oats along the beaches of Northwest Florida are protected- you can get fined for walking on the dunes or damaging sea oats! 

3. Each fall, the panhandle hosts the oldest maritime event- the Destin Seafood Festival! This event is full of fishing, crafts, food, and festivities and draws upwards of hundreds of thousands of people nationwide to our beaches.  

4. Sea turtles are protected here! Local, state, and federal authorities all enforce the rules and regulations regarding sea turtles and their nests on our beaches. The local nesting season is May to October, and area non-profits like the South Walton Turtle Watch and the Gulf County Turtle Patrol work to teach incoming guests about “Clean, Dark, Flat”:  clear the beach of any supplies, trash, and gear upon your departure to allow turtles smooth passage, only use turtle approved orange lighting after sunset to prevent confusion with moonlight (what they use as their guide), and fill in any holes you have dug in the sand to ensure safety of the nesting turtles.  

5. In January of each year, the best songwriters in the world come to the Emerald Coast! The 30A Songwriters Festival is held in various venues over the course of Martin Luther King weekend and displays both famous and up-and-coming singers and songwriters with intimate performances.  

6. The Emerald Coast gets its name from the unique jewel toned shades of the Gulf of Mexico that stretches as far as you can see. But where does this brilliant hue come from? The Mississippi River dumps sediment into our Gulf of Mexico, making the mouth collect the muddy brown waters. Past the connection of the River and the Gulf, the sediment tapers off and leaves the crystal clear waters with the amazing emerald color that we know and love!

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