It was strange sitting on the beach, with few people in sight, the only buildings were lost in distant haze. It was quiet for a Florida beach without the constant drone of traffic.

This is Cape Canaveral National Seashore, the longest natural beach in the state of Florida with 24 miles of undeveloped beach. Florida has become highly developed, threatening many of its natural habitats. Coastlines are some of the most popular areas for development, making this a rare and special place. 

Sea Oats, Railroad Vines and other dune plants help hold the sand in place and prevent erosion.

I watched sanderlings chase each other at the edge of the roaring waves. Behind me sat the lushest dune I had seen in Florida. I couldn’t see the sand beneath because it was covered in railroad vines, saw palmettos, wildflowers, cabbage palms, and sea oats, all salt-tolerant species, thriving in this blazing and harsh environment. Dragonflies, bees of various kinds, and gulf fritillary butterflies all thrive off the seemingly endless supply of nectar.

Sanderling
Seaside Dragonlet
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

This place is a haven for all kinds of species including many endangered and protected ones. Sea turtles favor this undeveloped beach with anywhere from 5,000 to over 10,000 total nests annually, including rare nests from leatherback and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.

Sea turtle nest and annual nesting stats at Canaveral National Seashore visitor center

A rare piece of quiet beach, I could have stayed forever watching sanderling’s chase each other.

Undeveloped, wild places like this are special. They are worth celebrating. Read more stories about wild places in Deep Wild Journal: Writing from the Backcountry at deepwildjournal.com/subscribe

By Corrinne Brumby – Web Content Editor

corrinnebrumby.com

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