How to Read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach

How to Read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach

How to Read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach:

A Guide to Shadow Dunes, Ghost Forests, and Other Telltale Clues from an Ever-Changing Coast.

A book by Tonya Clayton

Published by The University of North Carolina Press

“Come explore the geology of Florida’s Gulf Coast beaches, from a bird’s-eye view down to a crab’s-eye view. You’ll journey from Panhandle sugar-sand beaches to southwestern shell beaches, taking a fresh look at the ever-changing landscape.

With Tonya Clayton as your guide, you’ll learn how to recognize the stories and read the clues of these dynamic shores, reshaped daily by winds, waves, and sometimes bulldozers or dump trucks.

This dynamic tour begins with a broad description of Florida’s Gulf Coast, roaming from popular Perdido Key in the northwest to remote Cape Sable in the south.

You’ll first fly over large-scale coastal features such as the barrier islands, learning to spot signs of the many processes that shape the shores. In subsequent chapters you’ll visit dunes and beaches to check out sand ripples, tracings, and other markings that show the handiwork of beach breezes, ocean waves, animal life, and even raindrops and air bubbles. You’ll also encounter signs of human shaping, including massive boulder structures and sand megatransfers.

With a conversational style and more than a hundred illustrations, How to Read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach makes coastal science accessible, carrying vacationers and Florida natives alike on a lively, informative tour of local beach features.”

About the authors:
Tonya Clayton is a freelance science writer and editor.

Order available now at: UNC Press


“An excellent guide to Florida’s Gulf Coast environment. As well as being a primer on coastal processes, the book conveys some important environmental messages. It will not only fill a niche in beach-goers’ reading, but will also spark a greater sense of concern about the future of these beaches.” —William J. Neal, Grand Valley State University.

“Tonya Clayton has written a comprehensive, eminently readable interpretation of the beaches of Floridas Gulf of Mexico. She has a knack for using clever metaphors to explain key elements of beaches. Claytons knowledge and observations greatly enhance a visit to the shore. Open your eyes!” —Albert Hine, University of South Florida.

“In her fun and engaging book, Tonya Clayton leads the uninitiated beach lover through an explanation of how the Florida Gulf Coast beaches work. With her original voice and clear explanations, Clayton brings visitors, homeowners, and voters to a nuanced understanding of the processes that shape this stretch of coastline.”—Joseph T. Kelley, University of Maine.

“Tonya Clayton shows you how to read the natural and man-made shapes and textures of Florida’s Gulf beaches, dunes, and islands like a tracker reads animal signs in the wild. You’ll be eager to go straight to the nearest beach to immerse yourself in your new, richer understanding of your favorite beaches. This is the book I’ve been waiting for!” —David McRee, “the BeachHunter,” Florida beach expert and blogger.

Coastal Care

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