Driving without a specific destination is one of the leading causes of adventure in America.
Miles along the city of Palm Coast, Fla., lies a hidden local treasure. Gripping the steering wheel in a desolate small town, speeding past miles upon miles of concrete roads and green foliage you could get lost in, you will pass miles of almost movielike scenes of small homes, some overlooking the sea.
In the same area lies Washington Garden State Park, a place that is hikeable, though it doesn't have a lot of views of a garden. A few miles from this area is a new beach that belongs to the park itself, hidden away from the public eye. It doesn't have the same reputation as some of the larger beaches like Daytona or St. Pete, but a larger treasure lies in this one. It's a nameless beach surrounded by rocky crevices, which to the local Floridian is a sight to be seen.
Florida is well-known for its tourist attractions. These sandy white beaches with their surging waves and powerful salt-like smell are special forces of nature a vast majority of local Floridians are grateful to experience.
What a lot of Floridians don't know is that a lot of these features are not built by nature. Most of the local beaches residents are accustomed to are artificially created. The white sands are brought and spread over the land in dainty specks, going grain by grain.
In fact, according to Dr. Charles W. Finkl in his article "East Florida's Barrier Islands," “The Florida southeastern coast beaches are sand starved, and must be periodically re-nourished so that the underlying limestone bedrock is not exposed by erosion to produce a rocky shore.”
Despite the strange but familiar sound of artificial beaches, they do provide room for bigger natural phenomenon to occur. One of these is the Anastasia formations, given its name after Anastasia Island in Florida. The island is filled with these coarse rocky spheres and is thousands of years old. The formations were deposited during the interglacial period on the geological time scale, the scale that is used to map out geological events that occur to or on Earth.
These landscapes, made in a time when sea levels were higher than today’s,deposited formations made of sand and coquina limestone. This limestone is made up of fossil debris, mostly hard shells. The rough surface of these formations is typically light brown or shades of oranges. Anastasia formations surround the seashores for miles, forming a type of flat bedrock surface, connected by small rocky crevices and dark swirls around the surrounding sand.
Most of the current ones are the result of wave erosion, which causes crevices and scooped-like shapes on them. These formations provide habitat for sea creatures who wander the area as well as to create hills and cliffs that overlook the sea and small caves along the Atlantic coast. They are home to mostly crabs as they are a safe space for these animals to be amongst humans.
This subtle phenomenon makes all the difference in Florida’s coast. These formations are grand pieces of art created by nature which only aid the aesthetically pleasing atmosphere of beaches from St. John's County to Palm Beach County and in places such as the Blowing Rocks Preserve on Jupiter Island.