In February of 2019 I moved from Rohnert Park, California to Mobile, Alabama. I loved California but I could no longer afford to live there after I got out of the Coast Guard. I was stationed in Mobile from 2009-2014, so I know the area. I also still have a lot of friends in the area. After I purchased my house, wrote my book, and turned HJH Designs into a sole proprietorship, it was time to explore the beaches down here and relax for a little while!!
There are 100s of sand dollars on the beaches along the Gulf Coast, but most of them are broken. My first few trips to Dauphin Island and Orange Beach I was kind of disappointed. The sand is white and the water is warm. I really enjoyed the views and swimming. I did not swim in the cold waters in California. But my other favorite part of going to the beach is finding sand dollars and I just wasn’t finding any.
Then I remembered something. When I was stationed here, us Coasties referred to Navarre Beach as “Florida’s Best Kept Secret” Most people travel to either Pensacola or Destin when they travel to Northern Florida and want to see the beach. Navarre is in between the two popular destinations and is just as awesome, but way less crowded/tourist-y. I almost do not want to write this post because I don’t want all of you checking it out while I’m enjoying the serenity of it!! But I have chosen to spill the beans, hoping that when y’all do come, you won’t come all at once.
Driving into Navarre I could already feel my heart rate slowing down and my anxiety ceasing. The sky was blue with some beautiful, white, fluffy clouds. It was a yellow flag day but the seas were fairly calm. It was hot and humid and the water felt like bath water!! I was in heaven!! BUT…the sand dollar situation seemed to be the same as Dauphin Island and Orange Beach…until I spotted a “baby” sand dollar. It was so small, about the size of a quarter, but it was perfect. I was so excited!!
I visited a couple more times. I kept looking for the “baby” sand dollars instead of bigger ones. One day I went and the seas were crazy. It was a red flag day and the water was closed to the public. I didn’t have much fun. BUT the next day was a yellow flag day, again, and TONS of shells had washed up onto the beach!! I was so excited that day.
I decided since I was on the Gulf Coast again and now own my house, I should make a new special clock with Gulf Coast Sand Dollars. I paid to have a picture I took at Navarre on a piece of wood. I then glued some flat shells at 12, 3, 6, and 9 and my “baby” sand dollars for the rest of the hours. The new clock is in my bathroom and now you know Florida’s best kept secret!!