Why is the sand so white on the Florida Panhandle?

Why is the sand so white on the Florida Panhandle?

The sand here along the North Florida Coast is among the whitest, cleanest and softest in the world! What you might not know, is that when you walk on the beaches here, you are actually walking on the Appalachian Mountains.

The sand here is comprised mainly of 99% pure silica quartz washed down from the mountains by the Apalachicola River. The quartz is ground to a perfect oval in each grain of sand. It is so fine in texture, it literally “squeaks” under your toes as you walk on it!

Normally, such quartz has a rosy pink tint because of it’s oxide coating, but the sugary-white quartz lost it’s coating somewhere along it’s watery journey thousands of years ago.

Visitors rave about it, and people call it the “sugar-white beaches” of Northwest Florida. The sand accumulated creating sand bars along the river bends and streams on its long journey all the way down south to the edges of the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The white sand also helps our beaches from heating up like an oven in the Summer time, unlike other beaches with darker and coarser sand.

Where the Wild Things Run


Race through the woods for a fun and adventurous run or walk on Saturday, October 14. E.O.Wilson Biophilia Center presents Where the Wild Things Run – 5K Trail Run-1-Mile Fun Run that will take you through parts of Nokuse Plantation, a 53,000-acre conservation area.

The challenging terrain will highlight the diversity and beauty of the property.

Runners, joggers and walkers of all ages are welcome. Due to uneven, rough, and possible muddy terrain, this trail is NOT stroller or pet friendly.

E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center is a non-profit environmental education center with the mission to educate students and visitors on the importance of biodiversity, to promote sustainability and to encourage conservation, preservation and restoration of ecosystems.

Click here to register.

The first 300 sign-ups for the 5K Trail Run Advanced Registrants will receive a race t-shirt, wooden finisher medal and swag bag. The first 100 “Little Critter” Fun Run Advanced Registrants will receive a wooden finisher medal. A celebration will follow with food, beer, photo booth, music, animals and more.

Registration & Pricing Info

Registration for 5K Trail Run is $35 and for the ​“Little Critter” 1 Mile Fun Run is $15 (Children 12 and younger only). ​Biophilia Members receive a 20% discount.

​Online advanced registration will be cut off on Thursday, October 12. Any remaining registrations will still be accepted (cash or check) at early packet pick up or the day of the race. Early Packet pick up takes place Friday, October 13, 5-7 pm at Bay Baits (at the base of the Highway 331 bridge).

Here’s the race-day (October 14) timeline of events:

7:00 AM: Race Packet Pick-Up and Late registration if available.

​8:00 AM: “Little Critter” 1 Mile Fun Run Start. Please arrive no less than 30 minutes early for 1 Mile Fun Run.

​9:30 AM: 5K Trail Run Starts. Please arrive early (at least 45 minutes) to allow enough time to walk approx. 1 mile to starting line for 5K. Shuttles will also be available.

After the Race: Celebrate with food, Idyll Hounds Beer, music, bounce house & interactive museum/exhibits.

11:15 AM: Awards Announced

Runners will park in gravel lot located in front of main Biophilia Center building. Check-in and Registration will be located on front boardwalk in front of main building. A secure and free bag check is available with race bib entry.

1-Mile “Little Critter” runners are encouraged to wear their favorite woodland animal or wild thing costume as they run through the woods.

Fun Run runners please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to race. 5K Runners will walk/warm up through Biophilia trails to get to starting line (approx. 1 mile from main building). Biophilia staff will also be shuttling people out to race start via golf carts. Please arrive early to ensure enough time for transportation to race start.

Awards will be presented in the following categories:

— Overall Male and Female for 5K
— Overall Male and Female for Fun Run
— Male and Female in Fun Run: Ages 6 and under, 7-9, 10-12
— Male and Female in 5K: Ages 19 & Under, 20-35, 36-50, 50 and up

All proceeds go to help the Biophilia Center continue to bring quality hands on science programs free of charge to local panhandle schools.