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On my beach adventures over the past several weeks, I’ve noticed this outfall from one of the dune lakes periodically opening and closing. Walton County contains a large share of the coastal dune lakes in the entire world, and they are not only rare but ecologically important. Notice the brown ...

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I know it's not really a beach picture, but it's a pretty cool nature shot of where a squirrel neatly deconstructed a pine cone to get at the seed.

#beachtours #destinfl #santarosabeachfl #destin #emeraldcoast #emeraldcoasthappenings #emeraldcoasttours #drrainey #floridabeaches #florida #g...

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During today’s beach walk we encountered a number of crustaceans commonly know as “mole crabs” or “sand fleas.” Interestingly, they are neither crabs nor fleas, and certainly not moles! They are related to other crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp—notice the segmented appendages. They burrow in ...

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What a beautiful weekend we had! Got to explore a little bit upriver, and then headed to the beach afterwards. Hope to see you on the beach soon! .

#emeraldcoast #emeraldcoastflorida #emeraldcoasthappenings #sowal #southwalton #southwaltonbeaches #hey30a #30a #30alocal #30alocals #30aloca...

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This is my favorite book for beachcombing in Florida. I use it on all my tours. It’s authored by a husband and wife team, and is authoritative yet easy to use. Pick up one for yourself. And then come take a tour with me this week and I’ll help you learn how to use it!

#emeraldcoast #emeraldc...

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Love being back on the beach! Tours operating daily!
#emeraldcoast #emeraldcoastflorida #emeraldcoasthappenings #sowal #southwalton #southwaltonbeaches #hey30a #30a #30alocal #30alocals #30alocalsguide #destin #destinfl #destinflorida #destinfwb #santarosabeach #seaside #seasideflorida #topsails...

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The beaches are officially open, and I just couldn't wait to get back out there. I found several really interesting things this morning. Here's one of them:
What we see here is something called a nudibranch, a type of mollusk (think clams, snails, oysters, octopus, etc.). It lacks a shell as a...

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Good news! Walton County is looking to reopen our beaches May 1, with some restrictions such as social distancing. We should be able to begin beach and dune tours any day now! I’m holding the shells of a common find along our beaches, a type of clam. They are commonly known as Coquina clams, spec...

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As you all know, our beaches are currently closed. However, nature continues to shine! On my walk yesterday, I encountered these beautiful pickerel weed (Pontederia corsets) flowers. They are a type of water hyacinth, and are common in shallow ponds and marshes adjacent to the beaches. Hopefully ...

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2 weeks ago
I had the pleasure of taking Professor Larry's Emerald Coast Dune and Beach Eco Tour at Topsail State Park and it was truly an unforgettable experience. Professor Larry is an expert in his field, with a wealth of knowledge about the local ecosystem, its flora and fauna, and the delicate balance that keeps it thriving. The tour started with a short presentation on the history and ecology of the area, which was fascinating and informative. Professor Larry was engaging and enthusiastic, and his passion for the subject was infectious. Once we set out on the tour, it was clear that we were in good hands. Professor Larry knew the best spots to find the most interesting wildlife and vegetation that would have gone unnoticed by the untrained eye. He took the time to explain the significance of each sighting, and how it fit into the larger ecosystem. One of the highlights of the tour was our visit to the dunes, where we learned about the importance of these natural formations and the role...
- Ross W
a year ago
My family and I had an absolutely blast hanging out with Larry and learning everything there is about the eco system of Northwest Florida. We saw ghost crabs, learned about the sand, ocean currents, why the water is blue here, and so much more!
- Julio D
2 years ago
Larry is the most passionate and knowledgeable Oceanographer I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. If you're completely ill-informed of this ecosystem, or an expert, I ensure Larry will not only show you a good time, but will educate you to the furthest extent you desire, along the way. Excellent tour and I highly recommend!
- Ethan W

Santa Rosa Beach/Seaside/Miramar Beach

Northwest Florida is home to some of the most beautiful waters and beach/dune systems in the world. Visitors from far and wide come to experience these natural wonders, but few have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of what they are seeing. While walking along these shores, visitors will learn about the waters, beaches, dunes, and wildlife (plants and animals) that make these ecosystems so special.

Why me?

*I've been teaching and learning about our beaches and dunes for over 45 years.

*Marine Biology Master's degree from the University of Alabama - most classes I took were at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

*I created and taught a televised international science show for middle schools for over 12 years. Some of you may have been taught it in your school.  "Integrated Science"

*I also taught Biology and Marine Biology in the Florida public school system for 10 years before getting my Ph.D. from the University Of Alabama in Secondary Science Education.

What will we do?

*Emerald Coast Beach and Dune Tours offers personalized visits to some of the most pristine areas along the northwest Florida Coast. 

*Have you ever wondered what makes our beach so special? Come with me and I'll show you! We will look at what is on our beaches (often overlooked), why our dune systems are so important, the wildlife (both flora and fauna) that make this system so unique, and much more!  Bring your questions!

*Tours in groups of 1-8 participants,  $50 each person

*Participants should wear comfortable clothing, hats, bring water and snacks, sunscreen, binoculars and cameras.

*Level of exercise:  Moderate, a casual walk along the beach.  We can discuss accommodations if you need to I believe that everyone should be able to enjoy the discovery of our beaches.

*Tours daily: from 9am-12 or 2-5pm; or Private Party by special request.

Contact Dr. Rainey for further details or schedule a tour.

See you on the beach!

Contact Us


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  • (205) 292-5624

Business Hours

Mon:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tue:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wed:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thu:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Fri:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sat:9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
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