Beach-Building Basics

“We help monitor nesting activities, and teach people about these remarkable animals we share the planet with,” says Lynk. “The scientific duties and programming begin in March with hatching in late July through October, but the timing is dictated by the nesting patterns of the turtles.” The scientific duties include monitoring nesting by surveying the beach every morning, capturing stragglers for same-day evening release, marking nests, and recording scientific data such as the number of eggs that did not hatch, hatchling deformities, etc.

Other tours include the popular kayak and snorkel trip. “Our program was developed in order to give a broad range of opportunities to let people snorkel,” says Lynk. “The full trips take people up the beach to an area that is unique geologically and good for snorkeling, and then they paddle back.” The fee for this program is $55 a person with eight to 10 people per trip.

Nature walks explore the large nature preserve on both the ocean and bay sides. At the north end on the ocean side, the tours explore the rare habitats of coastal scrub, coastal hammock and dunes and mangrove forests. “We educate people about the land, the type of environment and how much it provides for us, such as safe harbor for the juvenile stages of the fish we eat, and protection from storms,” says Lynk.

A Day At The Beach

Beach-goers also can take advantage of the 77-room cabana. The rooms–with showers but no electricity–are available to rent daily or annually. People who rent for the year tend to use the rooms for storing beach equipment, such as chairs, umbrellas and sunscreen; others use the spaces to store art supplies.

“The rooms are very popular since the cabana is adjacent to our recreational area for children, which includes an historic carousel and the old zoo area that is now a garden,” says Lynk. “The cabana rooms provide a place to have more privacy for showering and changing.”

Crandon Park also hosts a 5,000-square-foot nature center, a retired zoo converted to a garden, concrete pad shelters for picnicking and grilling, plenty of biking and rollerblading trails and two miles of beach. Along the beach, there are plenty of rental shade-shelters. “We also offer volleyball and kayak rentals,” says Lynk. “The volleyball rental is a very relaxed system. We have four nets set up, and people can borrow a ball, with our holding their identification as a security deposit.”

Concessionaires offer everything from food and drink, chairs, umbrellas and bicycles to scuba-diving and snorkeling equipment. One old concessions building on the beach was refurbished, and is now used as the kayak concession. “The eco-tours begin right at the building,” says Lynk. During the peak season, there are between 20 and 30 rentals per day at $30 per three hours. “We also have a kite-surfing school concessionaire that teaches on the beach.” Other activities nearby include a marina with several tour boats awaiting deep-sea fishing enthusiasts; sail boats and motor boats also are available for rent.

So, you don’t need world-class facilities to provide recreation to patrons, and to build revenue opportunities for your agency. “If you find an open space, all you have to do is create the canvas, and people will paint it with their activities,” advises Fox.

Tammy York is the owner of LandShark Communications LLC, which specializes in media and public relations for outdoor recreation businesses. Her book, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Cincinnati, is available online and in bookstores. You can reach her at

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