As I make a move out of Florida, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the things I wish I’d have done and what I’ll have to do when I come back for a visit. Unfortunately, I’d moved to a part of Florida (Orlando) that was decently far from any beaches, or at least far enough for me to be disinterested, but I have visited Pensacola once with my mom, and it was charming. That’s as good as I can do.
You’d think I’d have at least heard of Coquina Beach after two years, though. If you’re like me and have no idea, Coquina Beach is located on the southern end of Anna Maria Island, Florida. Interestingly enough, the history of Coquina Beach is closely tied to the history of Anna Maria Island itself. The island was inhabited by indigenous tribes for thousands of years before European explorers arrived in the early 16th century.
The first known European to set foot on Anna Maria Island was Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1539. However, it was not until the late 1800s that the island began to be settled by pioneers. In 1892, George Emerson Bean became the first permanent resident of the island, and he established a homestead that would eventually become the city of Anna Maria.
Coquina Beach gets its name from the coquina shells that make up the sand on the beach. These tiny shells are the remains of small marine creatures that lived in the waters off the coast of Florida millions of years ago. Over time, the shells were compressed and cemented together to form a sedimentary rock known as coquina.
In the early 1900s, Coquina Beach was used as a landing strip for seaplanes. During World War II, the beach was closed to the public and used as a training ground for soldiers. After the war, the beach was reopened to the public and became a popular tourist destination.
Today, Coquina Beach is part of the Coquina Beach Gulfside Park, which includes picnic areas, a playground, and restrooms. The beach is known for its white sands and clear waters, and it remains a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
It sounds like a perfectly happenin’ place, if you can ignore the ghost story behind the beach which is pretty traumatizing, if I’m honest. Enough that I’m glad I never went.
While there are stories of supernatural occurrences on the island, there is no specific legend about a haunted Coquina Beach.
However, there have been reports of paranormal activity on Anna Maria Island. Some locals and visitors have reported seeing ghostly apparitions, experiencing unexplained sounds and smells, and feeling an eerie presence in certain areas of the island.
One of the most famous legends associated with Anna Maria Island involves the historic Anna Maria City Pier. According to the legend, the ghost of a woman who drowned near the pier in the 1920s still haunts the area. Visitors have reported hearing ghostly cries for help and feeling cold spots near the pier.
Another legend tells the story of a phantom canoe that appears and disappears in the waters around Anna Maria Island. Some people claim to have seen the canoe and its ghostly occupants paddling silently through the misty early morning waters.
There’s also talk of a shadow man “in black clothing” who walks around the picnic area before vanishing near the shoreline.
Fantastic. If you’re brave enough to venture out, the picnic area is still open and available.
I might need to sit on this one for my “must finally visit” list. I don’t want to choke from getting scared.
Have you heard the legends of Coquina Beach? Let me know in the comments!