Barrier Islands are a type of coastal land formation found across the globe on all continents (except Antarctica). It is estimated that 10% of coastlines are protected by Barrier Islands. Barrier Islands are technically considered a part of a more extensive coastal dune system and born from once was simply a nondescript sandbar.
Barrier Islands form naturally by the actions of tides and waves that repeatedly deposit sediment and other organic matter in a location near a coastline. However, because of the Barrier Island’s unique exposure to harsh elements, this essentially means that these protective islands are vulnerable to changing weather conditions like storms that result in wind-blown sand that causes beach erosion and other damage to a barrier island.
Barrier Islands tend to form as a chain of islands that may include only a few islands to more than a dozen interconnected islands that are situated alongside one another. They have these shared characteristics –
- Barrier Islands, when formed tend to be long and narrow.
- Barrier Islands form near the coast of its nearby mainland.
- Barrier Islands tend to form parallel to the coast of its nearby mainland.
Barrier Islands are incredibly important to protecting vegetation, wildlife, and coastal communities from harsh and extreme weather. The island’s dunes and grassy areas absorb the impact from the energy created by waves and storm surges before the energy and resulting potential damage hit the mainland.
The State of Texas boasts the world’s largest barrier – Padre Island, located along the Lone Star State’s southern border with the Gulf of Mexico, which doubles as a large oceanfront water lover’s haven. The coast of New York’s Long Island is home to Fire Island, a haven for city dwellers seeking the cool breezes about an hour or so from Manhattan for generations.
The majority of the 450+ Barrier Islands in the United States are located along the East Coast/Atlantic Ocean/Gulf of Mexico – From Maine to the Sunshine State. Barrier Islands tend to be preferred locations for residents who prefer a beach, outdoor lifestyle that is available if living in Florida, Texas, or California.
North Carolina is home to Hatteras Island, a fifty-mile island located in the NC’s Outer Banks and ranked among the most famous of barrier islands.
Further south, near the most southern tip of the United States, lies one of the globe’s most famous and beloved barrier islands – Miami Beach – a mecca for international visitors, residents, and celebrities, preserved art-deco, arts festivals, and some of the finest sand beaches and eateries in the country.
As you travel north from Miami Beach, there are a variety of famous Barrier Islands like Palm Beach – home to Worth Avenue, Merritt Island, Melbourne Beach, Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach, Cape Canaveral, and Daytona Beach, among others.
Barrier islands act as a valuable natural resource area, a picturesque place to live, and a prime location for recreational activities to enjoy without disturbing the delicate nature of the ocean and wildlife. While once home to retirees and those dubbed ‘snowbirds’ by Floridians, many of Florida’s coastal communities on its barrier islands have now become popular destinations. A 2021 poll noted that Florida was the top five destinations for those who moved in during the year. The primary reasons cited included –
- Changing priorities due to the pandemic and resulting lockdowns.
- Baby boomers are arriving at retirement age.
- Hoping for a lower cost of living.
- No state income tax.
Are you interested in learning about the properties available in the Dayton Beach Shores, a Barrier Island located in Volusia County, about an hour from downtown Orlando? If so, then search condos for sale here.