By Abraham Galvan | Northwest Florida Daily News 

The Gulf Coast has the most breath-taking beaches and brightest waters. Many people wonder what makes our waters so clear and have many shades of greens and blues.

featThe answer can be as simple as there isn’t much in the coastal waters, according to Dr. Jane Caffrey, a professor in the Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

The coloring of the water depends on how much clay, algae, sediment, and other materials that might flow into the beaches through streams of fresh water or rain water. Algae creates a green color, while the sand and clay can form brownish colors.

“In our area, fresh water comes from Piney Woods (Creek) and the stream has a tea-like color to it,’ Caffrey said. “Area rivers aren’t that big and don’t carry much material. That’s why our beaches are so clear.”

Beaches seem to be the clearest during the winter time because of the cooler weather and green algae is not as active. The waters are also much calmer. During the summer, the beaches tend to have more color due to the flow of material coming from rain and streams.

“Really rainy days can influence the coastal area and make it so clear,” she said.

But, there is no denying the beauty of the white beaches and gulf views the Panhandle has to offer.

“These are the most beautiful beaches in the world,” Caffrey said. “We basically have glass beaches. Bright and light.”