Between Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, there is an extremely long island off the coast, Santa Rosa Island. Its dunes consist of the finest white sands and can reach very high temperatures in the sun. Of course there are no rhododendrons. However, many other plants thrive there between the Gulf of Mexico and the Santa Rosa Sound. I was especially interested in Magnolia grandiflora. The species, which forms imposing trees elsewhere, only reaches the height of low scrub here. But the flowers are no less beautiful. Apparently the magnolias here stabilize the dunes along with the other plants. Elsewhere, Santa Rosa Island is densely built up with high-rise buildings and vacation apartments. Since my friend Ron Miller calls a few of them his own, we naturally stayed there once (Navarre Beach). It was great to take a refreshing bath in the Gulf of Mexico after a strenuous rhododendron excursion. The water was even warm enough. In the evenings the classic Florida sunset can be admired.