TAMPA, Fla. — Finding inner peace can be a challenge, but for many, being surrounded by nature provides balance and positivity.

What You Need To Know

  • Licensed therapist Karen Allen sheds light to how impactful nature and finding a goal in life can help with mental health

  • Tampa resident Effie Orfanides found a new purpose in life through an idea she's had for years

  • Orfanides said by starting her app, it helped her get out of depression

  • DOWNLOAD BEACHEO: AppleGoogle Play

Licensed therapist Karen Allen explains the therapeutic benefits.

"Being able to go out, even to the beach, and commune with nature and see the beauty of life and earth, creates a sense of peace and perspective within us," Allen said.

She goes on to explain how finding a goal in life can help.

“Finding meaning, finding something that gives us purpose, a sense of purpose, that we have value that we can help somebody else and speak into someone elses life in some way," she said.

A free app, called Beacheo, designed by a Tampa resident helps simplify the process of finding your perfect beach.

It's days like this that remind Effie Orfanides why she loves the beach. "It's just a really calming place. You look out at the water, you feel like you belong," she said.

Growing up in Massachusetts, she spent her childhood summers at the beach in Cape Cod.

"The beach was always just my calming place, my happy place," she explained.

She moved to Florida in October 2016, but her personal life dissolved into disarray. Within six months, she lost her marriage, her dog, and then her job.

"It put me through a really severe depression," she said.

Orfanides rebounded from that low point, though, when an idea she carried with her for years motivated her to create an app to share her love for beaches.

"My No. 1 priority was helping people and I felt that if I could do something that was close to my heart, that could help people in a way, made me feel like I had purpose, and maybe someone else would find it useful and easier," she said.

She spent months researching beaches nationwide, about amenities like free parking, bathrooms, handicap accessibility, or if dogs are allowed. "It took many, many hours," she said.

Orfanides eventually drew out her design on paper and later hired a company to help develop the app she named "Beacheo." It was released in January 2022.

"We have beaches in every state, we have over 2,000 beaches, including Puerto Rico," she said of the app.

To find a beach, just type in the city or the zip code you want to go to. Once you click on a beach, you can see weather, when it opens and closes, tide information, and red tide conditions. You can also find nearby entertainment. It will even give you directions.

"Just giving people a piece of mind, something tangible to make life easier is really the goal of Beacheo," she said.

The idea became a fresh start for Effie and a valuable resource for many others.

The app has more than 10,000 downloads, and red tide information is its newest feature. Orfanides is working on a second app.