Four Florida beaches are among the 10 best in America for 2015 as ranked by coastal expert and environmental scientist Dr. Stephen Leatherman, known as Dr. Beach. The Top 10 list for 2015 was announced recently.
Florida beaches in the new Top 10 are #2 Barefoot Beach Park on Florida’s southwest coast, #3 St. George Island State Park in northwest Florida, #6 Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Biscayne Bay, and #9 Delnor-Wiggins PDelnor-Wiggins Pass State Park img_1775ass State Park in Collier County.
Leatherman, professor and director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University, praised Florida’s beaches for their white, “squeaky clean” sand, gentle surf and clean, emerald-colored waters.
VISIT FLORIDA’s Chief Marketing Officer Paul Phipps said Florida’s continuously high rankings lend scientific validation to visitor word-of-mouth that led a record 98.9 million U.S. and international visitors to the Sunshine State in 2014.
“This is extremely valuable exposure that connects us with beach-lovers around the world,” Phipps said. “When Florida is recognized in prestigious rankings such as this, new visitors come to see our beaches for themselves, and they tend to come back again and again.”
Phipps pointed out that Florida’s winning Dr. Beach beaches, and nearly all of Florida’s 825 miles of beaches, may now be viewed in Florida Beach Finder, presenting step-by-step panoramic images in Street View on Google Maps. Find the platform at VISITFLORIDA.com/BeachFinder.
Dr. Beach’s “Top 10” beaches for 2015
1. Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii
2. Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park, in Collier and Lee counties, southwest Florida
3. St. George Island State Park, Franklin County, northwest Florida
4. Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii
5. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks, North Carolina
6. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, southeast Florida
7. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
8. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
9. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Naples, southwest Florida (in photo above; credit: Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB – Paradise Coast)
10. East Beach, Santa Barbara, California
Florida has been a No. 1 national winner seven times
Since the inception of the Dr. Beach lists in 1991, the beaches of Florida and the Hawaiian Islands have dominated the No. 1 rankings. Leatherman judged these 25 beauties to be tops in terms of sand quality, water quality, and a long list of other measures.
Florida beaches have won the top honor seven times.
Beach lovers would be wise to start at the beginning and visit each beach in the Dr. Beach hall of fame, though one can’t go wrong visiting any of Florida’s 825 miles of beaches.
Here are the Florida beaches long recognized by Dr. Beach as best in America:
· Bahia Honda State Recreation Area (1992, second year of the list), now a state park, in the Florida Keys.
· Grayton Beach State Recreation Area (1994), now a state park, in Walton County
· St. Andrew’s State Recreation Area (1995), now a state park, in Bay County, Panama City Beach
· St. Joseph Peninsula State Park (2002) in Gulf County, near Port St. Joe
· Fort De Soto Park, North Beach (2005) in Pinellas County, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
· Caladesi Island State Park (2008) in Pinellas County, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
· Siesta Key Beach (2011), near Sarasota.
Learn more about Florida, its beaches and summer travel at VISITFLORIDA.com and VISITFLORIDA.com/beaches.