SIESTA BEACH FLORIDA Best beach in US by Dr Beach

SIESTA BEACH FLORIDA Best beach in US by Dr Beach

The sand on Siesta Beach on Florida's Gulf Coast is as fine as powdered sugar, a pure, sparkling white and soft as a kitten's fur; all because it's comprised of 99 per cent pure crushed quartz.

For that reason, and many others, it was selected this year as the best beach in America by a professor who's made a career ranking and studying beaches around the United States.

“The sand is outstanding,” said Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, a professor at Miami's Florida International University. “Every time I go there, I've got to take a bag home with me. It's almost sacrilegious to walk on it with shoes on.”

Other beaches that made the list this year, in order of ranking, are:

2. Kapalua Bay Beach in Maui, Hawaii
3. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina
4. Grayton Beach State Park on the Florida Panhandle
5. Coopers Beach in Southampton, New York
6. Coast Guard Beach on Cape Cod in Massachusetts
7. Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
8. Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii
9. Coronado Beach in San Diego, California
10. Beachwalker Park on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.


On a recent workday, Siesta Beach was packed with people, even though it wasn't particularly sunny. The turquoise water was still gorgeous, the sand still fine. The beach is about 60-90 metres (200-300 feet) wide in some places, which means people can stretch out and not feel crowded. The beach was last year's runner up and one of three in Florida on this year's top 10 list.

“It's nice and clean, that's what I look for,” said Jamie Gaskin, a 59-year-old retiree from Lakeland, Florida, who was scoping out the beach for a family Memorial Day party. She especially liked the two-story pavilion, which boasts a snack bar and restrooms. It's only two years old and even offers sweet crepes for breakfast and tapas dishes in the early evening.

“There's plenty of tables to barbecue and to hang out. And the restrooms were nice and clean. I'd definitely recommend this,” she said.

Siesta Beach is on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, and is located just southwest of downtown Sarasota. The water is placid on most days, Leatherman says you can measure the waves “in inches” and is shallow and safe for swimming, with no sharp drop-offs.

Added bonuses include lots of parking, a trolley service to and from the island's adorable downtown area and plenty of lifeguards. The beach also has natural dunes, which is a bit rare for Florida, and the fine sand is excellent for building sand castles.

“I look for kind of a balance between nature and a developed environment,” said Leatherman, who lives on the other side of the state, closer to Miami Beach. “Fourteen million people go to Miami Beach every year. There are just too many people there. I think a lot of people are looking for more of a getaway.”

Leatherman, who is director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University, uses about 50 criteria to assess and rank beaches across the country. In recent years, he has given extra points to beaches that prohibit smoking, saying cigarette butts are not only environmentally damaging, but can ruin the experience for beach-goers. Safety and environmental management are other major factors, he said.

He's rated beaches since 1991.

The Maui beach that came in at No. 2 on the list, Kapalua Bay Beach, is smaller than Siesta Beach. It's crescent-shaped and flanked by palm trees. Unlike lots of Hawaii beaches, there aren't many waves at Kapalua, he said, making it perfect for safe swimming.

“The coral reefs almost go right to the beach. There are tropical fish swimming all around.”

The third beach on the list, Ocracoke, is unique in both history and location. Leatherman points out that it was once the pirate Blackbeard's old haunt. And it's only accessible by a state ferry.

“The only negative I have, it seems like too many cars,” he said. “I wish they would turn car ferries to pedestrian ferries.”

Leatherman says he tries to select locations that are a bit off the beaten path, yet immensely rewarding once visitors arrive. Siesta Beach, he points out, is an outstanding place to watch the sun dip below the Gulf horizon; one more reason why it made the top of this year's list.

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You will visit the following 7 places:

South Carolina

South Carolina

South Carolina is a southeastern state in the region of the United States. Bordered to the north by North Carolina, to the south and west by Georgia across the Savannah River, and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, the state is known for its shoreline of subtropical beaches and marshlike sea islands. It is the 40th most extensive and the 23rd most populous U.S. state. It is also a quintessentially state filled with culture, history, beautiful coastlines, scenic mountain and delicious cuisine.

North Carolina

North Carolina

North Carolina is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. Known as the Tar Heel State and the Old North State, it is home to many golf courses, stunning gardens, scenic drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and numerous opportunities for hiking, biking, and fishing.

New York City

New York City

New York City is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York metropolitan area. The city has a significant impact on global commerce, finance, media, culture, art, fashion, research, education, and entertainment. As host of the United Nations Headquarters, it is also an important center for international affairs. The city is often referred to as ''New York City'' or the ''City of New York'', to distinguish it from the state of New York, of which it is a part. Located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, New York City consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. 

Maui

Maui

The island of Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at 727.2 square miles (1883.5 km2) and is the 17th largest island in the United States. It is part of the state of Hawaii and is the largest of Maui County's four islands, bigger than Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, and Molokaʻi. In 2010, Maui had a population of 154,834, third-most populous of the Hawaiian islands, behind that of Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi.  Maui is a leading whale-watching center in the Hawaiian Islands due to Humpback whales wintering in the sheltered ʻAuʻau Channel between the islands of Maui county. The whales migrate approximately 3,500 miles (5,600 km) from Alaskan waters each autumn and spend the winter months mating and birthing in the warm waters off Maui, with most leaving by the end of April. The whales are typically sighted in pods: small groups of several adults, or groups of a mother, her calf, and a few suitors. Humpbacks are an endangered species protected by U.S. federal and Hawaiʻi state law.

San Diego

San Diego

San Diego, named after Saint Didacus, is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California after Los Angeles, with a population of 1,306,300 (Jul 2009) within its administrative limits on a land area of 372.1 square miles (963.7 km2). The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. The urban area of San Diego extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 2,880,000. San Diego is also the county seat of San Diego County, the 5th largest county, by population, in the United States.   

Clearwater

Clearwater

Clearwater is a city located in Pinellas County, Florida, US, nearly due west of Tampa and northwest of St. Petersburg. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 108,787. It is the county seat of Pinellas County. Clearwater is the smallest of the three principal cities in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, most commonly referred to as the Tampa Bay Area. Present-day Clearwater was originally the home of the Tocobaga people. Around 1835, the United States Army began construction of Fort Harrison, named after William Henry Harrison, as an outpost during the Seminole Wars. The fort was located on a bluff overlooking Clearwater Harbor, which later became part of an early 20th century residential development called Harbor Oaks. University of South Florida archaeologists excavated the site in 1977 after Alfred C. Wyllie discovered an underground ammunition bunker while digging a swimming pool on his estate.

Cape Cod

Cape Cod

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