Summertime travel is at its peak and many are choosing to make Florida
beaches their vacation destination. Blue skies, palm trees, pleasantly
warm waters and the ocean’s cooling breezes beckon residents and tourists alike to visit our gorgeous coastlines.
So it should come as no surprise that when TripAdvisor announced the
best U.S. beaches for their 2018 Travelers’ Choice Awards, Florida dominated
the pack. The state boasts six winners in the top 10 slots; Hawaii has
three, and California, one.
Clearwater Beach reclaimed bragging rights as the No.1 beach after
winning the same title in 2016 – and that was after USA Today readers
picked it as the Best Beach Town in Florida in 2013.
Other Florida seashores that made the top ten list include Siesta Beach
in Siesta Key, South Beach in Miami, Fort Lauderdale Beach, St. Pete Beach
and Hollywood Beach. Each has its own beauty and intrigue as you will
see in our guide.
Postcard-perfect Clearwater Beach on the
Gulf of Mexico is always ready for a closeup. With its 2.5 miles of powdery, sugar white sand, clear and shallow waters, abundance of shops and restaurants, attractive hotels, and variety of entertainment options, it makes an ideal
playground for families and travelers
of all ages. Attractions include the
Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home
of Winter the dolphin; a Pirate Cruise,
ferry rides to the beautiful and untouched
Caladesi Island; numerous fishing and boating tours, and the Sunsets
at Pier 60 Daily Festival.
At the No 2. spot on the list, Siesta
Beach on Siesta Key is less than 30
minutes south of Sarasota. With eight
miles of pristine sands, it’s a great
spot to collect seashells and sand dollars.
Interestingly, the sand here is 99%
pure quartz (silica sand) making it soft
and cool on the feet, even in the heat of
the summer. It’s believed that the sand
is millions of years old, having
originated in the Appalachians and carried down the mountain rivers until deposited on the shores of Siesta Key. The Travel
Channel voted Siesta Beach the best sand beach in America in 2004 and
Dr. Beach named it the Best Beach in America in 2011 and 2017.
Miami’s South Beach
In fourth place on the list, South Beach attracts celebrities and models,
thus making people-watching
a popular pastime. Its wide, fine, white-sand
beach is a big draw along with diverse
restaurant offerings and a wild nightlife
scene. The promenade is always
full of people walking, biking, and
strolling with their dogs. Ocean Drive,
one of the main drags, is known for its
well-preserved art deco architecture
and outdoor cafes that offer a ring-side
seat to all the action. The Wolfsonian FIU, a museum, library and research
center, is among the attractions in the Art Deco District.
Ft. Lauderdale Beach
Taking sixth place on the list, Fort Lauderdale Beach is another
beloved locale because of its miles of
clean, sun-kissed beachfront, on-duty
lifeguards, water activities, and tall
palm trees waving in the Atlantic
breezes. The city’s curvy, award winning wave wall and signature
beachfront promenade highlight
the beautiful coastline, which is punctuated by an array of shops, restaurants
and sidewalk cafes. In addition to its chic shopping and dining scene, vacationers enjoy visits to the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens and the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.
St. Pete Beach
Back to the Tampa Bay Area, No. 7. St. Pete Beach on the Gulf is famed for its golden-white sand and aquatic activities such as parasailing, windsurfing
and stand-up paddle boarding. It boasts a laid-back atmosphere and is treasured for its magnificent sunsets. The sand is easy to walk on, the water is gentle and clean, and the big play
area is expansive. A long, undeveloped stretch of public beach is located nearby at Pass-a-Grille Beach. The historic Don CeSar resort is located at the southern end of the beach. For a diversion,
one can head over to Corey Avenue where
a variety of funky specialty shops and galleries enhance the area’s charm.
Retro cool Hollywood Beach in Hollywood (located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami) takes the No. 8 spot in this list of best beaches. Prized by reviewers for its calm waters, available bathroom facilities, live entertainment, and clean and lovely surroundings, it features a Boardwalk where people bike, walk and enjoy food and drink at nearby restaurants. Play with your best furry friend at the area’s dog beach where the movie Marley and Me
was filmed. Take a Segway tour or trolley to explore downtown Hollywood.