Every year for the past 33 years, days before Memorial Day Weekend, which kicks off the summer season in the United States, Stephen P. Leatherman, professor and director of the Coastal Research Laboratory at Florida International University in Miami, better known as Dr. Beach, reveals his list of the 10 most beautiful Public beaches in the country.
It has now become a tradition that all travelers look forward to discovering new places. This year, Florida won the award, because Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park, in the Panhandle, tops the list.
But how does this beach on the Gulf of Mexico, an hour and a half south of Tallahassee, stand out from the others?
First, it is far from urban areas, and since fauna and flora abound there, it is a favorite destination for swimmers, hunters, and bird lovers. I love bathing in its clear waters and walking the beach, scanning the soft sand for shells.
This island was severely affected after the passage of the hurricane Michael in 2018, but the area has largely recovered since then, particularly its beach, which has sand so white and so soft it looks like sugar. This 1,962-acre state park really does have a lot to offer, Dr. Beach, who has a PhD in coastal ecology from the University of Virginia, explained in his press release.
Photo provided by Stephen B Leatherman
For more than thirty years, Stephen P. Leatherman (Dr. Beach) has reviewed, rated, and evaluated beaches and coastal areas around the world. Along with his annual ranking of the best beaches in America, he works tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers of rip currents and to promote a smoking ban on beaches.
Lots of events
Thus, this park offers 14 kilometers of beaches that are among the least explored in the United States. There are also many activities to do such as canoeing and hiking. On the other hand, since the island is isolated, it is a favorite place to watch the starry sky and enjoy a breathtaking sunset. But what surprises most about this enormous beach is the exceptional whiteness of its sand. During our visit, we had the impression that we were walking on miles of white sand as soft to the touch as cotton wool. It is definitely a destination to add to your wish list.
Campsite near the beach
Another draw of this state park is the campsite. Outdoor enthusiasts will be pleased because the park has several campgrounds about ten minutes from the beach, which is a rarity in Florida. If this lifestyle isn’t your cup of tea, it’s possible to stay in hotels or rent especially nice vacation homes in the small village of St. George’s Island just 4 miles from the state park.
Caladesi Island State Park
Another top 10 recommendation to consider when traveling to Florida is the beach at Caladesi Island State Park in the Dunedin/Clearwater area. To get there, you’ll have to take a pedestrian ferry, a private boat, or take a long walk from Clearwater Beach. Dr. Beach was particularly seduced by this place for several reasons: The white quartz sand is also particularly soft and silty, especially at the water’s edge. He believes that swimming in these clear waters is a real pleasure. Finally, this place is loved because of the wooden footbridges that you can stroll on to take in the scenery. But his favorite thing to do is paddle a kayak or canoe through the mangroves to observe the great blue herons and other birds that frequent these idyllic places.
During your stay at Caladesi Island State Park, take the opportunity to discover Honeymoon Island, the neighboring island. In 1921, the islands were divided into two parts after a hurricane. Although a bit busier, this is another peaceful oasis with miles of snow-white sand, as well as a landscaped pine forest with trails to hike or bike. Also from Honeymoon Island, we joined the ferry to Kaladesi Island.
To create his list of the ten most beautiful public beaches in the United States, Stephen B. Leatherman based on fifty criteria, including water color and temperature, sand color and softness, rainfall frequency, number of days of sunshine, presence of rip currents, or current ripIn English, which can take you to the sea, the steepness of the underwater slope, the fauna and flora, the safety record, the presence of algae, traffic, and of course the presence of garbage and cigarette butts, etc. Beaches got bonus points for no smoking. Moreover, in Florida, a law allows local authorities to ban smoking on beaches. For example, smoking is prohibited at Clearwater Beach, Fort Lauderdale Beach, Miami Beach, and on all beaches in the Keys.
Image from Visit St. Pete/Clearwater on Facebook
During your stay at Caladesi Island State Park, take the opportunity to discover Honeymoon Island, the neighboring island.
Last year, Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, won the title of most beautiful beach in the United States, with Caladesi Island coming in at number two and St. George Island State Park Beach coming in at fourth. In all, there are approximately 650 public beaches in the United States, and over the years, each of these beaches has been rated according to these 50 criteria.
Her favorite beaches are on the Atlantic coast
This year, no beaches on the Atlantic coast made the list, but we asked Steven P. Leatherman for his favorite beaches on the east side of Florida. This is what he told us:
- Lake Worth Beach
- Ocean Coral Garden – Avoid rocks near the water
- Juno Beach Park
- Jupiter Beach Park
- Pompano Beach
- Cape Florida State Park
Stephen B Leatherman is America’s leading beach guru. He is the author of the book America’s best beaches Published in 1999. It is also an international reference on the impact of hurricanes, beach erosion, and the effects of sea level rise and currents. In short, a well documented basic.
Top 10 of the best beaches in the United States:
Here, in order, are the beaches that stand out this year, according to Dr. Beach.
1. St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
2. Duke Kahananoku Beach Oahu, Hawaii
3. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
4. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
5. Lighthouse Beach, Buxton Outer Banks, North Carolina
6. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
7. Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii
8. Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina
9. Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
10. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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