Why should Dr. Beach have all the fun? While his famous best beaches in the U.S. list for 2014 won’t come out until Memorial Day weekend, the folks over at TripAdvisor have corralled their user reviews to come out with their second annual Travelers’ Choice Awards including the Top 25 Beaches, not only in the U.S., but for the world.
The site trumpets the awards with the tagline, “Millions of reviews. Nothing by the best.”
For 2014, Florida’s beaches shone bright again, with 10 of its sandy destinations ranking among the top 25 in the U.S.
Hawaii, which also had 10 of the top 25, has a stranglehold on the top 10 though, with seven beaches represented, while Florida had two and South Carolina had one. Four other states had one beach each in the top 25: California, Maine, Massachusetts and Virginia.
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The top beach for Florida was Siesta Key Public Beach in Siesta Key, near Sarasota, coming in at No. 3 overall. The only South Florida beach was Bahia Honda in the Keys.
Siesta Beach — Dr. Beach’s best beach in the U.S. in 2011 — has 1,831 reviews on TripAdvisor with glowing statements such as that from user TrishaVanCole from Winnipeg, Canada who writes, “We made a day trip to Siesta Key – and it is definitely worth the trip. The sand is blindingly white (without sunglasses) and powder soft. The beach is clean and the water stays fairly shallow for a ways out. Lots of fun picking shells, playing in the surf and building in the sand and people watching.”
Florida’s other top 10 beach ranked No. 9: St. Pete Beach near Tampa Bay.
It has 754 reviews such as user Nathalie R from Kapuskasing, Canada who writes, “Beach was very clean and beautiful. Environment was very family-friendly and “spring-break free”. We will surely recommend the area to our family and friends and will return for future family vacations. The area truly is America’s best beach.”
The other Florida beaches in the top 25 are:
No. 11: Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin
No. 14: St. Augustine Beach, Saint Augustine Beach
No. 17: Bahia Honda State Park and Beach, Big Pine Key
No. 19: Pensacola Beach, Pensacola
No. 20: Beach at Panama City, Panama City Beach
No. 21: Clearwater Beach, Clearwater
No. 22: Lido Beach, Sarasota
No. 25: Navarre Beach, Navarre
So statewide, five of the best beaches are centered on the Gulf Coast near Tampa Bay, while three are along the Gulf Coast in the Panhandle. The East Coast lands one and the Florida Keys land the other.
That’s similar to Dr. Beach, a.k.a. Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, the Director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, who has been doing his list for 23 years.
Dr. Beach has given his top award to seven Florida beaches over the years. (Once you win, you’re off the list):
• 2011: Siesta Beach on Siesta Key near Sarasota
• 2008: Caladesi Island State Park north of Tampa
• 2005: Fort DeSoto Park in St. Petersburg
• 2002: St. Joseph Peninsula in Port St. Joe
• 1995: St. Andrews State Park in Panama City
• 1994: Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach
• 1992: Bahia Honda State Park on Big Pine Key
And has ranked three more beaches among his top 10 in 2013:
• No. 3: St. George Island State Park in the panhandle
• No. 6: Barefoot Beach Park in Bonita Springs
• No. 7: Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne
In previous years, one other Florida beach had cracked Dr. Beach’s top 10: Lighthouse Point Park in Ponce Inlet south of Daytona Beach
Now as far as TripAdvisor goes, the top beach in the U.S. is in Hawaii – Lanikai Beach in Kailua. Hawaii’s Ka'anapali Bach in Lahaina came in at No. 2 followed by Florida’s Siesta Beach. Those two Hawaii beaches were also the only U.S. beaches ranked in TripAdvisor’s top 25 beaches in the world.
Here’s TripAdisor’s top 10 U.S. beach list:
No. 1: Lanikai Beach, Kailua, Hawaii
No. 2: Ka'anapali Beach, Lahaina, Hawaii
No. 3: Siesta Key Public Beach, Siesta Key, Florida
No. 4: Hanalei Beach, Hanalei, Hawaii
No. 5: Wai'anapanapa State Park, Hana, Hawaii
No. 6: Wailea Beach, Wailea, Hawaii
No. 7: Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort, South Carolina
No. 8: Manini'owali Beach (Kua Bay), Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
No. 9: Saint Pete Beach, Saint Pete Beach, Florida
No. 10: Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Honolulu, Hawai
Here’s TripAdisor’s top 10 global beach list:
No. 1: Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
No. 2: Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
No. 3: Flamenco Beach (Playa Flamenco), Culebra, Puerto Rico
No. 4: Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa, Islands of Sicily, Italy
No. 5: Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Whitsunday Islands, Australia
No. 6: Playa de ses Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain
No. 7: Anse Lazio, Praslin Island, Seychelles
No. 8: Lanikai beach, Kailua, Hawaii
No. 9: Rhossili Bay, Swansea, United Kingdom
No. 10: Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres, Mexico
This is the second year of the TripAdvisor awards. Siesta Beach actually ranked 16th in the world in the 2013 version, and second in the U.S. The state as a whole had only nine of the U.S. top 25, though, so it actually gained one beach in 2014.
Falling out of the top 25 in 2014 were:
• Gulf Islands National Seashore in Pensacola
• Fort De Soto Park in Tierra Verde
• St. Andrews State Park in Panama City
• Pass-a-Grille in St. Pete Beach
• Canaveral National Seashore