|Siesta Key Beach // (c) 2011 www.DrBeach.org|
Siesta Key Beach, on a barrier island off Florida's central Gulf Coast, is the best beach in America for 2011, says Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, aka "Dr. Beach," who released his annual rankings.
"The powdery sand is nearly pure quartz crystal. The beach is hundreds of yards wide, attracting volleyball players and beachcombers as well as those who just want to find their place in the sun," said Leatherman, who is director of Florida International University's Laboratory for Coastal Research.
St. George Island State Park, in Northwest Florida, and Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne, also are in Dr. Beach's Top 10 for this year. The other Top 10 beaches are in six other states.
Seven other Florida beaches were named best in America in recent years: Caladesi Island (2008) and Fort De Soto North (2005), both in the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay area; St. Joseph Peninsula State Park (2002) near Port St. Joe; St. Andrews State Park (1995) in Panama City Beach; Grayton Beach (1994) in Walton County; and Bahia Honda State Park (1992) in the Florida Keys.