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Tourists Spoke: Fla. Is Home to 10 of 15 ‘Best U.S. Beaches’

Those online tourism reviews on TripAdvisor? The company analyzed them to identify most-loved beaches, and 10 of the top 15 are in Fla., ranging from the Panhandle to Miami. Overall, tourists’ online reviews ranked Clearwater Beach as their No. 1 U.S. seaside destination.

ORLANDO, Fla. – TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice awards are to tourism what the People’s Choice awards are to movie stars. The travel website analyzes all the reviews it receives for destinations and then ranks their desirability based on actual visitors’ comments.

For 2020, the people made their beach preference clear: 10 Florida cities were ranked as one of the top 15 beaches in the U.S. Of the top 25 best beaches, 40% are in Florida and almost 30% in Hawaii. Trip Advisor says it based its winners on the quantity and quality of traveler reviews, and bubble ratings for beaches on TripAdvisor gathered over a 12-month period.

“For the second year in a row, Florida’s Clearwater Beach is named the No. 1 beach in America,” TripAdvisor said in announcing this year’s best beaches.

“It’s special to have the millions who make up the TripAdvisor community reaffirm that (Clearwater Beach) truly is the No. 1 beach in America for the second-straight year,” says Leroy Bridges, vice president of digital & communications for Visit St. Pete/Clearwater. “And having St. Pete Beach at No. 4 underscores why we think St. Pete/Clearwater has America’s Best Beaches.”

Top 15 Travelers’ Choice beaches in the U.S.

1. Clearwater Beach – Clearwater, Florida

Recent review: “Clearwater Beach is a very family-oriented beach. There is ample parking along the beach and a metered parking lot. The beach itself has very fine white sand, which is very clean, with bathrooms and various places to wash the sand off your feet as you leave the beach.”

2. Ka’anapali Beach – Lahaina, Hawaii

Recent review: “One of the most beautiful and cleanest beaches I’ve visited. Whales jumping in the distance becomes commonplace. Beautiful sunsets. There is an awesome Beachwalk with restaurants and resorts along the way. Relaxing vibe, not very crowded.”

3. Panama City Beach – Panama City Beach, Florida

Recent review: “The most beautiful beach in the world, year-round. The sand is pure white and water, crystal blue. Panama City Beach is definitely heaven on earth. You’ll love the beach and Pier Park offers plenty of shopping, places to eat, a grand movie theater and fun-filled entertainment.”

4. St. Pete Beach – St. Pete Beach, Florida

Recent review: “Amazing time - beautiful beach - what’s not to love? The sand is soft, silky and warm for strolls along the beach and shell collecting. Love the warm water and the low tide levels for kids. An awesome weekend in a beautiful location with stunning sunsets, lovely food, the thing dreams are made of on vacation!”

5. Pensacola Beach – Pensacola Beach, Florida

Recent review: “Love these white sand beaches! Awesome atmosphere and well behaved crowds. Not rowdy like other beaches. Plenty of rental chairs/umbrellas. Visit the fishing pier for some great photos.”

6. Siesta Beach – Siesta Key, Florida

Recent review: “If you want to hit a great beach with PLENTY of room, you found it! There are chairs and umbrellas available to rent, a place to get food and drinks (even adult ones), bathrooms, showers, volleyball, parasailing and plenty of activities. We were able to throw the football with the kids without worrying about hitting anyone or running into anyone. Beautiful view!”

7. Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area – Puako, Hawaii

Recent review: “A big golden beach in the northwest part of the island. As Hawaiian beaches go, this one was long with plenty of soft sand that made it great for walking and watching the waves. Also, there is a path at the end of the beach that runs along the lava rocky shore which makes for a nice hike if you are wearing sturdy closed toe shoes. All in all a beautiful park and beach.”

8. St. Augustine Beach – St. Augustine Beach, Florida

Recent review: “Loved walking the beach for miles in search of shells. Easy public access from numerous points. Public parking was free. The expanse of the beach seemed to be an endless expanse. We walked three miles in a round-trip search for shells, watching sea birds, people watching and chatting with fellow travelers. It was a sweet treat.”

9. Fort Lauderdale Beach – Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Recent review: “Stretching more than 5 miles, the Fort Lauderdale beach offers something for everyone, from the fast life of the fit and fabulous to the more traditional sand castle fun of families with little kids. The central point of the beach has old traditional joints like the Elbow Room and Drunken Taco with more up-to-date and gourmet options from Asian fusion to Italian. As you head south, larger beaches and family friendly areas for the kids to splash around and be loud.”

10. Driftwood Beach – Jekyll Island, Georgia

Recent review: “This is a wonder of nature. To sit on one of the fallen branches of what was once a huge tree is so relaxing as you listen to the water and watch the waves. It can be tricky out here though and one has to be careful of the tide schedule.”

11. Cherry Grove Beach – North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Recent review: “Most likely to not be crowded, best chances of free parking, more shells, lots of beach showers, toilet access – and the same great ocean as Myrtle Beach. As locals, this is where our family goes most often when we go to the beach.”

12. Navarre Beach – Navarre, Florida

Recent review: “We visited Navarre Beach after stumbling upon it, one of the BEST well-kept vacations secrets in the U.S. The beaches are white powder, the water looks like the Bahamas and the locals are chill and friendly. Great restaurants, hotels on the ocean and overall feel. We’ll be back!”

13. Poipu Beach Park – Poipu, Hawaii

Recent review: “Perfect sand, nice ledge about 10 feet from the shoreline. There are sections that have either rock or coral that can make it a challenge to stand but those areas are small. The sunsets from this beach are absolutely stunning. Best on the island hands down!”

14. South Beach – Miami Beach, Florida

Recent review: “We loved it – especially the Art Deco and stunning restored buildings at South Beach. The beach is fabulous, good swimming and good lazing in the sun on the sun-beds with umbrellas. Enjoyed the choice of restaurants along South Beach, but our favorite is the Villa Casa Casuarina, the former home of the adored Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace.”

15. Hollywood Beach – Hollywood, Florida

Recent review: “Our family really enjoyed Hollywood Beach. Safe, friendly and clean. There are areas to rinse off your feet, toys, etc., at each entrance to the beach. Beautiful boardwalk to walk along when you need a break from the sun. There are also cabanas, beds, chairs and umbrellas to rent right on the beachfront. You can ask for food and alcoholic beverages in plastic cups to-go and have them right on the beach.”

For the full list of top 25 U.S. beaches, visit TripAdvisor’s website.

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