Dr. Beach’s annual list of the best beaches in the country is here, and Florida makes the cut, as it consistently has over the past two decades.
Using factors like noise levels, traffic, smell, general access, algae in the water, rip currents and beach slopes, the 2019 Top 10 Beaches named two well-known patches of Florida sand.
Number three on the list is Grayton Beach State Park in Florida’s panhandle. Its “sugar-white sand and emerald green water... where big sand dunes still dominate the landscape” put it at this high ranking, according Dr. Beach himself.
Caladesi Island State Park in in the Clearwater area, which is primarily accessible by boat, ranked number six on the list, snagging a home team win for the Tampa Bay area.
This year’s number one beach is predictably in Hawaii, with Oahu's Kailua Beach Park making the top of the list, as it has in the last couple of years.
Some Florida spots that didn’t make this year’s cut are Siesta Beach that topped Dr. Beach’s list in 2017, and the panhandle’s St. George Island State Park that made the list in 2015.
Perhaps Dr. Beach himself, aka Stephen Leatherman, is a little biased towards Florida as he’s a professor of Coastal Research at Florida International University. For 25 years, Leatherman has studied beaches and nature’s effects on them.
And yes, he’s technically a real doctor with a Ph.D in Environmental (Coastal) Sciences from the University of Virginia. And he’s diagnosed us with beach fever.