As you relax on nine miles of sugar-white sandBeach on St. George Island, Gulf of Mexico, Florida, rest assured you're lying on some of America's best beaches.
At least according to "dr beech"Who might have the best job in the world?"
Just in time for Memorial Day, doc. Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University, released his 33rd annual ranking of the 650 best public beaches in the United States. This year, the state park on St. George Island near the Florida Panhandle ranked No. 1 after years of climbing and falling into the top 10.
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"There were so many things out there that captured my imagination," Leatherman told The Associated Press. "It's an idyllic place."
The second beach on Florida's Gulf Coast, Caladesi Island State Park near Clearwater and Dunedin, came in fourth this year. Hawaii beats us with three beaches in the top ten, but who's counting? (We are number one!)
Dr. Beach rates beaches using 50 criteria, including water and sand quality, safety and environmental management practices. The beach gets bonus points for being non-smoking.
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Beaches on St. George's Island are Dr. Beach's top picks for 2023
Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State ParkLocated on the easternmost point of the 22-mile barrier island in the Franklin County Panhandle, about a two-hour drive from Tallahassee. This is Dr.'s favorite. Beaches and often rank in the top 10, falling briefly after Hurricane Michael devastated the area.
It's not hard to see why, St. George's Island consistently ranks in the top 10. The beach is done. The beach is protected from development and offers many activities such as fishing, swimming and kayaking in the clear gulf waters, bird watching, beach combing, shelling, camping and stargazers with unmatched night sky views, which Letterman called from the tower A day trip from Lahassee.
Florida's longest seaside state park, the park covers approximately 2,000 acres (810 ha) on the eastern tip of the island and is connected to the mainland by a bridge over Apalachicola Bay. The rest of the island has small villages, restaurants, rentals and motels, but not much else, which is a big part of the Dr. Beaches matter.
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“People have the best of both worlds there, just miles of pristine beaches,” Leatherman said.
The island has been through a lot in recent years. Tropical storms are nothing new, but 2018's Hurricane Michael hit hard, a Category 5 storm that destroyed many sand dunes and park amenities like picnic pavilions and restrooms on St. George's Island. But time, park staff and volunteers have helped restore it to its former glory.
For those who count, St. George Island Beach is #4 on Dr. beach
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Caladesi Island State Park has been ranked #4 by Dr. for 2023. list of beaches
Caladesi Island State Park, another common dr. The beach's top 10 list ranks fourth this year, up from second in 2022.
Caladesi is mainly reached by ferry and private boat, but those in good health can walk there from Clearwater Beach. Caladesi is no longer an actual island because a bay has been closed, Leatherman said.
"The white-sand beaches, made up of crystal-clear quartz sand, are soft and comfortable by the water's edge, inviting you to swim in sparkling, clear water," he says.
In Caladesi, you can find nature trails on the boardwalk or kayak through the mangroves, which are home to numerous fish, birds and other animals. Ferries drop visitors into the middle of the island, so those looking for more seclusion are only a short walk north or south.
"My favorite is the kayak and canoe route through the mangroves to spot the great blue herons and other birds that are common in this beautiful natural area," Leatherman said.
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What are Dr.'s Top 10 Beaches for 2023?
1.St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
2. Duke Kahanamoku 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
7. Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii
8. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
9. Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
10. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Who is Dr. Beach?
Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach, has been in the sand all his life.
"My parents figured that if one neighbor had a basketball hoop and another had a tree house, then my home should be attractive to the neighbor's kids," he says on his website. "I have the largest sandbox in my backyard in Charlotte, North Carolina. I'm so excited. Every year I pick a beach vacation to play in the world's largest sandbox and splash in the waves."
Beginning his lifelong career measuring storm-swept beaches at Cape Hatteras, he became an internationally recognized expert on beach erosion, hurricane impacts, sea level rise and the effects of ocean currents. Leatherman has given numerous expert testimony before Congress and also serves as a consultant to individuals or local governments who wish to find the best beaches for an event, track historical changes, or make decisions regarding the construction, relocation, or demolition of beachfront properties and attractions. He also He directed and co-produced the 1992 film "Lost Lands", which won three International Film Awards.
In 1989, a travel magazine asked Leatherman for a list of the ten most beautiful beaches in America, but he was traveling.
"At the urging of journalists, I made a list of the top ten wonderful beaches that came to mind," he said. Then he forgot about it until the magazine came out and the phone rang. He heard the voices of the winners as well as the voices of the snubbed.
"The people in the media at Daytona Beach have been the most outspoken about this whole thing," Leatherman said. "They want to know why their beach isn't on the list, because everyone knows that Daytona is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, even on the city's water tower."
So he developed 50 criteria to rate each beach and researched all of them. The university publishes its first Ph.D. The beach list for Memorial Day weekend in 1991, and it grew over the next 32 years as readers shared, argued, and planned their vacations.
Originally, Dr. was ranked number one on every beach. beach list, retired and became ineligible for the next few years, but in 2016, Leatherman cleared the list, allowing every beach in the country to once again qualify for competition and first choice.
"This concludes a 25-year, quarter-century campaign and every beach will be eligible again next year," he said in 2015.
Leatherman has written or edited 16 books, not surprisingly including America's Best Beaches.
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Mitwirkender: Curt Anderson, Associated Press
C.A. Bridges is a digital producer for USA TODAY Network and works with several newsrooms across Florida. Local journalists work hard to keep you informed about the things you care about, and you can support them by subscribing to their newsletterslocal news organization.More articles by Chris can be found hereFollow him on Twitter@cabridges