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Best Florida Beaches

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Why Not Visit America's Top Beaches?

"Dr. Beach" Prescribes R & R at Three Florida Destinations

Three Florida destinations received top-10 rankings in Dr. Stephen Leatherman's 2003 survey of the best beaches in America. Fort De Soto Park at Tierra Verde and Caledesi Island State Park at Dunedin, both near St. Petersburg made the Top 10 list, as did Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park near Miami.

Best Beach in Florida #2
Florida Best Beach Number 2 - Fort De Soto Beach Fort De Soto Beach, a historic fort built during the Spanish-American War is located on Mullet Key, the largest of the five islands which make up this unique area. The park consists of 900 unspoiled acres, seven miles of beaches, two fishing piers, picnic and camping areas, a small history museum and a 2,000-foot barrier-free nature trail for guests with disabilities. Toll on bridges to the park is 85 cents. Fort De Soto Park also has a 4.2-mile recreation trail, a 2.25-mile recreational canoe trail and a 1-mile nature trail. The 12-foot-wide asphalt recreation trail connects the campground with the North and East Beach Swim Centers and the historic fort. Canoe, kayak and bicycle rentals are available at the canoe trailhead. The nature trail in the Arrowhead Picnic area provides a glimpse of some of the native fauna and flora.

Best Florida Beach #5
Caladesi Beach One of the few remaining large undeveloped barrier islands on Florida's Gulf Coast, Caladesi is only accessible by boat. It is an ideal habitat for swimming, shelling, fishing, picnics, skin and scuba diving and nature study. The park also has a 3-mile nature trail winding through the island's interior. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. A ferry departs hourly from nearby Honeymoon Island. Docks are available on the island for private boats. A snack bar and shelters are also available.

Florida Best Beach #9
Key Biscayne's Beaches Visitors to Key Biscayne's beaches in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park a can lie back in a hammock and listen to the rustle of palm fronds in the ocean breeze, stroll along the sandy shore of the Atlantic, charter a deep-sea fishing boat, ride a jet ski, or simply relax with a good book on the white sand beaches under the shade of a chickee hut. Technically one of the first islands in the Florida Keys archipelago, Key Biscayne is a secluded paradise and natural refuge that sits just a few miles east of downtown Miami. A peaceful getaway for both tourists and locals, it is one of the best places to go in Greater Miami for tennis, golf, sunbathing, swimming, boating, bicycling, fishing and windsurfing.

Known as "Dr. Beach," Leatherman is a professor at Florida International University and the director of the school's Laboratory for Coastal Research. In order to promote healthy beaches, he has ranked the top ten American beaches since 1991.

Florida's St. Joseph Peninsula State Park at Cape San Blas was named Best Beach in America by "Dr. Beach" in 2002. The beach was recognized for its clear waters, stunning sand dunes and secluded location in Northwest Florida.

Other Florida beaches have been awarded the Top Beach in America ranking three times in the past. Bahia Honda State Park, Grayton Beach State Park and St. Andrews State Park received top honors in 1992, 1994 and 1995, respectively.

Visit for more information about the winning parks, as well as other Florida parks and beaches.

For more information on the St. Joseph Peninsula area, visit

For more information on Caladesi and Ft. Desoto, visit

For more information on Cape Florida, visit

For more information about "Dr. Beach", visit

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