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Top 10 U.S. Beaches
Thinking about escaping your work-a-day routine for some quality downtime on a beautiful beach? Before making your plans, you might want to check the recommendations of a coastal expert known as “Dr. Beach.”
Since 1991, Dr. Beach, otherwise known as Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, Director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, has compiled an annual Top 10 list of U.S. beaches.
His number-one beach for 2011? Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota, Fla., which boasts the finest and whitest sand in the world.
“The powdery sand is nearly pure quartz crystal,” Dr. Beach says. “The beautiful blue-colored water is clean and clear, making it so inviting to bathers and swimmers. 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.” Offshore at Siesta Key, a unique underwater formation of coral rock and caves offers adventures for snorkelers and scuba divers.
Siesta Key also is family-friendly. It has waves typically measured in inches instead of feet, and the beach gradually slopes into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, making Siesta Key a very safe area for children. A smokeless beach, Siesta Key features showers, bathrooms, snack bars, picnic tables, grills, shade trees and a large parking area.
Dr. Beach’s favorite time to visit Siesta Key is after Labor Day, when things have calmed down after the busy summer months. “The water is still warm enough for swimming until November,” he says. “Snowbirds from northern climes call this area home during the winter because of the great weather. The beaches are for exploring, but not swimming at this time of year, albeit I have been in the water as early as March.”
Other beaches on Dr. Beach’s 2011 Top 10 list include:
2. Coronado Beach, San Diego, Calif.,
3. Kahanamoku Beach, Waikiki, Hawaii
4. Main Beach, East Hampton, N.Y.
5. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks, N.C.
6. St. George Island State Park, St. George Island, Fla.
7. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, S.C.
8. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Mass.
9. Waimanaio Bay State Park, Oahu, Hawaii
10. Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, Fla.
More information about these beaches, as well as beach photographs, can be found at Dr. Beach’s Web site, www.DrBeach.org. Dr. Beach also has developed another Web site, www.Beachfinder.org, to help beach lovers find their ideal beach