Siesta Beach once again named best beach in the U.S.

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Siesta Beach, near Sarasota, is the country’s top beach again.
SARASOTA CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU/TNS

BY RICHARD TRIBOU
ORLANDO SENTINEL/TNS

The best beach in the U.S. once again can be found in Florida. In fact, the top 10 is filled with Sunshine State sand in the latest TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards.

Siesta Beach near Sarasota reclaimed the No. 1 spot from last year’s top beach Clearwater Beach. The barrier island on the Gulf Coast is often near the top of best beach lists, including garnering titles in the annual Dr. Beach list in 2011 and again in 2017.

The beach, a massive stretch that is part of a county park with ample parking and facilities, is known for its sugar-white, nearly pure quartz crystal sand that doesn’t really get hot on your feet.

In his past reviews of the beach for his Dr. Beach list, Stephen Leatherman, the director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, said “Siesta Beach in Sarasota boasts that it has the finest and whitest sand in the world, and I cannot argue with this claim. The beautiful blue-colored water is clean and clear, making it so inviting to bathers and swimmers.”

BASED ON READER REVIEWS

TripAdvisor contributor Mary Beth S wrote a review on Feb. 24 saying, “This powder sugar sand beach is HUGE! FREE parking and admission ALWAYS! Clean but busy restrooms. Outdoor rinse showers. FABULOUS drum circle Sunday evenings for sunsets. A lot of walking though!”

The TripAdvisor ratings are based on the quantity and quality of reader reviews in the TripAdvisor community, so it’s no surprise that Florida beaches muscle their way to the top.

St. Pete Beach in Pinellas County came in at No. 2, Pensacola Beach in the Panhandle at No. 4 and Clearwater Beach fell to No. 5 from last year’s top spot. Also in the Top 10 were Hollywood Beach in Broward County at No. 7 and Panama City Beach at No. 8. Just outside the top 10 were two more Florida beaches with St. Augustine Beach at No. 11 and Santa Rosa Beach in the Panhandle at No. 13.

Santa Rosa Beach didn’t make the 2019 list while three Florida beaches that did make it a year ago fell out of the top 25: Fort Lauderdale Beach, Navarre Beach and South Beach. So for 2020, Florida had six of the top 10 and eight of the top 25, which was down from 2019’s seven of the top 10 and 10 of the top 25.

The Sunshine State still had the most top 25 entries for 2020 with Hawaii coming in second with six, South Carolina with three, California with two and one each for Oregon, Washington, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts and Michigan.

In world rankings, Siesta Beach rated 11th while U.S. runner-up St. Pete Beach rated 16th. Tops in the world were Baia do Sancho in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil, at No. 1; Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, at No. 2; Playa Paraiso in Cayo Largo, Cuba, at No. 3; Spiaggia dei Conigli in Lampedusa, Islands of Sicily, at No. 4, and Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia in Arraial do Cabo, Brazil, at No. 5.

TOP 25 U.S. BEACHES

Here is the complete 2020 list for top 25 U.S. beaches:

  1. Siesta Beach, Siesta Key, Fla.
  2. St. Pete Beach, St. Pete Beach, Fla.
  3. Ka’anapali Beach, Lahaina, Hawaii
  4. Pensacola Beach, Pensacola Beach, Fla.
  5. Clearwater Beach, Clearwater, Fla.
  6. Cannon Beach, Cannon Beach, Ore.
  7. Hollywood Beach, Hollywood, Fla.
  8. Panama City Beach, Panama City Beach, Fla.
  9. Litchfield Beach, Pawleys Island, S.C.
  10. Napili Beach, Lahaina, Hawaii
  11. St. Augustine Beach, St. Augustine Beach, Fla.
  12. Lanikai Beach, Kailua, Hawaii
  13. Santa Rosa Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.
  14. Wailea Beach, Wailea, Hawaii
  15. Ogunquit Beach, Ogunquit, Maine
  16. Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, Puako, Hawaii
  17. Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  18. Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, Wash.
  19. Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Ga.
  20. Cherry Grove Beach, North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  21. Race Point Beach, Provincetown, Mass.
  22. Asilomar State Beach, Pacific Grove, Calif.
  23. Manini’owali Beach (Kua Bay), Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  24. Silver Beach County Park, St. Joseph, Mich.
  25. Coronado Beach, Coronado, Calif.

This is the eighth year of the TripAdvisor awards, and the sixth year in a row a Florida beach has topped the U.S. list.

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