Saturday, 28 May, 2011 2:31 AM
Beach" Names Siesta Key Beach America's Best
credit: Debbie Hooper
Beach (Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman)
-- Siesta Key Beach is the number one beach in the 21st
annual Top 10 Beach List, produced by coastal expert Dr. Stephen
P. Leatherman, Director of Florida International University's Laboratory
for Coastal Research.
notes, "Siesta Beach in Sarasota boasts that it has the finest
and whitest sand in the world, and I cannot argue with this claim;
the powdery sand is nearly pure quartz crystal. 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. Waves at Siesta Key Beach are normally measured in inches
and the beach gradually slopes into the Gulf waters, making it a
very safe area for children.
beach park is complete with showers and bathrooms, snack bars, grills,
picnic tables, shade trees, and a large parking area, which does
fill up on summer weekends. Siesta Key Beach is a smokeless beach,
earning extra points for cleanliness and environmental management.
My favorite time to visit is after Labor Day when things have calmed
down, and the water is still warm enough for swimming until November.
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."
Leatherman has selected the annual Top 10 Beaches since 1991. Fifty
criteria are used to evaluate beaches, which include water and sand
quality as well as safety and environmental management. Dr. Leatherman
is an internationally known coastal scientist who has published
17 books with the recent release of Rip Currents: Beach Safety,
Physical Oceanography and Wave Modeling (CRC Press, May 2011) and
hundreds of scientific articles about storm impacts, erosion and
ways to improve beach health and safety. A new website (www.Beachfinder.org)
has recently been developed to help you find other great American
Beach’s Top 10 Beaches List Descriptions for 2011
Beach, Sarasota, Florida
With some of the finest, whitest sand in the world, this beach attracts
sand collectors from all over. Siesta Beach has clear, warm waters
that serve for ideal swimming. The beach is hundreds of yards wide
in the shape of a crescent, due to anchoring of onshore rocks to
the north and a unique underwater formation of coral rock and caves,
providing for great snorkeling and scuba diving. This beach is great
for volleyball and other types of recreational fitness.
Beach, San Diego, California
Coronado Beach is the toast of Southern California; it is a veritable
oasis by the sea, measuring hundreds of yards wide. With its lush
subtropical vegetation, unique Mediterranean climate, and fine sparkling
sand, beach-goers flock to this beach for great ship watching and
the summer’s mild surf. The local landmark, Hotel del Coronado,
was built over a hundred years ago, offering spectacular architecture
and Old World elegance. Kings, sheiks, actors, and actresses have
stayed at Hotel del Coronado, where food and drinks are served on
the beach, and the hotel provides a great location for celebrities.
Beach, Waikiki, Hawaii
This beach was named in the honor of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku who was
a gold medal Olympic swimmer and credited with introducing surfing
to the outside world. Kahanamoku Beach is bounded by the Ala Wai
small boat harbor and the Hilton Hawaiian Village catamaran pier.
A shallow offshore reef protects this beach from the big waves,
making it a great swimming area for families with children.
Beach, East Hampton, New York
Main Beach provides the perfect blend of nature and built environment.
Wealthy summertime residents flock here to the beaches protected
by a conservation easement, dating back over 300 years. Main Beach
is a great place for star-spotting, since many actors and actresses
frequently visit this beach for its idyllic setting in a small village.
The big, wide sandy beach made of quartz has towering sand dunes
and beautiful clean and clear blue water. The best way to get around
this beach is on bicycle in order to avoid parking and to take in
the beautiful vista.
Hatteras, Outer Banks, North Carolina
Bulging far offshore of the mainland coast as a barrier island,
Cape Hatteras was the first National Seashore. Providing some of
the best board surfing along the East Coast, as well as the most
famous lighthouse in the United States, Cape Hatteras attracts beachgoers
to its historic fishing villages. Nature lovers adore the excellent
beachcombing and superb fishing.
George Island State Park, Florida
The Florida panhandle beaches are back as oil from the BP spill
has vanished, and the sand is squeaky clean (just rub your feet
on the sand and hear them squeak). The brilliant white sands and
clear waters of St. George Island were fortunately not even impacted
last summer. Stingrays are sometimes resting in the shallow waters
so shuffle your feet when entering. Birding and fishing are very
popular activities here.
Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
South of Charleston, Beachwalker Park is the public beach located
on the southern end of Kiawah Island. Tennis and golf are featured
here, as well as interpretative tours of the fauna and flora of
the island. This is certainly a nature-lovers coast, so visitors
should pack their canoes and kayaks to paddle through the tidal
inlets or walk down to St. Sam’s Inlet to see thousands of
birds. The water is not clear here, but it is clean and provides
for fantastic seafood for low-country cooking. Visitors can also
pack their bicycles, since the sand is compact enough to ride along
the 10-mile long barrier island.
Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Coast Guard Beach, accessible by bicycle or via shuttle bus from
the Salt Pond Visitor’s Center, was formed where a sand spit
attached to the eroding glacial cliffs. The sand is fairly coarse,
so the beach slopes steeply into the water. The picturesque old
Coast Guard station still sits atop the glacial bluffs, allowing
for a spectacular view down upon the Nauset Spit barrier system
and bay. During the summer, beach-goers take quick, refreshing dips
in the ocean, as water temperatures only reach 60-70 degrees.
Bay State Park, Oahu, Hawaii
This park has ample parking, restrooms, outdoor showers, and a good
beach for swimming. While not as stunning as some other Hawaiian
beaches, it is a safe beach because big waves and dangerous currents
are rare and lifeguards are present. Hawaiians who live on Oahu
frequent this beach.
Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, Florida
Cape Florida State Park, located at the south tip of Key Biscayne,
provides clear, emerald-colored waters and gentle surf. This fine,
white coral sand beach is great for swimming, as waves are knocked
down by a large sand shoal offshore. In addition, the Cape Florida
Lighthouse allows for a breath-taking view of this beautiful beach.
Sarasota Convention & Visitor's Bureau