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Grayton Beach State Park
For the past 30 years Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman, a coastal scientist and professor at Florida International University, has ranked the nation's best patches of sand, and this year another Florida beach climbed to the top of his annual list.
Jumping up three spots from last year, the Panhandle’s Grayton Beach State Park
nabbed the top spot for Dr. Beach's "2020 Top 10 Beaches in the U.S."
“This beach boasts of its sugar-white sand and emerald green water where development has been restrained so big sand dunes still dominate the landscape,” writes Leatherman.
“At the same time, all the amenities of great restaurants and accommodations are close by in the old town of Grayton Beach or Seaside. Many people choose to camp in this wonderful state park that also features tidal lakes and freshwater ponds. Former Gov. Bob Graham told me that this was his favorite beach.”
Chosen by a 50 point criteria list
, Grayton Beach State Park
is just one of two Florida beaches that made this year’s roundup, including Caladesi Island State Park, which came in at no. 6.
“Caladesi is reached by pedestrian ferryboat, private boats or a long walk north from Clearwater Beach–the inlet is closed so Caladesi is no longer a true island, but still a great getaway,” Leatherman said.
“The white beach is composed of crystalline quartz sand which is soft and cushy at the water’s edge, inviting one to take a dip in the sparkling clear waters. There are boardwalk trails, but my favorite is the kayak and canoe trails through the mangroves to see the large blue herons and other birds that frequent this wonderful natural area.”
Here’s the complete 2020 list:
1. Grayton Beach State Park, Florida Panhandle
2. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
3. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
4. Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
5. Lighthouse Beach in Buxton, North Carolina
6. Caladesi Island State Park Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
7. Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii
8. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
9. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
10. Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina
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