Category Clearwater

Hanauma Bay, Oahu, tops Dr. Beach’s list of Top Beaches for 2016

Hanauma Bay is the number one beach in the 26th annual Top 10 Beach List, complied by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, professor at Florida International University. Below are Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beaches of 2016, including his photos and description of each:

1. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Oahu, Hawaii. Hanauma Bay Beach Park is located on the eastern end of Oahu. There is limited parking so the best way is to reach this stunning white sand coral beach enclosed in a breached volcano is to take the Waikiki Beach Shuttle. The marine protected area, which has the best accessible snorkeling in Hawaii, is closed on Tuesdays to give the fish a chance to rest. In fact, this became the first no-smoking beach in Hawaii because of the necessity to protect the thousands of beautifully-colored tropical fish which span the rainbow. There are lifeguards along this crescent-shaped beach along with full amenities.


2. Siesta Beach Sarasota, Florida. According to Dr. Beach: “With some of the finest, whitest sand in the world, this beach attracts sand collectors from all over. Siesta Beach has clear, warm waters ideal for swimming. The beach is hundreds of yards wide in the shape of a crescent, due to anchoring of onshore rocks to the south. This beach is great for volleyball and other types of recreational fitness.”


3. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii...

Read More

Beach of the Week: Clearwater Beach, Florida

Clearwater Beach, Florida

Clearwater Beach, Florida

BeachManiacBlogWithText3_150pxClearwater Beach, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is one of the Sunshine State’s real gems. With a great location near Tampa and sporting some the widest most beautiful white sand beaches in the continental United States, Clearwater Beach has become an attraction for beach lovers throughout the world. At Clearwater Beach, it’s all about the fine-grained white quartz sand, which provides the perfect backdrop for lounging and sand-castle making. Kids love Clearwater Beach because they can play in the sand before jumping into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Or they can see a dophin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and then join the family for the nightly sunset festival on Pier 60, where the music fills the air and performers keeps smiles on the kids faces. As you cross the bridge into  Clearwater Beach, you can feel yourself entering another realm. Great hotels to choose from, a nice assortment of restaurants and shops, and multiple attractions make this a well-rounded vacation spot. Tampa attractions – Busch Gardens and spring training baseball games among them – are nearby, and Orlando is just about a two-hour drive. Read more about Clearwater and its great resort hotels.

Read More

Best beaches near Orlando

Daytona Beach aerial (2)

BeachManiacBlogWithText_150pxFor all the great entertainment the Orlando, Florida, area has to offer, its location in the north-central part of the state leaves it somewhat separated from what we here at feel is Florida’s greatest attraction: its beaches. But the good news is that if you are visiting Orlando, and you can tear yourself away from the amusement parks, you are a short drive from some great beach locations. recently pulled together a list of six nearby beaches on the Atlantic Coast, some of them just a one-hour drive from Disney World. We are not only sharing that list – and linking to TripAdvisor reviews of the beaches – but we are adding a few Gulf Coast beaches as well, since you can get to the Gulf Coast from Disney World in roughly an hour and half.

Atlantic Coast beaches near Orlando:

Gulf Coast beaches near Orlando:

Beach Maniac Blog by Bill Hurley

Read More

Siesta Beach does it again: Named America’s best beach


TripAdvisor traveler photo

TripAdvisor traveler photo

BeachManiacBlogWithText_150pxThis kind of attention is nothing new for Siesta Beach, with its pristine, sugary white sand and wide expanse, but this Florida Gulf Coast slice of paradise has been named the best beach in America by the 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards.

“I was totally blown away by how fine, soft, clean and uncrowded the beach was. My feet were in heaven,” wrote on recent traveler.

And while the sand is the main attraction at Siesta Beach, the island that serves as its home is also a big draw. The beaches of Siesta Key, just south of Sarasota, are lined with condos and hotels, but the island nonetheless has retained a quiet get-away atmosphere. You won’t find a lot of restaurants and bars on the beaches of Siesta Key, but that keeps it quiet and family-fun oriented.

The other top 10 American beaches in the 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards, in order, are:

The Beach Maniac Blog by Bill Hurley

Read More

10 Florida beaches make TripAdvisor’s list of 25 best in U.S.

Siesta Key's sugary sand makes it a popular destination for beach walking and sun-bathing. TripAdvisor traveler photo.

Siesta Key’s sugary sand makes it a popular destination for beach walking and sun-bathing. TripAdvisor traveler photo.

The Beach Maniac Blog by Bill Hurley

We previously reported on TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Beaches for 2014, but the travel site has now expanded the list to the Top 25, and Florida beaches receive a lot of well-deserved recognition. Among the Florida beaches in the Top 25 are Siesta Key Public Beach (#3), St. Pete Beach (#9), Caladesi Island State Park (#11), St. Augustine Beach (#14), Bahia Honda State Park and Beach (#17), Pensacola Beach (#19), Panama City Beach (#20), Clearwater Beach (#21), Lido Beach in Sarasota (#22), and Navarre Beach (#25). In this article, the Palm Beach Post and expand on the news:

10 Florida beaches make TripAdvisor’s list of 25 best in the U.S.

Read More

Best Florida Beaches: Gulf Coast

See on Scoop.itBeach Maniac

Check out our annual guide to the best beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. Grab a towel, lounge chair and your sexiest swimsuit, and then dive in.


Beach Maniac‘s insight:

Among my favorites are Fort Myers Beach, Marco Island, Naples and Clearwater.

See on

Read More

It’s official: USA Today readers pick Clearwater Beach the Best Beach Town in Florida

Clearwater Beach, Florida

I’m not biased; I love all the great beach towns in Florida, and I have scenic photos from a lot of them. But when I wrote earlier this month about a USA Today reader poll designed to select the Best Beach Town in Florida, I decided to accompany it with the photo above from Clearwater Beach. I had to pick something, right? And I love this picture, which I took about a year and half ago, standing out on Pier 60 and looking back at the wide stretch of beautiful sand.

Well, now we find out that the USA Today readers did indeed pick Clearwater Beach as the best. Was I clairvoyant in picking that picture, did I actually inadvertently influence the vote, or could it have been mere coincidence? Well, I think we all know the answer to that question, don’t we? (Definitely coincidence.)

The USA Today readers were working off a list provided by Dr. Beach, the famous Florida International University professor Stephen P. Leatherman, who is well known for visiting and analyzing beaches every year to determine which are the best. If you recall, I was personally surprised and a little disappointed that  Fort Myers Beach and Daytona Beach weren’t even on the list. But having said that, Clearwater is a great choice!

Yet things like this don’t just happen by themselves, either. Tourism officials in St...

Read More

USA Today searches for the Best Beach in Florida

Clearwater Beach, Florida

What is the best beach in Florida? There is no shortage of beautiful beaches lining the shores of the Sunshine State, and they offer something for everyone, from quiet serene escapes to those packed with restaurants, resorts and plenty of tourists. Everyone has their own opinion of what makes a great beach, and USA Today is asking its readers to help identify Florida’s best beaches. So they first turned to Dr. Beach, the famous Florida International University professor Stephen P. Leatherman, who is well known for visiting and analyzing beaches every year to determine which are the best. Leatherman provided USA Today with a list of 10 beaches to start with, based on his extensive research. Every one of these beaches is great in its own way, although I know I personally would like to add Fort Myers Beach and Daytona Beach to the list. Do you agree with this list (in alphabetical order below), and which beach – whether it’s on this list or not – would you say is the Best Beach in Florida?

  • Clearwater Beach
  • Cocoa Beach
  • Delray Beach
  • Key West
  • New Smyrna Beach
  • Pensacola Beach
  • Sanibel Island
  • Seaside
  • Siesta Key
  • South Beach

Vote on USA Today  or – if voting is completed – find out the results here.

Check out traveler reviews of the best beach hotels in Florida – and compare prices – on TripAdvisor.

Read More

Clearwater wins local Best Beach award

Clearwater Beach, Florida. Photo credit: Visit St. Pete/Clearwater.

The Sandpearl Resort is one of the top-rated hotels in Clearwater Beach. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor. Click on photo for more pictures, hotel reviews and price comparisons.

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (Florida) has announced the results of its first-ever ‘Best of St. Pete / Clearwater’ survey, and in the hotly-contested ‘Best Beaches’ category, Clearwater Beach topped Caladesi and Honeymoon Islands for the number one spot. “If you’re looking for a lively, fun-packed beach community, you’ve come to the right place,” says the survey report. “Clearwater Beach, on three miles of white sandy shores along the Gulf of Mexico, is overflowing with water sports, beach fun, shopping, dining and people watching.”

The winner in the Best Beach Bar category was the Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar, located on North Clearwater Beach.

Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, a Clearwater Beach landmark, ranked first in ‘Best Spots for Grouper,’ while Fort De Soto Park nabbed two separate categories: ‘Best Place to Experience History’ and the ‘Best Place to Take Your Dog.’

The new Dali Museum, located on the scenic St. Petersburg bayfront, took home top honors for ‘Best Museum.’ Downtown St. Pete – with its world-class museums, dining, theaters and nightlife – was awarded top billing in the ‘Most Happening Downtown’ category.

“We know what we each like about the area, so we wanted to create a way for people to champion their favorite am...

Read More

Florida again ranks number one as desired destination for Spring Break, according to latest Orbitz Insider Index

Fort Lauderdale. Photo Credit: Navin75 via Flickr.

Even with the relatively mild winter, Americans are still craving the sun and warm weather for spring break, according to the Orbitz Insider Index released today, which reveals the top 10 destinations for spring break and provides a look at five alternative trips for families this travel season.

Thanks to budget-friendly deals and warm spring weather, Florida once again dominates the list of spring destinations this year but Las Vegas comes in at a close second. The data uncovers the 10 most popular spring break travel destinations based on air bookings made on for travel between March 1 and April 22, 2012. Among the highlights:

  • Florida Fever : For the second year in a row, not only does Orlando rank as this year’s number-one destination, but four of 2012’s most popular locales are in the Sunshine State: Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers and Tampa.
  • Sin City is this year’s bargain capitalLas Vegas offers this year’s best deals, including some of the lowest average airfares in the country as well as hotel rooms averaging just $96 a night. The endless choices of top entertainers and shows plus the rise in daytime pool parties make Las Vegas a go-to spot for letting loose this spring break.
  • Hotels on sale: Though average airfares and average daily rates (ADRs) are up in a majority of markets, hotel rooms can be had for under $150 per night in eight of the top destinations: Orlando,Las Vegas, Ft...
Read More