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. Petersburg-Clearwater made no secret of the fact that they embarked on an all-out campaign to win this contest, including direct appeals to their Facebook fans and Twitter followers and flying a banner behind a plane along the coastline. A good PR effort never hurts, but let’s admit it, they had a lot to work with, given Clearwater Beach’s popularity and many attractions. Congratulations, Clearwater Beach!
Beach Maniac Blog by Bill Hurley