GULF COAST (WKRG) — The expert known as “Dr. Beach” has released his annual list of best beaches in America and it includes one sunny destination on the Gulf Coast.
Grayton Beach State Park on the Florida Panhandle was listed at #4 on the top ten list of best beaches by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, a Florida International University professor known better by his moniker Dr. Beach.
Nested between Destin and Panama City Beach, Grayton Beach State Park is often called one of the most beautiful beaches in the country for its sugary white sand and clear emerald water. Beachgoers there are known to ride bicycles, go kayaking, birdwatching, hiking and swimming.
The nearly 2,000-acre park features a boat ramp that provides access to the lake’s brackish waters for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Visitors can paddle a canoe, paddle board or kayak on scenic Western Lake to get a closer look at a salt marsh ecosystem. A nature trail winds through a coastal forest where scrub oaks and magnolias stand, bent and twisted by the salt winds. Hikers and bicyclists can enjoy more than four miles of trails throughout the pine flatwoods. Options for overnight stays include modern cabins and a full-facility campground.” — Florida State Parks website, Grayton Beach State Park
Florida’s Siesta Beach was named America’s best beach on Dr. Beach’s list for its fine, white sand, placid water and clean facilities. Dr. Beach uses several criteria in his rankings, such as sand and water quality, environmental management and amenities.
Here’s the full list:
10. Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina
9. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
8. Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii
7. Caladesi Island State Park Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
6. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
5. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
4. Grayton Beach State Park Florida panhandle
3. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
2. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii
1. Siesta Beach Sarasota, Florida