From the craggy California coastline to the tropical shores of Miami, the U.S. is no doubt blessed with some pretty stellar beaches. But what makes a stellar shoreline the ultimate in beachy perfection? According to travelers, it appears many of the most blissful beaches have three things in common: soft, sugar-white sand, year-round warm water, and a Florida address.
The Sunshine State indeed took home the gold in this year’s Traveler’s Choice Awards, with Clearwater Beach topping the list of the travel site’s 25 Best Beaches. This makes 2019 the second year in a row the Florida beach has been named America’s best, based on ratings and reviews from millions of travelers. (It also won first prize in 2016.) According to reviews, what sets Clearwater Beach apart from the rest—in addition to that perfect Gulf Coast sand and clear, shallow water—is the family-friendliness and availability of cabana and beach chair rentals right on the sand. As one reviewer said, “The sand is white and soft and so comfortable under your feet. You can walk for miles and always have a breathtaking view.”
Fans of that famous Florida sand will be happy to know Clearwater isn’t the only Gulf Coast town to make the cut. Panama City Beach, Saint Pete Beach, Pensacola Beach, and Siesta Key Beach all managed to earn a spot in the top 10 alone. And of the top 25 best beaches in the U.S. overall, a whopping 40 percent hail from the Sunshine State, more than any other place in the country.
Anyone else think it might be time to book a vacay to Florida? You might want to consider paying a visit to our 10 favorite beaches in the state, too.