Top 10 Beaches, 2011

Posted on May 27, 2011

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Dr.Beach's Top 10 Beaches, 2011: Siesta Beach
Coastalscientist Stephen P. Leatherman, director of Florida International University'sLaboratory for Coastal Research and known as “Dr. Beach,” announced his21st annual Top 10 Beaches list on May 27. He has compiled the list annuallysince 1991 using50 criteria.Here are his top 10 picks for 2011.

1. Siesta Beach, Sarasota,Fla.: “SiestaBeach in Sarasota boasts that it has the finest and whitest sand in the world,and I cannot argue with this claim; the powdery sand is nearly pure quartz crystal,”Leatherman said. The water is blue, clean and clear, making it particularlyinviting to bathers and swimmers.

The beach is hundreds of yards wide, attracting volleyball players,beachcombers and sun worshippers. Waves are normally measured in inches, andthe beach gradually slopes into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, making it asafe area for children.

This beach park is complete with showers and bathrooms, snack bars, grills,picnic tables, shade trees and a large parking area, which fills up on summerweekends. Siesta Beach is a smokeless beach, earning extra points forcleanliness and environmental management.

“My favorite time to visit is after Labor Day when things have calmed down, andthe water is still warm enough for swimming until November,” Leatherman said.“Snowbirds from northern climes call this area home during the winter becauseof the great weather.  The beaches are for exploring, but not swimming atthis time of year, albeit I have been in the water as early as March.”

Fans of Dr. Beach will note that Siesta Beach was on last year’sTop 10 list inspite of the BP oil spill. “Siesta Beach in Sarasota was on the list in 2010because I strongly believed that the Loop Current would keep any oil away from thesouthwest Florida beaches, which it did — my prediction was correct,”Leatherman said.

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