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Florida beaches named among the best in the world

State ParksMemorial DayCanaveral National Seashore

Florida's Siesta Key has landed on another best beach list for 2013.

The Gulf Coast beach, which was tops in the 2011 Dr. Beach Best Beach in the U.S. list, has once again been ranked among the best beaches in the world by TripAdvisor users in the site's Travelers' Choice awards.

The stretch of sand near Sarasota ranked 16th on the 2013 worldwide list.

Dr. Beach, aka Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, Director of Florida International University's Laboratory for Coastal Research said in 2011, "Siesta Beach 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. The beautiful blue-colored water is clean and clear, making it so inviting to bathers and swimmers."

The beach is in the shape of a crescent because of onshore rocks to the north and underwater formation of coral rock and caves, which Leatherman says is great for snorkeling and scuba diving.

No. 1 worldwide for 2013 was Rabbit Beach in Lampedusa, Italy. Siesta Key was the second-highest ranked U.S. beach, right behind Hawaii's Ka'anapali Beach in Lahaina ranked at No. 15.

Other Florida beaches on the worldwide list include Gulf Islands National Seashore in Pensacola at No. 18 and Fort De Soto Park in Tierra Verde at No. 20.

Limited to just the U.S., Florida ranked nine of the top 25 overall including St. Andrews State Park in Panama City, Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin, Pass-a-Grille in St. Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach, Pensacola Beach and Canaveral National Seashore.

The Dr. Beach list comes out Memorial Day weekend, but you won't see Siesta Key on it. Once a beach is named best in the U.S., it becomes ineligible for the list.

Previous Florida winners of the Dr. Beach honor include Siesta Key in 2011, Caladesi in 2008, Fort De Soto Park in 2005, St. Joseph Peninsula in Port St. Joe in 2002, St. Andrews State Park in 1995, Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach in 1994 and Bahia Honda State Park on Big Pine Key in 1992.

Florida still has beaches on the top 10 list that could move up in 2013.

The Sunshine State nabbed two of the Top 10 spots for 2012 with St. George Island State Park near Apalachicola at No. 4 and Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne at No. 8.

rtribou@tribune.com, 407-420-5134

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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