2013 was a very good year for Clearwater Beach and the neighboring Gulf Coast. Four awards came our way that we are happy to tell you about. With our white sand beaches, loads of attractions, and endless stretches of shoreline, it is no surprise the area has captured the hearts of visitors and locals alike.
The Best Beach Town in America Is Clearwater Beach
The USA Today online reader survey for 2013 returned with a winning vote for Clearwater Beach as the best beach town in America. With fantastic attractions like Pier 60 and its nightly festivals, fun beach bars, open air dining, lots of hotels and cottages to choose from, harbor cruises with guaranteed dolphin sightings, and the home aquarium of Winter the dolphin from the movie Dolphin Tale, it’s no wonder the award landed here. Even without such bonuses, the beach is beautiful and the white sand is soothing to the feet and cool to the touch.
Best Hidden Gem Beach in Florida Is Anclote Key
Anclote Key is a barrier island within easy reach of anyone on a Clearwater Beach vacation. A lighthouse still stands on this mostly natural barrier island just off the shores of Tarpon Springs, Florida, home to the famous Sponge Docks. The only access to the island is by boat but the jaunt is quite short, possible in craft as small as a kayak, though tour boats will also take you there from the Sponge Docks. Once you arrive you will quickly understand why the natural beaches and palm forests of Anclote Key have won the Hidden Gem award poll by USA Today readers. You will find plenty of shells, remarkably soft white sands, and a seemingly endless stretch of near-deserted beach. It is definitely worth the effort of getting there.
Best Family Beach in Florida Is Fort De Soto State Park
Fort De Soto State Park is not new to top ten beach lists by any means. The long white sand beaches are favorite hangouts for Florida beach goers. With a campground, kayaking and boating opportunities, and an old fort with large walls and big metal cannons still in place, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Fort De Soto State Park. It has the makings of a perfect family beach outing. This great beach has won the USA Today poll for Best Family Beach. Sun on the beach, play in the water, picnic under the shade trees, tour the fort, or browse the gift shop. This beach truly is a winner.
The Best Sunset Location in Florida Is Clearwater Beach
When USA Today online readers were asked to choose the best sunset location in Florida, Clearwater Beach came out on top. This is not surprising with the new Beach Walk providing visitors with a front row view to fabulous sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. When the sun approaches the horizon, other activities seem to stop as tourists turn their eyes westward. Visitors dot the sand dunes, getting an elevated view, while others let the waters of the Gulf lap at their toes. For one moment as the sun touches the horizon, Clearwater Beach visitors from near and far join each other in watching one of the best shows on Earth.