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By Roberta B. Turner

                   
 

Author and well known scientist Dr. Stephen Leatherman is better known as “Dr. Beach”.

Dr. Leatherman is Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia, and completed his undergraduate degree in Geosciences at North Carolina State University.  He has developed 50 criteria that are used to rate the country’s top beaches.

If you are looking to enjoy the summer, we highly suggest you visit Florida’s beautiful beaches.

Florida Panhandle

The sugar white sands of the Panhandle’s beaches stretch 227 miles from Pensacola east to Apalachicola.  The water is clear emerald green and the natural and towering dunes are truly beautiful.  This area has laid-back small towns, plenty of fresh fish, and excellent restaurants. The people are friendly and you will enjoy the uncrowded beautiful beaches. We were fortunate to stay in the Florida Panhandle at a beautiful beach condo near the town of Apalachicola. This town is charming with antique shops, arts and craft shops, and waterside restaurants. There are hotels, vacation rentals and condos available, so you have numerous choices.

Bonita Springs

Bonita Springs is located between Ft. Myers and Naples.  Fishing, boating and outdoor activities are very popular and the area has numerous sparkling beaches, including Lovers Key State Park, Dog Beach Park and Barefoot Beach Preserve.  There are numerous options for accommodations from budget to deluxe.  This is a very laid back and relaxing area.

Key Biscayne

Key Biscayne is located in Greater Miami and just a short and scenic drive over the Rickenbacker Causeway.  This tiny island is home to two major parks, Crandon Park on the north side and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park to the south.  There is a beautiful lighthouse on the island and the beaches are breathtaking.  Key Biscayne is a popular destination for locals and has a large resident base.  The main place to stay on the island is the Ritz-Carlton Resort.  There are two other options which are the Key Colony and Silver Sands Beach Resort. There is a popular public golf course in addition to numerous bars and restaurants. The Miami Seaquarium is located on Key Biscayne as well as the popular Rusty Pelican Restaurant with beautiful views of the Miami skyline.

Naples

Naples is located in southwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico.   It is a city well known for its world-class culture, superb dining, and high-end shopping in addition to its beautiful beaches.  The historic downtown area features art galleries, boutiques, home décor shops and numerous places for lunch and dinner.  Naples is a charming beach destination and boasts many world-class hotels and resorts along miles of white sand beaches.  In addition to the many miles of beaches and parks, the Naples Beach and Pier are extremely popular places to visit.  Walking down the pier looking at the Gulf water is a great way to enjoy the beauty of the area, and there are many places to fish; you are not required to have a license or pay a fee.   All the beaches in Naples are public beaches and are different because there are no retail establishments along the beaches.  Simply enjoy the sounds of the Gulf and the beautiful sunsets.

There are so many places to see in the United States and around the world, but if you are a Floridian there is no place like home.

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