- The Washington Times - Monday, May 30, 2005

REUTERS NEWS AGENCY

MIAMI — A stretch of sand off the western coast of Florida near St. Petersburg is America’s best beach of 2005, said a Florida scientist whose annual top-10 list has become a promotional tool for the tourism industry.

Fort De Soto Park’s North Beach is a “natural jewel on the finger of a sun-drenched city,” Stephen Leatherman, head of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, said last week.

Mr. Leatherman, who calls himself Dr. Beach, described the Gulf of Mexico beach, on an island off St. Petersburg, as a “long, wide, sugar sand beach with great shelling and thriving natural dunes.”

Rounding out Mr. Leatherman’s top five, in order, are: Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina; Hanalei Bay on the Hawaiian island of Kauai; Caladesi Island State Park near Clearwater, Fla.; and Fleming Beach, on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

Numbers six through 10 are: Coast Guard Beach in Cape Cod, Mass.; Coronado Beach, San Diego, Calif.; Cape Florida State Park, on Key Biscayne near Miami; Main Beach at East Hampton, N.Y.; and Hamoa Beach, also in Maui.

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