What is the best Florida beach?

Siesta Beach on Siesta Key near Sarasota (Handout)

Every Memorial Day, a new beach is crowned best in the U.S. by a fellow known as Dr. Beach. Once you win, you're no longer eligible for the list, so the annual Top 10 list is always changing.

So it makes sense that over the years, Florida has filled up quite a trophy case with its 1,197 miles of coastline.

Dr. Beach is Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman and he's Director of Florida International University's Laboratory for Coastal Research. He's been doing the list for 23 years.


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This year's list came out May 24 and three Florida beaches ranked in the top 10. Two were in the top 10 in 2012 -- St. George Island State Park in the panhandle (No. 3 in 2013) and Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne (No. 7 in 2013). The new addition for 2013 is Barefoot Beach Park in Bonita Springs (No. 6 in 2013), which rejoined the list after several years out of the top 10.

They seek to join a list of the seven Florida beaches that have already won top honors, most recently in 2011 when Siesta Beach near Sarasota came up Aces. The same beach also was named the best among the best in the world this year by TripAdvisor users.

For the record, here are the Florida winners of the annual Dr. Beach list:

-- 2011: Siesta Beach on Siesta Key near Sarasota

-- 2008: Caladesi Island State Park north of Tampa

-- 2005: Fort DeSoto Park in St. Petersburg

-- 2002: St. Joseph Peninsula in Port St. Joe

-- 1995: St. Andrews State Park in Panama City

-- 1994: Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach

-- 1992: Bahia Honda State Park on Big Pine Key

Other Florida beaches that have made the Top 10 in the past 10 years, but not on the 2012 list include:

-- Barefoot Beach Park in Bonita Springs

-- Lighthouse Point Park in Ponce Inlet south of Daytona Beach

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