S T. PETERSBURG – St. Pete Beach has been named the best beach in the nation based on Tripadvisor’s annual Travelers’ Choice rankings, up from its second place in 2020.
It beats the beaches of Hawaii, California and even other Pinellas beaches. Madeira Beach ranked 9th, Treasure Island Beach ranked 16th and Clearwater Beach ranked 18th.
St. Pete Beach last took home the top spot in 2012, according to Visit St. Pete-Clearwater. Its website attributes the award to white sand beaches, warm gulf waters, beautiful sunsets, and uncrowded space.
Beverly Ackah, 25, and Franklin Okomba, 31, are huge fans. Visitors to Seattle left the snow behind when they made their trip to Pinellas.
“You don’t know what you have here,” Okomba said, basking in the sun Tuesday.
Steve Hayes, President and CEO of Visit St. Pete-Clearwater, said he believes having the space to spread out people along Pinellas beaches helped win the award in a year plagued by coronavirus. Hayes said Tripadvisor told him the rankings also took into account the places where people want to visit the most.
“When you look at four beaches in the same destination in the top 25, nowhere else on that list can you find that,” Hayes said.
It was the first year that Treasure Island and Madeira Beach made the list, showcasing local “hidden gems,” he said.
Globally, St. Pete Beach was ranked the 5th best beach by Tripadvisor. It is the only beach in the continental United States to make the world list.
“I just think our awareness as an international destination continues to grow,” Hayes said. “And if you start exploring further, you will find that there are three more beaches that are ranked in the top 25 in America.”
Tripadvisor calls itself the world’s largest travel targeting platform. Each year, the company collects user-submitted reviews and ratings and honors them in Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best awards. Along with beaches, the website ranks restaurants, national parks, popular destinations, emerging destinations, and more.
Here are the top 10 beaches on Tripadvisor.
1. St. Pete Beach, St. Pete Beach, Florida
“A great walking beach with white quartz sand, clear calm waters and seashells by truck. The most perfect place to watch the sunset over the ocean. “
2. Ka’anapali Beach, Lahaina, Hawaii
“This beach is so beautiful and accessible to everyone. There is easy parking and a wonderful path to walk along the beach with showers to clean. You can hang out on the soft sand, take a walk, snorkel, swim, or paddle in the crystal clear, calm waters. It is a true paradise! “
3. Moonstone Beach, Cambria, California.
“Beautiful beach and a great place to look for moonstones and jade. When the tide goes out, you can explore the tide pools … magical! “
4. Wailea Beach, Wailea, Hawaii
“The walkway along Wailea Beach offers stunning views of the Maui coastline. Whether on a brisk or leisurely walk, the beauty of the area abounds. You can even see whales on the high seas! “
5. Cannon Beach, Cannon Beach, Pray.
“This beach is impressive and vast, both long and deep! Haystack Rock at low tide is amazing with all the tidal pools and sea creatures. Make sure to bring a sweater, it can get cold and windy! “
6. Napili Beach, Lahaina, Hawaii
“This little cove is a hidden gem. There is a small natural reef about 30 to 50 yards long and tons of marine life living in it. This was the best snorkeling experience I have ever had. “
7. Ogunquit Beach, Ogunquit, Maine
“This beach is immaculately clean and has a soft sandy ground. At low tide, the beach is probably the widest in history. At high tide you can walk hundreds of feet and still be waist high. “
8. Wai’anapanapa State Park, Hana, Hawaii
“This black sand beach (produced by volcanic activity on the island) is out of this world along the beautiful coastline.”
9. Madeira Beach, Madeira Beach, Fla.
“Very nice and flat beaches. The beach is very clean, we even saw a beach that Zamboni used to prepare every morning. You can enjoy a nice walk on the beach for miles. “
10. Kailua Beach Park, Kailua, Hawaii
“Kailua offers everything: sand, open spaces, fewer crowds and a good park to go with it. This beach is amazing, coming from a boy who grew up on an island. “
Photographer Martha Asencio Rhine contributed to this report.