Two Florida State Parks Recognized on Dr. Beach’s 2013 Top 10 List

TALLAHASSEE – Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park  were named in the 23nd annual Top 10 Beach List for 2013. The list is produced by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, also known as “Dr. Beach,” a professor at Florida International University.

Each year on Memorial Day weekend since 1991, Dr. Beach has released the top 10 beaches that best meet the 50 criteria to rate as best national beaches. Criteria to determine the ranking of the nation’s beaches include beach material, wind speeds, sand softness, oil and tar balls, trash and litter and floatables in water.

“Florida State Parks hosts visitors year-round who experience the best of our diverse natural and cultural sites, including nearly 100 miles of sandy beaches,” said Florida State Parks Director Donald Forgione. “St. George Island and Bill Baggs Cape Florida state parks provide scenic beaches and outstanding recreational opportunities.”

Regarding St. George Island State Park in the Florida Panhandle, Dr. Beach said:

“The Florida panhandle beaches are known for their powdery, super white sands. The sand here is squeaky clean (just rub your feet on the sand and hear it squeak). The State Park beach is on the eastern end of the island. Pathways take you across the “walking” dunes to the bayside. Stingrays are sometimes resting in the shallow waters so shuffle your feet when entering. Birding and fishing are very popular activities.”

Regarding Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne, Dr. Beach said:

“Cape Florida State Park, located at the southern tip of Key Biscayne, provides clear, emerald-colored waters and gentle surf. This fine, white coral sand beach is great for swimming, as waves are knocked down by a large sand shoal offshore. In addition, the Cape Florida Lighthouse allows for a breath-taking view of this beautiful beach.”

Florida state park beaches have consistently scored high in Dr. Beach’s surveys, with five parks ranked as No.1:

– Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin, 2008

– St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Port St. Joe, 2002

– St. Andrews State Park, Panama City, 1995

– Grayton Beach State Park in Northwest Florida, Santa Rosa Beach, 1994

– Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys, 1992

To plan a visit to a Florida State Park, make a camping reservation or to find out about events, festivals and park activities, visit

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