Travelers Rated These Southern Beaches The Best In America

Florida beaches were a fan favorite amongst Tripadvisor users in their annual Travelers’ Choice Awards.

If you’re looking for the best beaches in the U.S., a trip down South is in order. Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards recently announced its Top Beaches in the U.S., and a whopping 11 of the 25 chosen were Southern beaches.

Each year, Travelers’ Choice names its Best of the Best—a list of top destinations, restaurants, hotels, and vacation attractions that are chosen based on a compilation of reviews and ratings collected from travelers from all over the globe. To determine the best, the award considers the quality and quantity of reviews and ratings; the resulting winners represent the top 1% of listings on Tripadvisor.

Coast Guard Beach house and beach, Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida, USA
Pola Damonte via Getty Images / Getty Images

This year’s Top Beaches category featured winners spanning the country, from the rocky coastline of the Pacific Ocean to the powdery soft sand of the Gulf Coast—and even the volcanic shores of the Hawaiian Islands. Overall, Florida and Hawaii were the biggest winners; each had eight beaches rank in the Top 25.

While the number one beach was Ka’anapali Beach in Lahaina, Hawaii, Siesta Beach in Siesta Key, Florida came in just behind at number two. Siesta Beach is known for its blindingly white sand (made of 99% quartz), as well as its calm, turquoise waters. Its proximity to Sarasota, ample parking, convenient concessions, and free trolley that will cart you around the island make it a favorite destination for those in the area. However, it’s also super popular with out-of-towners who want to experience one of the Sunshine State’s most stunning beaches.  

Bayfront Park in Sarasota, FL
Robbie Caponetto

Other Florida winners included Henderson Beach State Park in Destin at number six, St. Augustine Beach at number 13, St. Pete Beach at number 14, Panama City Beach at number 18, Pensacola Beach at number 20, Sombrero Beach in Marathon at number 22, and Clearwater Beach at number 23. At Henderson Beach State Park, reviewers were quick to praise the soft sand and beautiful beaches, but they also called out the park’s nature loop and informative placards that taught them about native plants and animals.

It’s no surprise that Florida claimed a large portion of the list (almost one-third!), but other Southern states also broke into the Top 25. Jekyll Island’s famous Driftwood Beach came in at number three, with one reviewer writing, “WOW. This area is peaceful, breathtaking, and haunting, all wrapped up in one don't-miss beach.” Coligny Beach in Hilton Head, South Carolina got a shout out at number 12, with reviewers nothing that the 5-mile expanse makes it an ideal spot for long walks on the beach. And finally, rounding out the Southern winners, there was Ocean City Beach in Ocean City, Maryland at number 19 on the list. Reviewers loved Ocean City Beach's accessibility, cleanliness, and family-friendly boardwalk.

The beach is calling, and now that you’ve got several traveler-recommended Southern shorelines to check out, it’s time to answer!  

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