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Cape Florida Again Among US Top 10 Beaches

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View of lighthouse framed by coconut palm trees; alongside aquamarine-colored Atlantic Ocean at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. (Photo source: floridastateparks.org)

View of lighthouse framed by coconut palm trees; alongside aquamarine-colored Atlantic Ocean at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. (Photo source: floridastateparks.org)

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MIAMI (CBS4) — Miami Beach may be famous, but it didn’t take the top spot. Ft. Lauderdale may be “where the boys are”, but it didn’t get a mention. Now, if you want the top beach in the nation, you have to hop a jet to San Diego, where Coronado Beach tops Dr. Beach’s list for 2012, but South Florida has a beach in the Top 10.

In South Florida, the only beach to make it is Cape Florida, on the tip of Key Biscayne.

The “Best Of” list is compiled annually by Stephen Leatherman, director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research., who has been ranking sites for summer beachgoers for the past 22 years.

This is the first time he has given the top spot to a California beach in 2 decades. The reason is the sparkle; the sand at Coronado beach contains mica, which causes the beach to glitter. “I think it’s one of the most super beaches around,” Leatherman said. It’s also chilly.

Siesta Beach in Sarasota took the top spot in last year’s annual countdown, with Leatherman lauding the area’s wide, brilliant white sand beaches and warm, emerald water. Siesta Beach, 40 acres of almost pure quartz crystal sand on the Siesta Key barrier island, was runner-up in Leatherman’s rankings the past two years and was third in 2008. Based on his rules, it can never be number 1 again.

It didn’t even make the top 10 list this year.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne snuck in at No. 8, 2 better than the ranking it held last year.

Leatherman ranks beaches on 50 criteria, including the look and feel of the sand, water quality, weather, facilities and crowds.

A No. 1 spot on the popular list annual typically brings a 15-to-20-percent boost in visitors for the beach destinations.

Here’s the rest of this year’s entire list:

No. 2, Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii

No. 3, Main Beach, East Hampton, N.Y.

No. 4, St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle

No. 5, Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii

No. 6, Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Mass.

No. 7, Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii

No. 8, Cape Florida State Park.

No. 9, Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, S.C.;

No. 10, Cape Hatteras in North Carolina.

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