Sunday, May 27, 2018
Travel

Clearwater Beach named No. 1 in U.S. by TripAdvisor

A reigning champion for sand and sunshine, Tampa Bay is once again home to what’s been deemed the best beach in the country.

Clearwater Beach was named the best beach in the U.S. for 2018 by the popular travel site TripAdvisor reclaiming the crown two years after it won it for the first time in 2016.

"This is something you literally cannot buy," said David Downing, president and CEO of Visit St Pete/Clearwater, the region’s tourism marketing agency.

"We spend a lot of money on advertising but when you have the visitors of such a popular website provide this kind of designation, well, that means a lot."

Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, a Pinellas County native who has lived in Clearwater since 1976, said his office hasn’t yet decided how it will tout its No. 1 spot.

"This designation promotes not only Clearwater, but it’s really a feather in the cap of Pinellas County," Cretekos said. "We all benefit when one of our beaches is named one of the top destinations in the nation."

Two other area beaches also made TripAdvisor’s "2018 Traveler’s Choice Awards" — Siesta Beach near Sarasota, the 2017 winner, grabbed the No. 2 spot and St. Pete Beach placed seventh.

Clearwater climbed three spots from its position in the traveler’s choice in 2017.

Lofty praise is not new to Clearwater Beach, which in 2013 was named "Best Beach Town in Florida" by USA Today readers.

Downing of Visit St Pete/Clearwater said that’s not by accident.

"At the core of this is the beach and the beach experience. In Clearwater they come together seamlessly," he said. "We have some of the most beautiful coastlines in the United States and an experience that’s different from anything else you’d find."

He also pointed to other aspects of Clearwater that make the area special, like the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the spring training facilities for baseball and soccer, and how close Dunedin and Clearwater nightlife is.

Traveler’s Choice Awards are decided based on the frequency and quality of the reviews posted to the site and ratings for the beaches given to and by TripAdvisor over a 12-month period.

Six Florida beaches landed in various spots across the top 10, and a total of eight Florida beaches were among the top 25.

Cretekos said he would recommend any visitor or native to visit Clearwater Beach around dusk for a moment of reflection.

"I like to watch the sunset in the evening because it puts the whole world in perspective in how fortunate we are to not only be residents of this county and city but to also appreciate all the blessings we receive in the day," Cretekos said.

Tell us what your "must visit" beach spots are around the Tampa Bay.

Comments
With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

TAMPA — Behind the construction walls near the carousel at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, hammers, saws and power drills made a racket in the blazing Friday heat. A raft full of 100-pound water jugs took test trips on the new Roaring Springs ride set ...
Published: 05/25/18
Rare red wolf pups born at ZooTampa

Rare red wolf pups born at ZooTampa

The pups are an important addition to the populations of this rare Florida species, and the first red wolf births at the zoo since 1993.
Published: 05/25/18
Dr. Beach ranks Caladesi Island No. 7 on list of country’s best beaches

Dr. Beach ranks Caladesi Island No. 7 on list of country’s best beaches

Caladesi Island’s "crystalline quartz" sand and "sparkling clear" water left an impression on Dr. Beach, who ranked it in his annual list of the country’s top 10 beaches.Dr. Beach, or Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, is a professor and director for the Lab...
Published: 05/24/18
In New York City, following in David Bowie’s footsteps

In New York City, following in David Bowie’s footsteps

NEW YORKThere are few artists who merit a true pilgrimage — a concerted attempt to walk in the footsteps of greatness — but if there’s one luminary worth traveling for, it’s David Bowie.With the final stop of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s experien...
Published: 05/24/18
8 ways to get on the water in Tampa Bay if you don't own a boat

8 ways to get on the water in Tampa Bay if you don't own a boat

According to the old wisdom, the two happiest days of a boater’s life are the day they buy a boat and the day they sell it. There’s also an argument to be made for the day when a generous friend buys one. Boating, from the sun to the bre...
Published: 05/22/18
Despite Walt Disney's wishes, you can now buy alcohol at every Magic Kingdom restaurant

Despite Walt Disney's wishes, you can now buy alcohol at every Magic Kingdom restaurant

Well, you did it millennials. As of this month, every sit-down restaurant in the Magic Kingdom now serves alcohol. It was a big deal back in 2012 when the world’s most visited theme park broke with Uncle Walt’s mandate to keep alcohol ou...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Philadelphia’s American Revolution Museum winning battle for tourists

Philadelphia’s American Revolution Museum winning battle for tourists

Associated PressPHILADELPHIA The Museum of the American Revolution is a year old and officials say it has landed a decisive victory in capturing tourists’ attention in a city with lots of revolutionary competition. In honor of its first birthday Apri...
Published: 05/17/18
Tired of the Smithsonian? These small, quirky D.C. museums are worth a visit

Tired of the Smithsonian? These small, quirky D.C. museums are worth a visit

WASHINGTONWashington is known for its museums. But venture beyond the Mall, which is home to four of the 20 most-visited museums in the world, and you’ll find plenty of smaller, quirkier institutions. Want to learn about great inventions, the history...
Published: 05/17/18
SeaWorld joins Busch Gardens in offering free beer this summer

SeaWorld joins Busch Gardens in offering free beer this summer

SeaWorld is joining its sister park, Busch Gardens, in offering free cups of beer this summer. Guests 21 and up can receive up to two complimentary 7-ounce beers per visit at Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen Patio in the park starting Friday through Sept. 2. T...
Published: 05/16/18
SeaWorld’s water park Aquatica opens Ray Rush slide propelled by water jets

SeaWorld’s water park Aquatica opens Ray Rush slide propelled by water jets

SeaWorld’s promise to add new rides instead of animal entertainers is building steam as a new ride has opened in the company’s Aquatica waterpark in Orlando.Ray Rush, a new slide with an open air half-pipe that resembles a manta ray, opened a day ear...
Published: 05/14/18
Updated: 05/16/18