1. Business

Clearwater Beach named No. 1 beach in the country by TripAdvisor

Blue skies bring out beach goers to Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach last month. Clearwater Beach was named the No. 1 beach in the country, according to the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
Published Feb. 18, 2016

For the second year in a row, a beach along Florida's West Coast has been named the best in the country, according to the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards.

This year, Clearwater Beach took the No. 1 spot.

Take that, Hawaii.

Each year, travel booking and planning website TripAdvisor ranks the world's greatest beaches based on the quantity and quality of traveler reviews and ratings on its site for a 12-month period. The No. 2 beach on the list this year is Lanikai Beach on Oahu in Hawaii. St. Pete Beach was ranked fourth.

Honored for its 21/2 miles of "powdery sand and calm, shallow water," Clearwater Beach is listed as a great vacation spot for its pedestrian-friendly Beach Walk Promenade and lively scene at Pier 60. According to TripAdvisor, Clearwater Beach "has it all" with a mix of beach scenes, water sports, restaurants and hotels.

Clearwater Beach also cracked the Top 25 beaches in the world list at No. 20. It's the only beach from Florida to make that list.

"TripAdvisor is close to the highest award you can get," said David Downing, executive director of Visit St. Pete-Clearwater, Pinellas County's tourism agency. "It really does validate what we already know — that our beaches are fabulous. To have them both recognized on this list is a huge feather in the cap for our destination."

Last year, Siesta Beach in Sarasota County won the title of No. 1 U.S. beach and St. Pete Beach was No. 2. Clearwater Beach came in eighth. This year, Siesta is No. 3.

Several other Florida beaches made the list in 2016, including Pensacola Beach (No. 7), St. Augustine Beach (No. 9) and Panama City Beach (No. 10).

Pinellas County beaches are no strangers to top beach awards. USA Today ranked Clearwater Beach the No. 2 best beach in Florida last year, and in 2013 it was the No. 1 best beach town. In 2008, Caladesi Island State Park was named the No. 1 beach by Dr. Beach (whose real name is Stephen Leatherman) of Florida International University. Once a beach or destination is ranked No. 1 on Dr. Beach's top lists, it can't win it again. Fort De Soto was No. 1 in 2005.

Contact Justine Griffin at or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.


  1. Regina Temple is the new president and CEO at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. HCA West Florida
    Read this and more Pasco County business news.
  2. The City Council has called for consultants to design an outdoor concert pavilion with a fixed covering over 4,000 seats in the middle of its proposed overhaul of the downtown waterfront. That decision is causing some friction in the city as officials prepare to present preliminary design drawings to the public. City of Clearwater
    Some in the city are divided over Clearwater’s $64.5 million plan.
  3. Tampa Bay workers are more likely than employees in other metros to quit because of a boss they don’t like, according to a recent survey. Pictured are job seekers at a Tampa job fair in June. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times] JONES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Tampa Bay and Miami tied for the percentage of employees who quit because of a boss.
  4. Recent sunny day flooding in Shore Acres, a St. Petersburg neighborhood vulnerable to rising sea levels. [Times] Susan Taylor Martin
    The organizations will explore the impact of climate change on Florida.
  5. The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences - Pasco Extension opened an incubator kitchen on Sept. 23. It's  at 15029 14th Street in Dade City. The goal of the kitchen is to create educational opportunities for food entrepreneurs and help them to start new businesses. Whitney Eleamor (center left) developed the idea for the kitchen. PAIGE FRY  |  Paige Fry
    The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last week for the Pasco County Extension Service community kitchen.
  6. The Topgolf on Palm River Road in Brandon features over 100 golf bays, a bar, a full food and dessert menu, a rooftop terrace and a large event space. Players can also enjoy free wifi, over 200 HD TVs as well as pool and fooseball tables. [Times (2014)]
    The driving-range filed for permits this week to add on the new course.
  7. A dinner guest at the Maritana Grille at the Don Cesar Hotel contends in a lawsuit filed Friday that she was seriously injured when a waiter poured some of the liquid nitrogen that he was using to prepare a dessert at an adjacent table into her water glass and she drank it. (Times file photo)
    Stacey Wagers contends she was injured while dining at the Maritana Grille last year.
  8. Hernando County community news Tara McCarty
    Plus a health symposium, ribbon cuttings and other Hernando County business news.
  9. A Tampa company has spent nearly $8.8 million acquiring 180 acres north of Shell Point Road in Ruskin. Susan Taylor Martin
    We find the answers in our continuing look at new construction in the Tampa Bay area.
  10. Left to Right: Hospitality panel members Viviana Leyva, Steve Westphal and Jeff Gigante talk about the needs of the hospitality industry in Tampa Bay region during a kickoff of the University of South Florida Hospitality Leadership Program last month. SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    Restaurant and hotel owners say they have a need for finding and keeping talented workers.