It's Official: Clearwater Beach Wins Best Beach Town in Florida in USA Today Poll
Clearwater Beach is the Best Beach Town in Florida, according to a USA Today Poll.
The powdery, sugar sands of Clearwater Beach win.
Clearwater Beach is officially voted the Best Beach Town in Florida in a poll conducted by USA Today. More than 30,000 voters took part in the poll, according to USA Today.
"We are the best beach," said Mayor George N. Cretekos. "This is exciting for all of Clearwater and really Pinellas County. It will help us market our beach. We had a great tourist year last year and with this honor it will help us do better in the years to come."
The poll was based on 10 beaches selected by Stephen P. Leatherman, a coastal expert and professor at Florida International University who routinely rates and ranks the state's top beaches.
The other beaches include Cocoa Beach, Key West and Siesta Key. The beaches were listed alphabetically, leaving Clearwater Beach the top spot in the poll.
Clearwater Beach had 25 percent of the vote, according to USA Today. The next top beaches were Siesta Key, Cocoa Beach and Sanibel Island.
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Leatherman's basis combines sand, surf and a welcoming sense of community, according to the USA Today poll:
"Meet 'volleyball heaven' on the Gulf Coast, with 'some of the best girl- and boy-watching I've ever seen' near Pier 60," Leatherman said to USA Today about Clearwater Beach.
Cretekos noted the investment in the Beach Walk project, numerous resorts, and the sand of Clearwater Beach are why the city received the honor.
That, and a marketing push.
"We were hammering people to go vote," Cretekos said.
Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater created a votebeach.com website making it easy for fans of Clearwater Beach to participate in the poll. They also hired an airplane with a banner on it urging beachgoers to vote.
Clearwater City Council even made sure to mention the website during a recent work session meeting.
Cretekos said visitors to the area could be seeing new signs touting the honor at Tampa International Airport trams.
"This is a great plus," Cretekos said. "(We can) highlight that Clearwater has the beast beach in Florida now."
*updated 11:15 a.m. Jan. 25, 2013