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Clearwater Beach ranks No. 1 beach in the south on USA Today list

The beach topped the list of 20 beaches in the southern U.S. from Virginia to Texas.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Can't say we're surprised.

Clearwater Beach was named "Best Beach in the South" for USA Today's 10BEST 2023 Readers' Choice Awards. And it wasn't the only Tampa Bay area beach to show up on the list.

The beach topped the list of 20 beaches in the southern U.S. from Virginia to Texas. Editors from USA Today let their readers vote for their favorite beach from April 27 to May 22 and the awards were announced Friday, June 2. 

After Clearwater Beach, Emerald Isle Beach in North Carolina took second. Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Beach in Florida came in third, Venice Beach, Florida came in fourth and Folly Beach in South Carolina took fifth. 

Take a look at the full list:

  • No. 10: Anastasia State Park - St. Augustine, Florida
  • No. 9: Mustang Island State Park - Corpus Christi, Texas
  • No. 8: Virginia Beach Oceanfront - Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • No. 7: Stuart Beach - Stuart, Florida
  • No. 6: Gulf Shores Beach - Gulf Shores, Alabama
    No. 5: Folly Beach - Folly Beach, South Carolina
  • No. 4: Venice Beach - Venice, Florida
  • No. 3: Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Beach - Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida
  • No. 2: Emerald Isle Beach - Emerald Isle, North Carolina
  • No. 1: Clearwater Beach - Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater Beach is a world-renowned beach for its sugar-white sands and warm Gulf of Mexico waters — you can't forget the breathtaking sunsets either. It's also home to the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival where sand sculptors from around the world create beautiful sand structures for display each year.

USA Today also recognized Clearwater Beach/Sand Key as Visit St. Pete/Clearwater's 2023 "Best Of" winner in the category of "Best Beaches."

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