Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May you always have a seashell in your pocket & sand between your toes

Dr. Stephen Leatherman - His office is the beach
(credit : www.solotravelgirl.com)
When planning a destination that involves surf, sun, & sand thousands of  travelers  turn to the experts for advice. In this case "America's foremost beach expert" Dr. Beach.  Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman aka Dr. Beach is a Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. He's a scientist.  Dr. Beach is a  really smart & really educated guy who has parlayed his passion for the outdoors into a super nice gig travelling the world & ranking the top beaches. 

He announces his annual list of best beaches every Memorial Day weekend. This May 30 will be his 20th anniversary. Dr. Beach has developed a 50 point rating system that covers all aspects of a great beach from water clarity, sand softness, & the size of breaking waves to the smell, the amount of wildlife, & accessibility. Dr. Beach is as we say - da man.
The Florida BeachHunter (left) & Dr. Beach
(credit: www.blogthebeach.com)

Blogger & journalist David McRee (aka Florida BeachHunter) recently joined Dr. Beach on Little Gasparilla Island to get a first-hand look at how the good Doctor does his thing.  David is another guy with a passion for the outdoors who's job requires him to wear his beach trunks & lots of sunsceen. 

David's Blog the Beach is a terrific resource when looking for information on Florida beaches. He gives you pictures, video, & scientific info on the water clarity, sand conditions, amenities,  & accessibility.  David also points out where the best beaches would be if you are interested in kayaking, snorkeling, or just a quiet getaway. Between Dr Beach's top 10 list & the Florida BeachHunter's best places to do whatever it is you want to do - choosing a beach destination is easier than ever or maybe harder with so many tantalizing choices.

Now I don't have a snazzy moniker and I am still waiting on the Colombia Sportswear folks to get back to me on my offer to represent the official sharkstooth/shelling line of beachwear-thing but I some opinions of my own to share that are not based on one drop of scientific data.

 I too have a list of my own best beaches -  For shelling. My criteria for a good shelling beach is pretty simple.  I'm looking for  shells & lots of them. The sand & water quality aren't a big issue for me.  Good shelling is usually at low tide so the smell is a moot point. Accessibility & amenities have kept quite a few self-professed shelling fanatics from joining me on many a shelling excursion.  The wading out to sandbars, midnight low tides, & lack of potties have thinned the crowd out. For you fanatical shell lovers out there this list is for you.  
#1 Blind Pass on Sanibel-Captiva Island

#2 The 10 Spot on Bonita Beach

#3 Tigertail Beach on Marco Island
#4 Barefoot Beach - Bonita Springs
#5 Honeymoon Island - Dunedin Beach(credit: www.ShellbellesTikiHut.com)

Honorable Mention -
 Stump Pass on Manasota Key

(the shells are hit & miss but the sharks teeth are the best evah!)

 I doubt my favorites will make Dr. Beach's top ten list but that's ok. My list is limited to the beaches I have frequented in my neck of the Florida woods.  Thanks to my blogger shell sistah's Pam of i Love Shelling, Rhonda of Shellbelle's Tiki hut, & Carla of Love Letters From the Sea for their posts.


  1. Ahhhhhh...... They all look wonderful to me!!!

  2. omg... where are these beaches!!! I live in southern California and we dont have any beaches full of such treasures anymore. I want to come to your beaches... and collect seashells... my nirvana!!

  3. goodness.... i love your blog so much .... i grabbed your button and added it to my own brand new blog! Yes, I am a blog newbie, but an ancient seashell collector.

  4. Such beautiful shell beaches - I will have to add them ALL to my must-see list when I eventually make it back over your way and will DEFINATELY come to Florida! I think any beach is a good beach too, and a double bonus if there are lots of shells :)

  5. I think I will have to make a beach trip this year! I need some sand between my toes for sure!!

  6. Some of my favorite beaches! We have some of the best beaches in our fabulous state!

    ~ Tracy

  7. I can't wait to see Dr. Beach's top ten list this year. But I LOVE your list!! More beaches for me to try in Florida!

  8. You know, the men have their criteria and that's all well and good, but WE know what makes a good beach in our books. Speaking of which, we gotta write one, one of these days, lol.

    Love ya girl

  9. They look like some of the best beaches to me!

  10. I've seen articles by Dr. Beach before. What a great job he has, doesn't he?
    I'd sure love to visit some of your beaches, and see all those shells up close. I've never seen anything like it here in California.
    I love that quote at the beginning of this post!

  11. "the smell is a moot point"...you're so funny, Karen!


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