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TripAdvisor selects Sanibel, Captiva beaches on Top 10

By Staff | Apr 13, 2011

Last week, islanders — both year-round residents and part-time snowbirds — received a bit of a boost to their ego via TripAdvisor’s announcement of their annual Travelers’ Choice Best Beaches list, with Sanibel and Captiva cracking the top 10 among the 2011 honorees.

Sanibel was ranked the number five beach in America, ranking behind only Myrtle Beach, S.C., Cape May, N.J. and fellow Florida hotspots Panama City Beach and Miami Beach.

“Saunter on the shell-speckled sands of tropical barrier island, Sanibel, on Florida’s Gulf coast,” the TripAdvisor website stated. “Quiet, secluded White Beach, with its scurrying sandpipers, offers a respite from the holidaymaking hordes elsewhere, while Turner Beach lures those with their sights on shells or the day’s catch.”

On Saturday’s broadcast of NBC’s “Today Show,” the TripAdvisor rankings were announced, as well as Sanibel being ranked sixteenth on the website’s Best Beaches in the World lineup.

“We are so proud of our beaches and graciously accept the awards on their behalf,” said Bridgit Stone-Budd, director of marketing for the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce. “Sanibel Island #5 and Captiva Island #8 in the United States… and Sanibel Island #16 in the world!”

Judie Zimomra, Sanibel’s City Manager, was also alerted to TripAdvisor’s annual ranking last week.

“While this type of designation is flattering, it places an even greater responsibility on all of us accountable for protecting our critical habitat areas long our beaches,” said Zimomra.

Captiva was ranked the number eight beach in the United States, but did not make the world rankings.

“A bit of the Caribbean in Florida, this beautiful island is connected to Sanibel by bridge and offers a more remote, tropical island feel,” the website stated. “It’s so close, you can head over to check out the beach or for a meal at any of the island’s fabulous restaurants.”

At Tuesday’s Captiva Community Panel meeting, discussions of the TripAdvsor list led the agenda.

“We already knew that we had been rated the #1 Most Romantic Beach, so it’s really great that people are getting the word out,” said Kathleen Rooker, administrator for the Captiva Erosion Prevention District. “Our beaches are the heart of the state of Florida.”

Other U.S. beaches listed on the top 10 include Clearwater (#6) and Siesta Key #10) in Florida, and Honolulu #7) and Poipu (#9) in Hawaii.

TripAdvisor.com is the world’s largest travel site that assists customers in gathering travel information, posting reviews and opinions of travel-related content and engaging in interactive travel forums.

According to the website, award winners were determined based on the most highly rated beach destinations by travelers in TripAdvisor reviews. Unlike any other honors, TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice winners are based on millions of real and unbiased reviews and opinions from travelers around the world.

“It’s that time of year when travelers are dreaming of getaways to warm beach destinations. To provide inspiration on where to go, we’ve named some amazing hot spots around the world, based on millions of real and unbiased reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “In addition to the outstanding beaches, these destinations also feature top-rated options for hotels, vacation rentals, attractions, and restaurants.”

TripAdvisor Media Group websites have been recognized as top travel resources in 2010 by Conde Nast Traveller, Good Housekeeping, Travel + Leisure and Time magazines.