If you go: Ft. DeSoto Park

Its North Beach was ranked No. 1 beach in America by Dr. Beach in 2005 and in 2008 by readers of the big travel Web site Trip Advisor. Incredibly gorgeous wide, powdery sand, long stretches for walking, no hassles. Perfect.

Near: Tierra Verde and St. Pete Beach.

Getting there: Take the Pinellas Bayway south to the end of the road. This county park is on the southern tip of the chain of barrier islands in the region. It costs just 35 cents per car to enter the park.

Nearby lodging: Camping is allowed at the park. For something upscale, try the Don CeSar Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach. www.doncesar.com.

More: www.pinellascounty.org, 727-582-2267.

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