No. 2: Fort De Soto Park - St. Petersburg, Fla.

Florida is another state where it's tough to choose one best beach. But the online travel site TripAdvisor went out on a limb and named Fort De Soto Park as America's top beach -- twice.

The Pinellas County website boasts simply, "three miles of the finest white sand beach in the United States" -- as fine as baby powder, as one tourist described it.

The park has a colorful history. It was sold to the federal government for $18,404 to be used as a gunnery and bombing range during World War II. A distinguishing feature of the park today is still a historic fort, along with its cannons, built for the Spanish-American War (although not completed until after the war's end).

There is a lot to do here, too: canoeing, fishing piers, rental bikes and 238 campsites. But it's the quiet splendor of sunset viewing from the sand that tourists remember most.

Best Beach No. 1: In A Land Called Hanalei