ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — As vaccines start to roll out and the nation begins to feel a sense of cautious optimism that things might someday return to some semblance of normalcy, those who love travel are looking forward to once again indulging their passion.

It’s also that time of year when, in less chaotic days, folks would be planning their Spring Break trips. That means beaches, which means travel websites would be putting out their annual lists of the best places to find clean sand and water.

What You Need To Know

  • St. Pete Beach is TripAdvisor's No. 1 beach in the U.S. for 2021

  • It's also their fifth-favorite beach in the world

  • Madeira Beach came in at No. 9 on the U.S. list

Well, some habits die hard, and prominent destination-advocacy website TripAdvisor isn’t about to let something as trifling as a global pandemic stop it from rating and ranking. Its user-curated list of America’s best beaches is in, and the Bay area’s own St. Pete Beach landed in the number-one spot for 2021.

St. Pete Beach’s four miles of shoreline beat out attractive locations in Hawaii, California, Oregon and Maine to take the top spot. TripAdvisor users praised the beach’s laid-back vibe, warm, silky white sands and accessibility to great bars and restaurants, as well as amenities like dolphin cruises and Jet Ski rentals.

As a bonus local-pride booster, St. Pete Beach also landed at number five on the site’s list of the 25 best beaches in the world—it was the only beach in the continental U.S. to make it—and nearby Madeira Beach landed in ninth place on the local list.

This isn’t the first time TripAdvisor raters have shown some love for the Tampa Bay region; Clearwater Beach was their number-one pick for U.S. beaches for two years running, in 2018 and 2019.