The sand on Siesta Beach on Florida's Gulf Coast is as fine as powdered sugar, a pure, sparkling white and soft as a kitten's fur — all because it's comprised of 99 percent pure crushed quartz.
For that reason, and many others, it was selected this year as the best beach in America by a professor who's made a career ranking and studying beaches around the United States.
"The sand is outstanding," said Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, a professor at Miami's Florida International University. "Every time I go there, I've got to take a bag home with me. It's almost sacrilegious to walk on it with shoes on."
Other beaches that made the list this year, in...