Visit Florida launches online beach-finder

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- To find your perfect beach, start by looking online. Visit Florida, the state’s tourism agency, has created an online “beach finder” that allows users to rank their beach needs, from how family-friendly to how romantic each beach is.

Google has partnered with the tourism agency to shoot images of Florida beaches to map them and post them online. Now visitors can virtually view the shores of Siesta Key Beach or Lido Key Beach, and check out the hotels and sites along the sand.

Users can rank their preferences toward one identifying theme or the other. Options include a more adventurous or more laid back atmosphere; romantic versus family friendly fun; an action-packed or secluded setting; or manicured versus a more natural feel.

The program launched two months ago, and more than 15 million people have “virtually” walked the Florida beaches since.

Visit Florida used a $500,000 grant from British Petroleum to pay for the project—funds that were made available after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.