Dr. Beach, a.k.a. Stephen Leatherman, a coastal expert and professor at Florida International University, has been compiling the annual rankings since 1991.
He uses 50 criteria to evaluate the beaches, including water and sand quality, safety and environmental management practices. Beaches receive bonus points for not allowing smoking.
Florida had the most number of beaches on the top 10 list. Hawaii came in second with two. The east coast was also well represented with beaches in New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and South Carolina making the list. Only one beach on the West Coast was placed on the list: Coronado Beach in San Diego.
Dr. Beach lauded Siesta Beach for its “clear, warm waters ideal for swimming.”
“The beach is hundreds of yards wide in the shape of a crescent due to anchoring of onshore rocks to the south,” he writes.