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. Source: http://drbeach.org/online/2017-top-10-beaches/
South of Charleston, Beachwalker Park is the public beach located on the southern end of Kiawah Island. This is a nature-lovers coast so visitors should bring their canoes and kayaks to paddle through the tidal inlets. It is also fun to walk or bicycle down to Captain Sam’s Inlet to see thousands of birds. The water is not clear here, but it is clean and provides fantastic seafood for low-country cooking. There is concern about the proposal to build 50 houses and a steel revetment on the sand spit in terms of its impact on animal life and visitor access.
Coronado Beach is the toast of Southern California; it is a veritable oasis by the sea, measuring hundreds of yards wide. With its lush subtropical vegetation, unique Mediterranean climate, and fine sparkling sand, beach-goers flock to this beach for great ship-watching and the summer’s warm and mild surf. The local landmark, Hotel del Coronado, was built over a hundred years ago, offering spectacular architecture and Old World elegance. Kings, sheiks, actors, and actresses have stayed at Hotel del Coronado, where food and drinks are served on the beach, and the hotel provides a great location for celebrities.
This white coral sand beach resides in a landscape dominated by black lava flows. During the summer months, Hapuna is a perfect place to swim, snorkel or scuba dive in the crystal clean waters, but big waves during the winter can generate powerful rip currents. Fortunately, there are well-trained lifeguards at this state park.
Caladesi is reached by pedestrian ferry boat, private boats or a long walk north from Clearwater Beach–the inlet is closed so Caladesi is no longer a true island, but still a great getaway. The white beach is composed of crystalline quartz sand which is soft and cushy at the water’s edge, inviting one to take a dip in the sparkling clear waters. There are boardwalk trails, but my favorite is the kayak and canoe trails through the mangroves to see the large blue herons and other birds that frequent this wonderful natural area.
Coast Guard Beach, accessible by bicycle or shuttle bus from the Salt Pond Visitor’s Center, was formed where a sand spit attached to the glacial cliffs. The sand is fairly coarse so the beach slopes steeply into the water. The picturesque old Coast Guard station still sits atop the glacial bluffs, allowing for a spectacular view down upon the Nauset Spit barrier system and bay. During the summer, beach-goers take quick, refreshing dips in the ocean as water temperatures only reach 60-70 degrees.
Coopers Beach is located on the south shore of Long Island, New York, shielded from the cold Labrador currents in the beautiful village of Southampton. As the first “Gold Coast” in the country, Coopers Beach is hundreds of yards wide, made of grainy white quartz sand. The beach is backed by large sand dunes covered by American beach grass interspersed with large and extravagant mansions. Some of the best beach access in the Hamptons exists on Coopers Beach, and a snack bar serving lunch and drinks can be found here as well.
This beach boasts of its sugar-white sand and emerald green water where development has been restrained so big sand dunes still dominate the landscape. At the same time, all the amenities of great restaurants and accommodations are close by in the old town of Grayton Beach or Seaside. Many people choose to camp in this wonderful state park that also features tidal lakes and freshwater ponds.
Ocracoke, once the home of Blackbeard the pirate, is still a special place. Here you will find some of the wildest beaches in the country. Big surf dominates in late summer so families with children may want to come earlier in the year. Don’t expect to play golf or stay at the Ritz; the main pursuits are swimming and beachcombing.
Kapalua is a perfect beach for swimming and snorkeling in the clear, azure waters that are protected by two headlands formed long ago by lava flows into the sea. This beautiful crescent-shaped, white sand beach is bounded by these rocky anchors where good restaurants can be found. The fine coral sand beach slopes gradually into the deeper water where the rocky bottom is punctuated with corals that attract vividly-colored tropical fish. You can buy fish food and rent snorkeling gear at the concession hut on the north end of the beach.
With some of the finest, whitest sand in the world, this beach attracts sand collectors from all over. Siesta Beach has 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. This beach is great for volleyball and other types of recreational fitness.