Imagine having this job – ranking the best beaches in America. We’re not sure if site visits are part of the criteria, but the man known as “Dr. Beach” is back with his 2018 top 10 beaches in the country.
Spoiler alert – America’s top beach is in Hawaii.
For 28 years, Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, professor at Florida International University has released his top 10 ranking. Florida typically places multiple beaches in the list, and this year is no exception.
Here is Leatherman’s top 10 for 2018:
- Kapalua Bay Beach Maui, Hawaii
- Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach Outer Banks of North Carolina
- Grayton Beach State Park Florida panhandle
- Coopers Beach Southampton, New York
- Coast Guard Beach Cape Cod, Massachusetts
- Lighthouse Beach, Buxton Outer Banks of North Carolina
- Caladesi Island State Park Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
- Hapuna Beach State Park Big Island, Hawaii
- Coronado Beach San Diego, California
- Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Grayton Beach is in between Destin and Panama City and is known for its sugar-white sand and large dunes. Caladesi Island is accessible only by boat or ferry and is located near Dunedin in Pinellas County. Both are state parks and both are on the Gulf side of the peninsula.
Dr. Leatherman uses fifty criteria to evaluate beaches, which include water and sand quality as well as safety and management. Bonus points are awarded for prohibition of smoking on beaches.
Last year’s number one – Siesta Beach in Sarasota, like other past national winners, is retired from the list.