Best Beaches in America

May 26, 2017
Kerry Lengyel

Sand, sun, surf — what more could you want? Dr. Beach gives his recommendations for the 10 best beaches in America to visit the next time you want to feel some sand between your toes.

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, when millions of people begin flocking to the coasts. So, when the weather gets hotter and the sun shines brighter, where are the best beaches to lounge and swim?

Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, better known as Dr. Beach, released this year’s list of the best beaches in America. Dr. Beach releases his list each year based on 50 criteria covering things such as sand and water quality, smell, safety, environmental management and the local scene.

Here are his top 10 picks for this year’s best beaches in America.

Credit: expedia.com

10. Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Bring your canoe or kayak to Beachwalker Park and paddle through the area’s tidal inlets. Perfect for nature lovers, this beach is home to thousands of interesting birds and wildlife. The water is not clear, but it is clean and refreshing for beachgoers.

9. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California

This oasis by the sea measures hundreds of yards wide and features a unique Mediterranean climate, sparkling sand, subtropical vegetation and more. Beachgoers can enjoy ship-watching from the shoreline and the summer’s warm and mild surf.

Credit: expedia.com

8. Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii

Visit Hapuna Beach State Park in the summer to swim, snorkel and scuba dive or during the winter to witness the magic of big, powerful waves.

Credit: visitflorida.com

7. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida

Step onto the soft crystalline quartz sand on Caladesi Island State Park and dive into its sparkling clear waters. Beachgoers can reach the park by ferry, private boat or a long walk from Clearwater Beach.

Credit: expedia.com

6. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

While water temperatures are not the best at Coast Guard Beach — reaching only 60 to 70 degrees in summer — beachgoers can visit the picturesque old Coast Guard station and take in some of its great views of the area. The beach, which was formed where a sand spit attached to the glacial cliffs, slopes steeply into the refreshing water.

Credit: Paula's Southhampton Blog

5. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York

Coopers Beach is the first “Gold Coast” in the country and features grainy white quartz sand and a wide area to relax and explore. Look out at the extravagant mansions while soaking up the sun on the south shore of Long Island, New York.

4. Grayton Beach State Park, Florida panhandle

Experience sugar-white sand and emerald green water at Grayton Beach State Park. You can decide to spend the night here as well, as camping is allowed in the state park. Take an extra day to explore the park’s freshwater ponds and tidal lakes.

Credit: NY Daily News

3. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina

Get away with a vacation to Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach and experience some of the wildest beaches in the country. Big surf dominates during the late summer, making water conditions rough, so you may want to consider going to this beach earlier in the year.

Credit: Fodor's Travel Guides

2. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Looking for a great snorkeling spot? The clear blue waters at Kapalua Bay Beach are perfect to observe the vividly colored tropical fish and corals on the ocean’s rocky bottom.

1. Siesta Beach Sarasota, Florida

With the finest, whitest sand in the world, Siesta Beach takes the top slot on Dr. Beach’s list this year. The clear, clean waters at this year-round beach make it the ideal swimming spot no matter the season. Beachgoers can take a free trolley from town to the beach, or drive and park in the beach’s expanded parking lots.