The shore expert has spoken. Meet this year’s top ten best beaches.

By Susan Hall Mahon
Linny Morris

Since 1991 Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, AKA Dr. Beach, has created a yearly ranking of the best beaches in America, releasing the list of superior strands just in time for the start of summer.

The professor and director of the has a strict beach-rating guideline that includes 50 factors, from a beach’s size (width at low tide) and make-up (sand type and color) to local flora and fauna (including presence of pests like biting flies) and the health of the beach (whether there is runoff and litter).

This year, Dr. Beach’s winner is a white sand coral beach shaded by palms and fronted by calm, turquoise waters in a town that called “quite possibly the most beautiful beach town in America.”

Without further ado, the 2019 winner of Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beaches is Kailua Beach Park in Kailua, on Oahu, Hawaii, which Leatherman lauded for its beauty, safety (lifeguards on duty), and amenities, including free parking, bathrooms, beach showers, picnic tables, volleyball courts, kayak rentals, and more. 

“A very popular activity is to paddle a kayak to the nearby picturesque offshore islands; the larger one has a nice sandy beach,” Leatherman says. “It is only minutes away from the village of Kailua where there are good restaurants, or you can pick up plate lunches and drinks for the beach.”

Kailua Beach Park, Oahu
French Peter/Getty Images

See Dr. Beach’s :

1. Kailua Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii
2. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
3. Grayton Beach State Park, Florida panhandle
4. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
5. Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
6. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
7. Caladesi Island State Park Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
8. Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii
9. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
10. Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Related: Top 10 Exotic Beach Destinations:

Past Winners of Dr. Beach's Best Beaches in America

2018: Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii
2017:  Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Florida
2016:  Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

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