America’s best beaches

Dr Beach
with his clipboard

Dr. Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, has studied beach erosion for 40 years and completed two national surveys of the American coast. He is the head of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. For the past two deades he has been meticulously surveying the best beaches in America, giving them scores acroess 40 criteria from the softness of the sand to the slope of the dunes. The full listing is at the end of this article.

“I’ve been to every beach in the United States and there are around 650 in contention for the prize of top beach – all of which are swimming beaches so nothing is too cold,” he says. “Beaches remain the number one recreational activity in America.”

Stephen is from North Carolina, and has visited this year’s winning beach, Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks, North Carolina at loeast 50 times in his life. It is 300 yards of beach at the southern end of the Outer Banks, a thin chain of barrier islands along North Carolina’s coast, 26 miles from the mainland.

“I was born in North Carolina, so despite the fact that it’s remote, I estimate I’ve visited Ocracoke about 50 times. This place is my top getaway in the US. You’ve got 14 miles of unspoilt sand, a lovely, quaint village behind it with b&bs and inns, and perfect quiet. You don’t come here for golf or a spa and there’s no McDonald’s.”

America’s Top Beaches for 2007 are:

1. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks, North Carolina – National Winner
2. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
3. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
4. Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii
5. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
6. Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii
7. Main Beach, East Hampton, New York
8. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
9. Lighthouse Point Park, Daytona Beach, Florida
10. Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Florida

Photos of all 10 beaches can be found HERE

Previous National Winners, which are excluded from the survey, are

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