For Condé Nast Traveler, by Katherine LaGrave.
Each year, Steve Leatherman — also known as Dr. Beach — evaluates America’s seashores based on criteria like water, safety, and sand quality. This year’s list just came out, and unsurprisingly, the top ten is stacked with strips of sand in Hawaii, the Carolinas, and Florida — which, with three beaches in the top ten, had more than any other state.
1. Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Florida
Why it made the list: This crescent-shaped beach has clear water perfect for swimming, and its fine, white sand attracts collectors from around the world.
2. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii
Why it made the list: Kapalua's water is calm and clear, thanks largely due its position protected "by two headlands formed long ago by lava flows into the sea." The beach is ideal for swimming, and as the coral sand beach slopes off, it gives way to vibrant marine life.
3. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
Why it made the list: Perfect for all sorts of visitors, Ocracoke has mild surf in the spring and early summer and large swells in late summer. Once the reputed home to the pirate Blackbeard, today, people come to Ocracoke for a different sort of treasure-hunting: beachcombing.
“Perfect for all sorts of visitors, Ocracoke has mild surf in the spring and early summer and large swells in late summer.”
4. Grayton Beach State Park, Florida panhandle
Why it made the list: Tall dunes, soft white sand, and clear, green water help keep Grayton near the top of the list. According to Dr. Beach, visitors also come to camp in the park and visit its other highlights — think tidal lakes and freshwater ponds.
5. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
Why it made the list: Hundreds of yards wide, Coopers Beach comprises white coarse sand backed by large sand dunes and American beach grass. Dr. Beach notes that "some of the best beach access in the Hamptons" can be found here.
See the rest of The Best Beaches in the U.S. on CNTraveler.com
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