The rankings for the best beaches in the United States are in, and several are located out West. Stephen P. Leatherman, PhD, a professor and director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University, is commonly referred to by his nickname “Dr. Beach.” As a kickoff to the summer season, Dr. Beach is sharing his professional take on top beaches, which he’s announced every year since 1991. In his explanation, he also reflected on the key differences between West and East Coast conditions.

“The sand on the West Coast is softer and whiter, keeping it cool even when the sun is beaming on it,” he told NBC6. “On the East Coast, the sand is rougher and darker, which can make it uncomfortably hot to step on.”

Each year, Dr. Beach determines his rankings by assessing 50 factors, including water and air temperature, number of sunny days, smell, trash and litter, and views. Without further ado, here’s his top 10 for 2024—three of which are in Hawaii:

1. Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

Waikiki Beach is a super popular spot year-round, but you’ll find fewer crowds in this area on the west side. Dr. Beach adds that it’s the widest part of this beach, and it offers breathtaking views of the Diamond Head volcano.

2. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York

The south shore of Long Island is full of beaches, but this one is known for its wide stretch of “grainy white quartz” sand and opulent mansions beyond.

3. Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii

This is actually a compilation of five “pocket beaches,” according to Dr. Beach, and there are luxury resorts lining the shore.

4. Caladesi State Park, Dunedin Clearwater, Florida

There’s a unique way to navigate to this beach in Florida: a pedestrian ferry boat.

5. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Located on the southern end of Kiawah Island—just 25 miles southwest of Charleston—Beachwalker Park has tidal inlets that are perfect for canoeing and kayaking.

6. Main Beach, East Hampton, New York

Another Hamptons hub, Main Beach has clear blue waters and opportunities to spot celebrities all summer long.

7. Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Rounding out the list of Hawaiian beaches, Poipu Beach is positioned on the “sunny, dry side” of Kauai, and it’s actually two pocket beaches.

8. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Naples, Florida

There are a lot of activities to choose from while visiting this white sand beach: swimming, snorkeling, paddleboarding, shelling, and fishing.

9. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Head out to the Cape and experience Coast Guard Beach. Parking is closed all summer long, so you can only access it by bike or shuttle bus.

10. Fort De Soto Park, St. Petersburg, Florida

Spanning a whopping 1,136 acres, this coastal park is home to white sand beaches, clear waters, and plenty of birds and sea creatures.

This story was originally published on You can read it here.

More In Culture
Load More