The list isn’t willy nilly though. Leatherman is the director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University, and he’s chosen every beach on the list according to 50 criteria.
Criteria includes sand and water quality, smell, safety, environmental management, and even the local scene, to name a few. He even doles out extra points to beaches that prohibit smoking.
10. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Located on the southern portion of Kiawah Island, Beachwalker Park is a public park and a calm seaside oasis that nature lovers, bird watchers, and paddle boarders flock to.
9. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
This stunning beach is hundreds of yards wide, and surrounded by unique, subtropical vegetation. It’s a favorite among surfers and ship watchers.
8. Hapuna Beach, Big Island, Hawaii
Winter provides Hapuna with powerful waves, while summer brings calm, clear water that’s excellent for snorkeling and swimming.
7. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
This Gulf Coast beach can only be reached by pedestrian ferry boat, private boats, or a long walk north from Clearwater Beach. The crystalline quartz sand is super soft, and the warm, emerald waters make swimming fun year-round.
6. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
The warmest the water gets is 60 to 70 degrees, but during the hot summer months it’s a perfectly refreshing dip for those looking to cool down.
5. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
This super wide beach is backed by stunning sand dunes, which are flanked by incredible mansions.
4. Grayton Beach State Park, Florida panhandle
The turquoise blue waters and smooth, white sand are some of the prettiest you’ll find in Florida. And it doesn’t hurt that the nearby town of Seaside is a perfect place to grab a bite once you’re done on the beach. Camping is also available in this state park, which also features tidal lakes and freshwater ponds.
3. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
This beach can see pretty big waves at the end of summer, which is great for surfers, but families with younger children will appreciate this wild beach much more if they arrive earlier in the year.
2. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii
This small, crescent-shaped beach was formed by lava flows. It’s protected by rocky headlands on either side, giving it a wonderfully private feel, and its clear azure waters are perfect for snorkeling.
1. Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Florida
Siesta Beach’s warm, clear waters.