Who couldn’t resist a “white coral sand beach…in a landscape dominated by black lava flows.” That’s how Dr. Seaside (actual title Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman) describes Hapuna Seaside State Park on the Massive Island, Hawaii, which he simply named no 1 in the US in his annual Finest Seashores awards, which is revealed simply in time for Memorial Day Weekend. In reality, it is a huge yr for the hallowed listing, which is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in 2021.
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Leatherman—a geoscientist and coastal ecologist—acquired his nickname again when he was a professor on the College of Maryland, educating a course on waves and seashores. His college students nicknamed him “Dr. Beach.” The listing itself was born after a former scholar went to work for a nationwide journal and advised him for a narrative. The remaining is historical past.
Yearly, Leatherman ranks the very best U.S. seashores based mostly on 50 standards scored on a five-point scale, together with security, sand high quality, cleanliness and extra. 5 years in the past, he adjusted the factors to offer further credit score for seashores which have good security data and no smoking. “All the beaches in Hawaii are now no smoking—I’m really happy about that,” says Leatherman.
In reality, Leatherman says that smoking on seashores and the litter of cigarettes is likely one of the huge points he’s preventing towards this yr. “People think that the sand is a giant ashtray,” he says. “Cigarettes last for decades and are disgusting, with kids digging them out of the sand and eating them; animals and birds and sea turtles, too.”
In regular occasions, Leatherman checks out as many seashores as potential, however he wasn’t capable of stick his toes within the sand as a lot in 2021. So this yr, he relied on his community of seaside managers to offer related knowledge. “They keep me informed and are experts themselves,” he says.
In a yr when Covid security continues to be paramount, Leatherman additionally issued suggestions for social distancing on the sand, however he emphasizes that going to a seaside is inherently one of many safer issues that you are able to do. “It’s a shame they shut down the beaches because that’s where I think people should have been,” he says. “But still, social distancing make sense. And hopefully everybody’s getting vaccinated who can and staying safe.”
From Hawaii to Massachusetts, listed here are Dr. Seaside’s 10 greatest seashores for 2021
The ten Finest Seashores in America
1. Hapuna Seaside State Park – Massive Island, Hawaii
Why it made the listing: “During the summer months, Hapuna is a perfect place to swim, snorkel or scuba dive in the crystal clear and clean waters,” says Leatherman.
A tip: In winter, be careful for highly effective rip currents. “Fortunately, there are well-trained lifeguards at this state park,” says Leatherman.
2. Coopers Seaside – Southampton, New York
Why it made the listing: “As the first “Gold Coast” within the nation, Coopers Seaside is lots of of yards extensive, made from grainy white quartz sand,” says Leatherman. “The beach is backed by large sand dunes covered by American beach grass interspersed with extravagant mansions.”
A tip: Try the snack bar serving lunch and drinks.
3. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Seaside – Outer Banks of North Carolina
Why it made the listing: “Ocracoke, once the home of Blackbeard the pirate, is still a special place—it is my favorite getaway beach,” says Leatherman.
A tip: “Don’t expect to play golf or stay at the Ritz; the main pursuits are swimming and beachcombing,” says Leatherman.
4. St. George Island State Park – Florida panhandle
Why it made the listing: “This long barrier island, far from urban areas, is a favorite destination for beachgoers, anglers and bird watchers as nature abounds,” says Leatherman.
A tip: “Besides swimming in the crystal-clear water, I enjoy beachcombing and shelling,” says Leatherman.
5. Lighthouse Seaside – Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina
Why it made the listing: “This lifeguarded beach is the number one surfing spot on the U. S. Atlantic Coast as the large offshore sand banks, known as Diamond Shoals, cause wave refraction focusing wave energy on this beach,” says Leatherman.
A tip: “It is fun to stroll down to the Cape Point where a long sand spit often exists, making one feel somewhat like Moses because the waves are coming from both directions as you walk along this narrow string of sand in the ocean,” says Leatherman.
6. Duke Kahanamoku Seaside – Oahu, Hawaii
Why it made the listing: “This is one of the most picturesque beaches in the USA with the iconic Diamond Head volcano in the distance,” says Leatherman.
A tip: Head to the close by Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon—“a favorite bathing and swimming spot,” says Leatherman.
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7. Caladesi Island State Park – Florida
Why it made the listing: “The white beach is composed of crystalline quartz sand which is soft and cushy at the water’s edge, inviting one to take a dip in the sparkling clear waters,” says Leatherman.
A tip: “There are boardwalk trails, but my favorite is the kayak and canoe trails through the mangroves to see the large blue herons and other birds that frequent this wonderful natural area,” says Leatherman.
8. Coronado Seaside – San Diego, California
Why it made the listing: “With its subtropical vegetation, unique Mediterranean climate, and fine sparkling sand, beach-goers flock to this beach for great ship-watching and the summer’s warm and mild surf,” says Leatherman.
A tip: Try the Resort del Coronado, an area landmark that was constructed over 100 years in the past. “Kings, sheiks, actors, and actresses have stayed at this iconic hotel,” says Leatherman.
9. Beachwalker Park – Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Why it made the listing:“This is a nature-lovers coast so visitors can bring their canoes and kayaks to paddle through the tidal inlets,” says Leatherman.
A tip: “It is also fun to walk or bicycle down the fine-grained sand beach to Captain Sam’s Inlet to see thousands of birds,” says Leatherman.
10. Coast Guard Seaside – Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Why it made the listing: “Coast Guard Beach, accessible by bicycle from the Salt Pond Visitor’s Center or shuttle bus, is located where a sand spit extends southward from the glacial sea cliffs,” says Leatherman.
A tip: “Note the red flags with shark images on days when these predators are around and follow the advice of lifeguards,” says Leatherman.
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