America’s Best Beaches for ’23
No locals on the list … that’s good!
He’s known as “Dr. Beach.” Director of the Florida International University Laboratory for Coastal Research in Miami, Stephen Leatherman, PhD is the nation’s leading expert on beaches.
For over 30 years he’s been setting the standards for determining: “America’s Best Beaches.” We’re his beneficiaries — the beach is and always will be America’s #1 vacation choice. “Beach time” varies from person to person but the attraction is near certain. I’ve never heard of “a bad day at the beach.” Can’t be.
Every year Dr. Leatherman evaluates more than 650 public beach facilities all over the United States. Providing a “first-ever professional beach rating” for the public. And having a blast while doing it. This guy is my kind of “beach bum.” I envy him his task. Oprah even put him on TV for having one of America’s best jobs.
The professor started the list in 1991 using 50 criteria to judge the worth of a beach — including sand softness and color, tidal range, safety, cleanliness, views, water temperature, smell, wildlife, access, wave size, and intensity of use. The beach rating scale offers an objective appraisal of our nation’s major public recreational beaches along the US coast.
The ’23 list includes:
1) St. George Island State Park, Florida panhandle
2) Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
3) Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
4) Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
5) Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina
6) Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
7) Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii
8) Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
9) Poiup Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
10) Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina — #1 on last year’s list — didn’t make the top 10 this year. It’s nice to see a Florida beach topping the list — the state is doing many things right these days. Plus, 6 of the top 10 beaches are on the East Coast.
We Monmouth Beach/Sea Bright/Long Branch residents already know we have some of the nation’s best beaches. They are a source of enduring enjoyment and relaxation. I’m glad our beaches don’t make a list, though, summers are crowded already. Speaking about NJ beaches, Dr. Leatherman says: “Many people assume that New Jersey’s sand came from Long Island. This is incorrect as no sand grains can cross the deep valley of the drowned Hudson River (outer New York Harbor); indeed, divers report a massive buildup of sand and debris in this submarine canyon.
“Likewise, no sand from the southern end of New Jersey (Cape May) can travel across the wide mouth of Delaware Bay to reach Lewes, Delaware because of the deep water. Coastal geologists call the outer shoreline of New Jersey, which extends for over 120 miles, a coastal compartment, meaning that no sand can come to or from another beach to these shores.”
Dr. Leatherman, an internationally known coastal scientist, holds a doctorate in Environmental (Coastal) Sciences from the University of Virginia. His published research on storm impacts, coastal erosion and improved beach health and safety is considerable. For more information, visit his website.