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Dr. Beach Releases Top 10 Beaches

May 22, 2009 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor

Just in time for Memorial Day, "Dr. Beach" Stephen P. Leatherman has released his annual list of top 10 beaches and Hanalei Bay, a two-mile crescent-shaped beach on Kauai in Hawaii, is at the top.

"The sheer beauty of Hanalei Bay is breathtaking," said Leatherman, director of Florida International University's Laboratory for Coastal Research. "It's really an idyllic setting."

Here is the list in full:

1. Hanalei Bay, Kauai, HI
2. Siesta Beach, Sarasota, FL
3. Coopers Beach, Southampton, NY
4. Coronado Beach, San Diego
5. Hamoa Beach, Maui, HI
6. Main Beach, East Hampton, NY
7. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks, NC
8. Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, FL
9. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, MA
10. Kiawah Island, SC

Leatherman based his selections on 50 criteria, including water quality and temperature, cleanliness, weather, sand, safety and facilities.

Ranked second in 2008, Hanalei will now be retired from the Dr. Beach's list. Its selection returns the top spot to Hawaii, which has won 12 times since Leatherman started the list in 1991. Florida beaches have been named tops six times, including last year with Caladesi Island. North Carolina won once. California has never claimed the top spot. 

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