The United States has plenty of beaches along its 95,000 miles of coastline — from fine white sands and rocky shores to world-renown surf spots. But, before you book your vacation this summer, seasoned beach expert Dr. Beach will make sure you’re setting up your towel on the best sandy spot.
Dr. Beach, a professor and director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University, has been ranking U.S. beaches since 1991. His criteria uses 50 categories, and accounts for water quality, sand quality, amenities, views and pest levels, to select the best beaches the nation has to offer.
The 2018 winners are nothing short of beachy perfection:
1. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii
This crescent-shaped white sand beach sits on Maui’s northwest coast. Popular with snorkelers and swimmers, the calm turquoise-blue water is filled with unique corals, tropical fish and turtles. The picturesque views of palm trees and endless ocean are also enough to keep loungers in their chairs.
2. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks, North Carolina
Considered the “Pearl of Outer Banks,” this spot’s miles of secluded golden sand is a beachcombers paradise. The laid back shore has been left mostly undeveloped, leaving a feeling of privacy and relaxation — largely helped by the fact that this beach is only accessible by air or water.
3. Grayton Beach State Park, Florida Panhandle
One mile of powdery white sand shoreline and gorgeous crystal water vistas earns this Gulf of Mexico hot spot a place on the best beaches list. With cool waters and nearly 2,000 acres of park for nature trails and camping, Grayton Beach is also a good pick for those who can’t decide between hiking and swimming.
4. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
This scenic Long Island beach overlooking the Atlantic will please both the beach lover and the architecture lover. The tall beach grasses and sand dunes back up against historic mansions like Calvin Klein’s beach residence — all seen from the comfort of your beach chair.
For six more of Dr. Beach's best picks, visit the official website.