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Lifeguard tower on the Coronado Beach during sunset time. San Diego, California, USA.
Photograph: Shutterstock/Unwind Coronado Beach

Revealed: Dr. Beach’s 2023 list of the best U.S. beaches

And no, they aren’t all in Hawaii

Amanda Mactas
Written by
Amanda Mactas

For over 30 years, Dr. Beach AKA Dr. Stephen Leatherman—an American geoscientist and coastal ecologist—has worked tirelessly to create his annual ranking of America’s best beaches. Based upon a plethora of criteria (50 to be exact)—including water temperature, sand softness, tides, pests, and so much more—Dr. Leatherman ranks the beaches to ensure travelers get the most out of their seaside getaways.

He recently released this year’s list, which includes beaches in seven different states, ranging from New York to Hawaii. Without further ado, Dr. Beach’s 2023 list of best U.S. beaches 

  1. St. George Island State Park, Florida
  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. Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
  10. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

While the list includes beaches from a wide array of states, the chances of finding a great beach drastically increase in Hawaii and Florida, which combined make up half the list. Clocking in at number one, St. George Island State Park in Florida is located on a remote barrier island, making it an ideal spot for swimming, bird watching, and fishing, according to Dr. Beach.

Hawaii’s top beach earned its number two spot on the overall list thanks to its relatively small crowds. Not only that, but it’s the wide beach in the area and is protected by a nearby coral reef, making it a safe haven for children and families.

Planning a beach trip anytime soon? Consult with the doctor to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

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