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Friday, May 28, 2010
Top 10 Beaches!
Dr. Stephen Leatherman, director of Florida International University's Laboratory for Coastal Research, known by the moniker Dr. Beach, has been compiling a list of the country's top ten beaches for twenty years. His annual survey released was released Friday to coincide with the start of the summer vacation season.
Heading this year's list is Coopers Beach, New York, with pristine white sand gently sloping toward a shoreline of lapping waves, convenient parking and amenities and nary a gum wrapper in sight. "New York has world-class beaches, but I don't think a lot of people in the United States know about them," said Dr. Leatherman.
He said Cape Florida, on the southeast coast, "doesn't get the wave activity" that can lead to tar balls washing up. As for Siesta Beach, he said he had looked at currents and believes "there's very low probability the oil will get to southwest Florida."
Leatherman's list also features another New York beach, Main Beach in East Hampton, Long Island, not far from Southampton. Main Beach takes the No. 5 spot on this year's survey.
"When most people think of a beach vacation destination, they go south," Leatherman said. "I kind of think the east end of Long Island is a well-kept secret for most Americans."
Rounding out the top 10 are Coronado Beach, Calif. (3), Cape Hatteras, N.C. (4), Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki, Honololu (No. 6), Coast Guard Beach in Cape Cod, Mass. (7), Beachwalker Park in Kiawah Island, S.C. (8), and Hamoa Beach in Maui, Hawaii (9).
Coopers Beach has been a contender for the top spot in recent years, but this is the first time a New York beach has made it to No. 1, Leatherman said. He considers factors like water quality and temperature, cleanliness, weather, sand, safety and facilities in making his list.
Once a beach makes it to the top spot, it is retired from consideration in future years, he said. Leatherman added that designation as the country's No. 1 beach usually brings as much as a 20 percent bump in tourism.