The best beach in the United States is Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay, according to Dr. Beach’s "top 10" list of beaches for 2016.
Hanauma Bay Beach Park is in a park at the eastern end of Oahu, about 20 kilometers from Honolulu, Hawaii's capital. According to Dr. Beach, the bay has the best accessible snorkeling in the area.
As a protected area where smoking is banned, Hanauma Bay features "thousands of beautifully colored tropical fish which span the rainbow,” Dr. Beach says.
Others on his "top 10" list: Siesta Beach, in Sarasota, Florida; Kapalua Bay Beach, on Maui island in Hawaii; Ocracoke on North Carolina's Outer Banks; Coast Guard Beach on Cape Cod in Massachusetts; Florida's Grayton Beach State Park; San Diego's Coronado Beach in California; Coopers Beach in Southampton, New York; Florida's Caladesi Island State Park; and Beachwalker Park, on Kiawah Island off the coast of South Carolina.
FILE - Sunbathers and snorkelers enjoying a beach day at Hanauma Bay, on the east side of Oahu, Hawaii.
Dr. Beach is actually coastal scientist Stephen Leatherman of Florida International University, who has been ranking beaches since 1991. He considers 50 criteria in preparing the rankings, including water and sand quality as well as "safety and management.”
He also gives “bonus points” for beaches that ban smoking. Dr. Beach's website notes that, in recent years, “more emphasis is being placed on environmental management and beach safety.”
The annual list is released at that start of Memorial Day weekend in the United States, which usually signals the start of summer recreational activities.
Monday is Memorial Day, a federal holiday that honors the memory of all the nation's war dead.