Half of the top 10 beaches in the United States for 2023 are in Florida and Hawaii.
That’s according to the 2023 list of best US beaches released in May by “Dr. Beach,” aka coastal scientist Stephen Leatherman.
Florida’s St. George Island State Park earns the top slot. The barrier island park offers nine miles of pristine beaches along the Gulf Coast. With nature trails for biking and hiking, plus birding, fishing, boating and camping, St. George offers more than just excellent swimming and sunbathing. It’s also a prime spot for stargazing with limited light pollution and an observation platform for night sky exploration.
The beach has “some of the whitest, finest sand in the world,” said Leatherman, who is a professor in the Department of Earth & Environment at Florida International University. “The water is crystal clear and clean, far from any sources of pollution on this offshore barrier island.”
Leatherman has been ranking America’s best beaches since 1991.
He uses 50 criteria to evaluate hundreds of public beaches in the United States. The criteria include beach width, sand softness, water temperature and color, wildlife and more.
The No. 2 beach for 2023, Duke Kahanamoku Beach on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, is on the west end of the famed Waikiki Beach with fewer visitors than the more crowded stretches. Diamond Head volcano rises in the distance, making for an especially stunning setting, and the beach is good for families with children thanks to a protective offshore coral reef.
Wailea Beach in Maui and Poipu Beach in Kauai are the other Hawaii beaches in this year’s top 10.
Florida’s Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin/Clearwater also made the top 10. None of Florida’s Atlantic beaches appear in the 2023 top 10; Leatherman pointed out that the Atlantic coastline is being affected this year by sargassum seaweed.
The other five beaches are in New York, North Carolina, California, South Carolina and Massachusetts. Each state has one beach on the 2023 list.
Top 10 US beaches for 2023
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