The 10 Best Beaches in America
Life + Money

The 10 Best Beaches in America


There’s something about sinking your feet in the sand and watching the waves crash around you that brings millions of Americans back to the beach every summer.

Among Americans surveyed for the 2016 Expedia Flip Flop Report, 46 percent said that they had taken a beach vacation in the past year, and 48 percent said that they’d do so in the next year.

The experience varies, of course, depending on which beach you’re visiting, and some American beaches are simply nicer than others. For more than two decades, Stephen Leatherman, a professor at Florida International University, has been studying the best American beaches, ranking them on more than 50 criteria, including everything from sand softness to safety record.

Slideshow: The 10 Best Beaches in America

This year’s criteria put additional emphasis on environmental management and beach safety, and awarded bonus points for beaches that prohibit smoking. 

According to Leatherman, who calls himself “Dr. Beach,” the best beach in America this year is the Hanauma Bay nature preserve in Oahu, Hawaii.

Home to thousands of tropical fish, this crescent-shaped beach offers unparalleled snorkeling. It’s also a great place to simply relax and lay in the sun, the preferred pastime for nearly three-quarters of beach-goers surveyed by Expedia, while 44 percent enjoyed reading or napping on the beach.

Related: 10 Hottest International Destinations for Summer 2016

Among those surveyed, 17 percent of Americans said that they worked while on the beach, the second-highest proportion of any nationality. Nearly a third of Indians said that they did work by the ocean.

See the 10 best beaches in America, according to “Dr. Beach.”