Surf's up! We Want to Visit America's Top 10 Beaches
Dr. Beach’s winner: Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Honolulu. (Photo: Sam Eifling/AP)
By Sam Eifling
A tourist-friendly beach named for a Hawaii surfing legend has been dubbed the best public beach in the United States in this year’s Dr. Beach ranking.
Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Honolulu, a well-groomed crescent of blond sand and palm trees near the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, beat out more than 600 other beaches for the distinction.
Stephen Leatherman, a Florida International University coastal science professor who goes by the nickname Dr. Beach, said the cleanliness, safe conditions and amenities pushed Duke Kahanamoku to the top of his 24th annual list.
"It’s safe for kids and families," he said. "The water quality’s great. The vistas are right off the scale for that place."
Also big for him: Smoking there is banned, as it is on beaches throughout Oahu.
"I hope Hawaii sets the standard and the wave moves eastward to the mainland," he said. "South Beach is a hot beach in Miami but sometimes there I count 10 cigarette butts in a square meter."
(Photo: Sam Eifling/AP)
This already has been a big spring for Duke Kahanamoku Beach. In the new blockbuster movie “Godzilla,” it’s where the monster clambers out of the Pacific and into Waikiki, flooding the streets and demolishing hotels.
Leatherman, who did his Ph.D. on beach erosion, said such a kaiju attack would hurt the beach in his rankings if the debris wasn’t cleaned up. “The tsunami itself would go over top of the whole thing,” he said, “and the beach would still be there.”
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The runner-up: Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs, Fla. (Photo: Chris Griffith/Flickr)