The shore expert has spoken. Meet this year’s top ten best beaches.

By Susan Hall Mahon
May 23, 2019
Linny Morris

Since 1991 Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, AKA Dr. Beach, has created a yearly ranking of the best beaches in America, releasing the list of superior strands just in time for the start of summer.

The professor and director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University has a strict beach-rating guideline that includes 50 factors, from a beach’s size (width at low tide) and make-up (sand type and color) to local flora and fauna (including presence of pests like biting flies) and the health of the beach (whether there is runoff and litter).

This year, Dr. Beach’s winner is a white sand coral beach shaded by palms and fronted by calm, turquoise waters in a town that Coastal Living Travel Editor Tracey Minkin called “quite possibly the most beautiful beach town in America.”

Without further ado, the 2019 winner of Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beaches is Kailua Beach Park in Kailua, on Oahu, Hawaii, which Leatherman lauded for its beauty, safety (lifeguards on duty), and amenities, including free parking, bathrooms, beach showers, picnic tables, volleyball courts, kayak rentals, and more. 

“A very popular activity is to paddle a kayak to the nearby picturesque offshore islands; the larger one has a nice sandy beach,” Leatherman says. “It is only minutes away from the village of Kailua where there are good restaurants, or you can pick up plate lunches and drinks for the beach.”

Kailua Beach Park, Oahu
French Peter/Getty Images

See Dr. Beach’s entire 2019 top 10 ranking here:

Related: Top 10 Exotic Beach Destinations:

Past Winners of Dr. Beach's Best Beaches in America