Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, known throughout the United States and internationally as Dr. Beach, is regarded as the country's leading authority on beach quality and ratings. A Ph.D. coastal scientist, professor of environmental studies and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University and acclaimed author, Dr. Leatherman is perhaps best known for his annual America's Best Beaches Top 10 List.
Dr. Leatherman's first Top Beach list was issued in 1991. Since then, every year around Memorial Day, beach-goers and beach communities anxiously await his latest list of the ten best public recreational beaches for swimming, walking, scenery, sports, and other activities. Beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean are objectively evaluated using a rating scale that covers 50 different criteria, ranging from beach width, sand quality, water temperature and strengths of currents to human impact issues such as lifeguards, the presence of litter and undesirable noise.
2013 America's Top Beaches
The list of 2013 top ten beaches features five beaches in the Southeast U.S. including one newcomer: Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs, Florida, added to the listing in sixth place. Altogether, Southeast U.S. top beaches for 2013 include three in Florida, one in North Carolina and one in South Carolina. Florida's St. George Island State Park moved up one spot from fourth to third place and Cape Florida State Park moved up one spot from eighth to seventh place. Cape Hatteras moved up two spots from tenth to eighth place. Kiawah Island's Beachwalker Park move down one place from ninth to tenth place.
The other five top beaches include the National Winner, Main Beach in East Hampton, New York, plus one beach in Massachusetts and three beaches in Hawaii:
- Main Beach - East Hampton, New York - National Winner
- Kahanamoku Beach - Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii
- St. George Island State Park - The Florida Panhandle
- Hamoa Beach - Maui, Hawaii
- Waimanalo Bay Beach Park - Oahu, Hawaii
- Barefoot Beach - Bonita Springs, Florida
- Cape Florida State Park - Key Biscayne, Florida
- Cape Hatteras - Outer Banks of North Carolina
- Coast Guard Beach - Cape Cod, Massachusetts
- Beachwalker Park - Kiawah Island, South Carolina
- Cape Hatteras
- Beachwalker Park Website
- The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island
- Florida's Top Beaches
- Dr. Beach Official Website