Hawaii's Kapalua Bay Beach tops 2018 list of America's best beaches

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Looking to up your beach game? While a trip to the shore is always fun, some destinations stand out in the crowd. (Tor Johnson/Hawaii Tourism Authority via AP)

There's perhaps no better summertime activity than a trip to the shore, but some of the country's beaches stand out from the rest.

That's according to Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach, who has named Kapalua Bay Beach in Maui, Hawaii, as the top beach in the country for 2018.

Leatherman called crescent-shaped, palm tree-lined Kapula the "perfect beach for swimming and snorkeling" and also lauded the amenities nearby. Showers and restrooms are available, and the Ritz Carlton is among several establishments offering food and drinks to visitors. The beach itself is protected from the ocean waves by small peninsulas on either side formed by lava flows.

The only downside? Leatherman pointed out that, after the drive across a golf course to get to the beach, parking can be a hassle on busy days.

Here's the full list of all 10 beaches Leatherman ranked:
  1. Kapalua Bay Beach; Maui, Hawaii
  2. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach; Ocracoke, North Carolina
  3. Grayton Beach State Park; Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
  4. Coopers Beach; Southampton, New York
  5. Coast Guard Beach; Cape Cod, Massachusetts
  6. Old Lighthouse Beach; Buxton, North Carolina
  7. Caladesi Island State Park; Dunedin, Florida
  8. Hapuna Beach State Park; Waimea, Hawaii
  9. Coronado Beach; San Diego, California
  10. Beachwalker Park; Kiawah Island, South Carolina


Leatherman has been ranking the nation's beaches for nearly three decades. While studying beach erosion in the impact of storms on coastal ecology, Leatherman developed a list of 50 criteria and has surveyed 650 major beaches around the United States for his annual rankings.
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