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'Dr. Beach' Names 4 Florida Beaches Among the Best in the Nation

Here in the Sunshine State, we know our beaches: We’ve got the perfect white sand, refreshing cool water and waves that don’t keep us from wading in. If you ask us, our beaches are among the best in the nation. 

“Dr. Beach” agrees.

Professor Stephen P. Leatherman, director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University in Miami, recently named the top 10 beaches in America. Although Waimanalo Bay Beach Park in Oahu, Hawaii, took the top spot, Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs came in second, and St. George Island State Park in Florida’s panhandle came in third. 

Also making the top 10 list were Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne, which took sixth place, and Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park in Naples, which took ninth place.

Leatherman — or Dr. Beach, as he’s become known — uses an extensive 50-point rating system for ranking the beaches for his annual list. He examines everything from wind speeds and beach width to lifeguard presence and public safety. 

He's not the only one to appreciate what Florida has to offer, either: The state also dominated Thrillist’s list of the 14 best small beach towns in America with Anna Maria Island taking the top spot. Ranking 11th and 12th are Sanibel Island and Seaside, respectively, for their charm, cleanliness and tranquility.

Who’s up for a weekend trip to one of these gorgeous locales? 

Dr. Beach's rankings are: 

1. Waimanalo Bay Beach Park Oahu, Hawaii
2. Barefoot Beach Bonita Springs, Florida
3. St. George Island State Park Florida panhandle
4. Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii
5. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks of North Carolina
6. Cape Florida State Park Key Biscayne, Florida
7. Coast Guard Beach Cape Cod, Massachusetts
8. Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina
9. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park Naples, Florida
10. East Beach, Santa Barbara, California

(Photo of St. Georgle Island via Floridastateparks.org)