Best Top 10 Beaches 2009

Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman (aka Dr. Beach), Director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research released his list of Top 10 Beaches for 2009. He uses a multitude of criteria to evaluate beaches, which includes water and sand quality as well as safety, facilities and environmental management.

The Traveling Mamas love Hawaii, but we’re also big fans of beaches. Period. Here’s Dr. Beach’s official list. Some are great for families, others are perfect for that romantic escape, but all are perfect for relaxing and getting some sand between your toes.

Hanalei Bay by Seany @ Flickr
Hanalei Bay by Seany @ Flickr

1. Hanalei Bay Kauai, Hawaii

2. Siesta Beach Sarasota, Florida

3. Coopers Beach Southampton, New York

4. Coronado Beach San Diego, California

5. Hamoa Beach Maui, Hawaii

6. Main Beach East Hampton, New York

7. Cape Hatteras Outer Banks of North Carolina

8. Cape Florida State Park Key Biscayne, Florida

9. Coast Guard Beach Cape Cod, Massachusetts

10. Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Do you disagree with Dr. Beach’s list? Keep in mind that past list leaders are ineligible for inclusion. The annual top beach pick by Dr. Beach has always been in either Florida or Hawaii, with the exception of 2007, which was in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

My personal pick for top beach of 2009 would have to be Nannygoat Beach on Sapelo Island, a Georgia barrier island. It is undeveloped, pristine, fantastic for shelling, and the first time I’ve ever actually seen the beach shimmer with gold flecks. Simply breathtaking.

Here’s a video by brew journalist, Ale Sharpton, that ends on Nannygoat Beach.

Direct link to video.

If you were doing the choosing, what beach would be your top pick for 2009?

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  1. What no Great Lakes Beaches! Dr. Beach needs to get out more :). Mine would be The Beach at the end of Esche Road in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan.

  2. No kidding…Dr. Beach -does- need to get out more!

    My favorite is the beach by Point Betsie Lighthouse on Lake Michigan near Frankfort, Michigan. Beautiful lighthouse and a wonderful sandy beach perfect for taking a long walk or wading along the shoreline. It’s fairly isolated much of the year, although warm summer evenings usually bring a batch of folks out to sit and enjoy the sunset.

  3. Apparently this is a U.S.-only list? In that case, I have to say Little Beach on Maui. It’s a clothing-optional spot that is sublimely gorgeous.

    Meanwhile, outside the U.S., I’m trumpeting Lopes Mendes beach on Brazil’s Ilha Grande — easily among the top five in my experience. Was just there and am still giddy over the experience. Finest sand I’ve ever felt (actually squeaks under your feet), monkeys in the trees, parrots and egrets overhead, very few people, lovely warm water, and a fringe of beach-apricot trees loaded with bright yellow fruit. Wow. Go! And stay at the island’s Sagu Mini Resort, — exquisite!

  4. I’m with Randall – a bit disappointing that there are no international entries. My international list would include:

    – Any beach in Buzios, Brazil
    – Le Plage in Amsterdam on a hot summer day – pass me another cocktail!
    – 90 Mile Beach in New Zealand
    – Sihanoukville, Cambodia

    Now, where are my sandals….

  5. Cape Hatteras is awful!
    too much traffic (two lane roads and ferries).
    too many people who should not wear a bathing or swim suit.
    too many sharks/jellyfish/whatever in the near-shore water.
    too long to get there (no commercial airport, hours from an interstate).
    too few “natives”. everybody is from somewhere else
    who fell in love with this place
    and stayed.

  6. I can vouch for Siesta Key being on this list – and definitely deserves to be at the top – #2 works for me, next to Hawaii 🙂 The only thing that now concerns me is that our little “secret” of the perfect beach will get out there to the rest of the world…

  7. Kiawah Island is my fave although I wouldn’t limit Kiawah’s best beach to Beachwalker Park. The entire beach on Kiawah Island is beautiful. One ten-mile long stretch of wide sandy beach perfect for walking, biking or swimming. Personally, I like to park my beach chair in the sand at sunset with a glass of wine. Now that’s a good beach experience.

  8. Showin jersey no love! Cape May and/or Wildwood deserve a spot in the top 10. They are guaranteed the most seasonal cities in the country hands down. I recommend checking out the beaches there.

    PS, be on the lookout for the rude Philadelphians!

  9. San Diego and Cape Hatteras and the outer banks area are definitely top favorites, but you’ve got to put Myrtle Beach in there to, although the North Myrtle Beach hotels are right there and just as nice. To people in this area it’s not that big a difference. The beach is nice, Huntington Beach State Park is right there, and the boardwalk and the town have things that will make everyone happy!

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