Dr. Beach Names 10 Best Beaches in the U.S. (2023)

Let’s face it: there’s no shortage of beaches in the United States. However, when it comes to spending your hard-earned money, you don’t want to visit just any beach. You want to visit the one that checks all your boxes.

Dr. Beach, also known as Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, selects the best beaches in the United States based on a comprehensive evaluation. Each year, he conducts a thorough assessment of numerous coastal locations using his established criteria. The evaluation process involves collecting data and on-site visits to the nominated beaches.

Dr. Beach considers water quality, safety, cleanliness, beach width and sand quality, amenities, and environmental management efforts. Dr. Beach combines scientific analysis with his expertise in coastal processes and environmental stewardship to determine the rankings.

With that in mind, here’s a list of the ten best beaches in the United States for 2023. 

10. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod Massachusetts
Photo Credit: [@tomtsya/DepositPhotos]

Renowned for its scenic beauty, Coast Guard Beach is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Its vast stretch of sand, historic lighthouse, and opportunities for seal-spotting make it an idyllic spot for a New England beach vacation. Grab your bicycle and enjoy the Cape Cod Rail Trail alongside the water, where you may even catch some sights of seals relaxing on the beach.

9. Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Poipu Beach Kauai Hawaii
Photo Credit: [@jewhyte/DepositPhotos]

A popular choice for families, Poipu Beach, has calm waters in a lagoon-like setting, making it safe for swimming and snorkeling. The palm-lined beach offers spectacular sunset views, adding to its tropical allure. And, of course, plenty of nearby resorts you can call home during your stay. What makes it so popular, though, is the opportunity to see monk seals lying on the beach in perfect contentment with nature, along with turtles and the local fish. 

8. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Kiawah Island South Carolina
Photo Credit: [@digidream/DepositPhotos]

Offering unspoiled natural beauty, Beachwalker Park provides a serene beach experience with its picturesque tidal inlets and expansive ocean vistas. A sanctuary for wildlife, it’s excellent for bird-watching, shell-collecting, and peaceful nature walks. Renowned for its tranquility and captivating sunsets, it is a hidden gem on the South Carolina coast. Come here early during a weekday to avoid the larger crowds as this is a popular destination, and finish the day with some local seafood.

7. Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Wailea Beach Maui Hawaii
Photo Credit: [@digital94086/DepositPhotos]

This stunning Hawaiian beach offers golden sands and calm, clear waters. Known for snorkeling, body surfing, and boogie boarding, there is no shortage of water fun out here.  You may also have the chance to spot the local and camera-friendly sea turtles (try looking between 11 am and 2 pm). It’s surrounded by luxury resorts and lush green landscapes, ensuring an unforgettable beach vacation. 

6. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California

Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, CA
Photo Credit: [@SherryVSmith/DepositPhotos]

This scenic beach boasts sparkling sand thanks to mica minerals and offers striking views of the grand landmark Hotel Del Coronado (a great place to stay if your budget allows for it). Locals and visitors flock here daily to enjoy that Southern California lifestyle we have all come to know and love. Coronado Beach is perfect for sunbathing, surfing, and family beach games, making it a must-visit for a San Diego, California, beach experience.

5. Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Photo Credit: [@PiLens/DepositPhotos]

Nestled near the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, this beach offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty. Known for its large surfing popularity (with many considering it the best on the east coast), fishing, and charming beach homes, it’s the place to be. There are even the lesser-known but popular kite-surfing and windsurfing activities here due to the perfect weather in this slice of coastal heaven.

4. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida

Caladesi Island State Park Clearwater FL
Photo Credit: [@kojoty/DepositPhotos]

Accessible only by ferry, this secluded island beach in Clearwater, Florida, offers untouched beauty with its white quartz sand and crystalline waters. It’s one of the few untouched islands left in the area. Experience peaceful beach strolls on the boardwalks, shell-hunting, and glimpses of local wildlife in their natural habitats. The mangroves are a particular delight to see by kayak or canoe. When peace and quiet are at the top of your priority list, there’s no better option than Caladesi Island State Park. 

3. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York

Hamptons NY
Photo Credit: [@Cavan/DepositPhotos]

Known for its beautiful dune landscapes and picturesque Atlantic shoreline, Coopers Beach boasts soft white sands, clear waters, and historic mansions. This well-maintained beach is a perfect getaway for a luxurious Hamptons summer experience. There are even opportunities to see whales and dolphins migrating during the season.

2. Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii 

Kahanamoku Beach Oahu Hawaii
Photo Credit” [@kojoty/DepositPhotos]

Named after the legendary Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku, this iconic beach offers a stunning view of the Diamond Head volcano and is perfect for water sports enthusiasts. Its turquoise waters and golden sands make for a picturesque tropical escape for individuals, couples, and families alike. Enjoy the Hawaiian delicacies at Gilligan’s Beach Shack as you enjoy the pristine weather and relaxing atmosphere.

1. St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle

St. George Island State Park Florida Panhandle
Photo Credit: {@Hackman/DepositPhotos]

This tranquil paradise is famed for its pristine white sandy beaches, clear blue waters, and abundant bird life. A haven for hobbyist shell-seekers, it’s also a prime location for fishing and peaceful beachside camping. There is also an active kayaking scene here with rentals if you choose not to bring your own.

This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog, where she provides vacationers with trip ideas, travel guides, and news. She travels to experience, eat, explore, and escape! Alex’s mission is to help you find the perfect vacation destination.