Best Beaches in the US – Dr. Beach Top 10 List

Best Beaches

If you are looking for the Best Beaches then Hawaii is the place to be! Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach just released his annual list of the Top 10 Beaches in the US. Three of the top five beaches are in Hawaii. Duke Kahanamoku Beach on Oahu was named the best US Beach for 2014. Duke Kahanamoku Beach is on Waikiki’s west end near the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  Duke Kahanamoku Beach has the widest stretch of beach in Waikiki. It is a great swimming area for families with children because a shallow offshore reef protects this beach from big waves.

Best Beaches in Hawaii

Photo from


Kahanamoku Beach was the number two beach on the 2013 List of Best Beaches in the US and has been on the top 10 list often. It is near the Hilton Hawaiian Village Pier which is the location for several popular Hawaii Activities such as Atlantis Submarine Tours. The beach is also a great location to watch Waikiki’s Friday Night Fireworks.

The Top 10 Beaches of 2014

1. Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii

2. Barefoot Beach Bonita Springs, Florida

3. St. George Island State Park Florida panhandle

4. Waimanalo Bay Beach Park Oahu, Hawaii – Waimanalo means “Protected Precious Waters” Waimanalo Beach boasts a beautiful sandy beach, and stunning blue water. 

5. Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii – Hamoa Beach is a crescent beach with a mixture of coral and lava sand. To get to Hamoa Beach you have to take the Road to Hana.

6. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks of North Carolina

7. Cape Florida State Park Key Biscayne, Florida

8. Coast Guard Beach Cape Cod, Massachusetts

9. Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina

10. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Naples, Florida


Leatherman has been making his annual Top 10 Beaches list since 1991 and uses 50 criteria such as beach width, water quality, wildlife, sand softness and color, available amenities and public safety.

The reason there are not more Hawaii Beaches on the 2014 Best Beaches List is because once a beach is ranked #1 it is retired from the list to make room for others.  Hawaii has dominated the #1 spot.

The Best Beaches in Hawaii that have received the #1 spot on Dr. Beach’s America’s Best Beaches List include:

2009 Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii  One of my personal favorites.  This is not only a beautiful beach to lounge but a great spot for Kauai Surfing.  You may recognize it from the movies South Pacific and The Descendants.

Romantic Beaches in Hawaii - Hanalei Bay


2006 Fleming Beach Park, Maui, Hawaii

2004 Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii Hanauma Bay is one of the best places in the world for Snorkeling. Be sure to add it to your Hawaii Vacation itinerary if you are visiting Oahu.

Hanauma Bay Oahu Hawaii


2003 Kaanapali, Hawaii  The four mile stretch of Kaanapali Beach has beautiful sand as well as a paved beach walk. The beach is lined with gorgeous resorts. Puu Kekaa, also known as Black Rock,  on the northern section of Kaanapali Beach, is a great place to snorkel.

2001 Poipu Beach, Hawaii  Poipu Beach has something for everyone. The west of Poipu Beach is “Baby Beach” a protected cove perfect for young children. There is also a location where older kids can snorkel and boogie board. You may see Green Sea Turtles in the surf or even an endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal napping on the beach.  Be sure to check out my post 5 Things to do in Poipu Kauai.

Things to do in Poipu Kauai

Poipu Beach


2000 Kaunaoa Beach, Hawaii

1999 Wailea Beach, Hawaii

1998 Kailua Beach Park, Hawaii

1997 Hulopoe, Hawaii

1996 Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii – Lanikai Beach means heavenly sea. It is known for soft white sand and aqua blue sea. The water is calm year round and is one of the few beaches on Oahu with no shore break waves. A great way to experience Lanikai Beach is by kayaking, stand up paddling and snorkeling.

1993 Hapuna, Hawaii – The stunning white sand of Hapuna Beach is just another example of the diversity and beauty of the Big Island.  This beautiful sandy beach offers  excellent snorkeling and can be a great boogie boarding location. 

1991 Kapalua Bay Beach, Hawaii – Kapalua Bay Beach is the first beach to win the top spot for the Dr. Beach Best Beaches in America list.  Kapalua Bay Beach is a shallow family beach that is safe for children. Kapalua Bay is a sheltered white sand beach on the north west side of Maui.  It is protected by two reefs making it a great location for Maui snorkeling!

Which Hawaii Beaches do you think belong on the Best Beaches list?

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About Elizabeth

Elizabeth has been blogging about the best Hawaii Activities for over 7 years. She loves sharing the Aloha Spirit.
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