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  • The 16 Best Beaches In America

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  • Business Insider
    Hapuna bay big island hawaii
    The U.S. has 95,471 miles of shoreline, some parts more pristine than others.
    Because nothing quite says "summer" like sand between your toes, salty air, and the lullaby of waves crashing on shore, we set out to find the best beaches in the U.S.
    For this list, we looked at six notable beach rankings compiled by travel experts, vacationers, and water quality researchers and combined these rankings to come up with the ultimate list of the Best Beaches in the U.S.
    The rankings we used were Dr. Beach's Top 10 Beaches for 2014, Trip Advisor's 2014 Travelers' Choice Awards Top 25 Beaches in the United States, Travel + Leisure's Best Beaches on Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council's Superstar Beaches, CNN's World's 100 Best Beaches, and Condé Nast Traveler's Best U.S. Islands for Beaches.16. Beachwalker Park – Kiawah Island, South Carolina (TIE)
    Roughly 20 miles from downtown Charleston, Kiawah Island's 10 miles of beaches are set among perfectly preserved maritime forests, sand dunes, and marshes. Beachwalker Park, mentioned among Condé Nast's Best U.S. Islands for Beaches list, is the island's only stretch of sand with public parking, lifeguards, and restrooms.
    kiawah island beachwalker state park south carolina seashell shell
    Source: Flickr/Bill Sutton
    16. Barefoot Beach Preserve – Bonita Springs, Florida (TIE)
    Dr. Beach named Barefoot Beach No. 2 on his list of Top 10 Beaches for 2014. The pristine setting provides up-close access to tons of animal species, including sea turtles who nest in the sand dunes during the summer months.
    barefoot beach bonita springs florida
    Source: Flickr/chrisgriffith
    Page 2 of 5 - 15. Cape Hatteras – Outer Banks, North Carolina (TIE)
    Dr. Beach's fourth favorite beach, Cape Hatteras, made the Natural Resources Defense Council's "superstar list" for its crystal clear, unpolluted waters. The historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on site has 257 steps leading to panoramic views.
    cape hatteras outer banks lighthouse north carolina
    Source: Flickr/thebetancourts
    15. Duke Kahanamoku Beach – Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii (TIE)
    Kahanamoku Beach was only named to one list we looked at, but it certainly made a splash — taking the top spot on Dr. Beach's list in 2014. Located at the west end of Waikiki Beach, far from large crowds, it is the widest beach on this stretch of sand and is protected by an offshore coral reef. Bathers and swimmers flock to the nearby lagoon for quiet R&R.
    Duke Kanhanamoku Beach lagoon hawaii
    Source: Flickr/anneh632
    15. Fort De Soto Park, North Beach – St. Petersburg, Florida (TIE)
    The 2005 winner of Dr. Beach's Top 10 Beaches list, Fort De Soto Park's natural beauty can be enjoyed while laying out on the white sand beach, kayaking on the water's edge, or exploring the park's seven miles of paved trails.
    Fort De Soto Park
    Source: Flickr/pinellascounty
    14. Caladesi Island State Park – Dunedin and Clearwater, Florida
    Ranked No. 11 on Trip Advisor's 2014 Travelers' Choice Awards Top 25 Beaches, Caladesi is one of a handful of natural islands along Florida's Gulf Coast. Accessible by boat or ferry, the island provides optimum fishing, picnicking, shelling, and nature studies among mangrove trees.
    Caladesi Island dunedin florida clearwater
    Source: Flickr/jonathanw100
    13. Hanauma Bay – Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
    With hat tips from Dr. Beach and TripAdvisor, Hanauma Bay is Hawaii's premier snorkeling destination. Long ago, a volcanic crater was flooded by wave erosion, creating a delicate ecosystem that is home to more than 400 species of fish and other marine life.
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    Source: Flickr/benfff65
    12. Coquina Beach – Anna Maria Island, Florida (TIE)
    The Australian pine-shaded Coquina Beach spans 96 acres along the Gulf of Mexico, earning it top honors from Condé Nast and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Footpaths and boardwalks wind through tidal lagoons and mangroves.
    coquina beach anna maria island
    Source: Flickr/Valrico Runner
    12. Bowman's Beach – Sanibel Island, Florida (TIE)
    Sanibel Island was named among Condé Nast's Best U.S. Islands for Beaches, thanks to its crown jewel: Bowman's Beach. A solid 10-minute walk from the parking lot through woods and dunes, the white sand beach bills itself as one of the best shelling locations in the world.
    Bowman's Beach florida
    Source: Flickr/glenbowman
    11. Venice Beach – Los Angeles, California
    A two-mile stretch of boardwalk, man-made canals, and bohemian atmosphere combine to create a surfer's quirky paradise. Venice Beach came in second place for people-watching in Travel + Leisure's survey of best beaches on Earth.
    venice beach california
    Source: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni
    10. Siesta Key Beach – Siesta Key, Florida
    The sands at Dr. Beach's 2011 winner are comprised of 99% pure quartz, which stays cool even on a hot summer day. Siesta Beach boasts shallow water near the shoreline, year-round lifeguard protection, and "Blue Wave" certification by the Clean Beaches Council.
    siesta key beach florida
    Source: Flickr/joeruny
    9. Ka'anapali – Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
    Ka'anapali Beach — home to Hawaii's first planned resort — was ranked the second best beach in America by TripAdvisor users. Every evening, a cliff diver ceremoniously leaps off Black Rock, to commemorate the feat performed by Maui's revered King Kahekili.
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    Source: Flickr/brianlauer
    8. Assateague Beach – Assateague Island, Virginia
    With shout-outs from TripAdvisor and the Natural Resources Defense Council, Assateague Beach was ranked No. 3 for wildlife viewing in Travel + Leisure's survey. The barrier islands are famous for their wild horses.
    Assateague Beach horses
    Source: Flickr/chipsofasia
    7. Lanikai Beach – Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
    Lanikai means "heavenly sea" in the Hawaiian language. It's easy to see why this beach is named so, with its warm turquoise waters and view of the famous Mokulua Islands. This year, Lanikai beach claimed the top spot on TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards Best Beaches in the U.S.
    Lanikai Beach Hawaii
    Source: Flickr/karen_chan
    6. Poipu Beach – Po'ipu, Kaui, Hawaii
    It's not uncommon during a day at Poipu Beach to spot a humpback whale peek above waters, large honu sea turtles and the state fish — the humumunukunukuapuaa — swim past snorkelers, and the endangered Hawaiian monk seals sunbathe on shore.
    poipu beach kaui
    Source: Flickr/tiposcharsky
    5. Wai'anapanapa State Park – Hana, Maui, Hawaii
    TripAdvisor-approved Wai'anapanapa State Park is home to Black Sand Beach, ranked best beach for dramatic landscapes by Travel + Leisure. The quarter-mile stretch of chalkboard-black sands was created by a lava flow several hundred years ago.
    Wai'anapanapa black sand beach maui hawaii
    Source: Flickr/pedrosc
    4. Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area – Waimea, The Big Island, Hawaii
    Hapuna Beach lands on Travel + Leisure, Natural Resources Defense Council, and past Dr. Beach's lists for its optimal swimming during calm seas and bodysurfing during periods of shore breaks. Careful though: waves over  3-feet high and rip currents are common.
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    Source: Flickr/patrick-smith-photography
    3. Trunk Bay – St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
    Trunk Bay was donated to the National Park Service almost 50 years ago by a third-generation member of the Rockefeller family, and features an underwater snorkel trail and colonial ruins to discover. It received recognition from Travel + Leisure, CNN, and Condé Nast Traveler.
    trunk bay st john
    Source: Flickr/fhmira
    2. Wailea Beach – Kihei, Maui, Hawaii
    With nods from Dr. Beach, TripAdvisor, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and CNN, Wailea Beach is consistently ranked a top 10 beach in the world. It's an oasis of privacy, serenity, and beauty, located on a beach spread that is three times the size of Waikiki.
    waimea beach hawaii
    Source: Flickr/belindah
    1. Hanalei Bay Beach – Kaui, Hawaii
    The best beach in the country is Hanalei Bay, scoring hat tips from Dr. Beach, TripAdvisor, CNN, and Condé Nast Traveler. Set against a breathtaking mountain backdrop, this half-moon-shaped bay is a second home to world champion surfers and athletes — although beach bums will appreciate the sand-bottom waters, too. It's a must-see paradise for any ocean lover.
    Hanalei Bay Beach
    Source: Flickr/korymatthew
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