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What are the top beaches in the United States? Hawaii, Florida, California, South Carolina

The director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research has unveiled his list of the best beaches in the United States for those planning a trip this summer.

The director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research has unveiled his list of the best beaches in the United States for those planning a trip this summer.

After the lockdown rules and covid-19 restrictions of summer 2020, this year things are looking a bit more optimistic with millions of Americans choosing to head to the coast to soak up the sun.

Anyone unsure of where to go for the ultimate seaside experience should look no further than Dr Stephen Leatherman’s top ten beaches. For each of the last 30 years Leatherman, also known as 'Dr Beach', has compiled a list of the best beaches in the United States.

He is director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University and considers 50 all-important criteria, such as sand softness, water temperature, number of sunny days and size of breaking waves, when deciding where makes the cut.

Here’s his list for 2021:

1. Hapuna Beach State Park, Hawaii

2. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York

3. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks, North Carolina

4. St. George Island State Park, Franklin County, Florida

5. Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, North Carolina

6. Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

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

8. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California

9. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

10. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

What makes Hapuna Beach the best beach in the country?

Hapuna Beach State Park replaces the 2020 winner, Florida’s Grayton Beach State Park. At the top of Leatherman’s list for 2021, but it is far from the first time that the pristine shore has grabbed attention.

Lonely Planet have praised its “magnificent half-mile sweep of white powder sand and fabulously clear waters,” also noting that its unique situation allows for swimming, snorkelling and diving in summer, as well as bodyboarding during the winter months.

Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, told CNN: "We're honoured Hapuna Beach on Hawaii Island has been recognized on 'Dr Beach's Best Beach in 2021' renowned list, as it's a favourite of residents and visitors alike.”

Hawaiian authorities have been particularly careful to protect the iconic beachfronts which draw so many tourists to island. The island does not allow the sale of any sunscreens containing either oxybenzone or octinoxate, which are known to cause harm to ocean and marine life.

In his explanation of the decision to award Hapuna Beach the top award, Leatherman also noted the ban on smoking at Hawaii’s beaches and the praise-worthy safety record. He said: "I've got to give those bonus points to the states that do the right thing.”