Must-see beaches for 2014

June 20, 2014 |

Families planning vacation getaways to destinations in the U.S. and throughout the world may want to consider heading to the one of the top-ranked beaches.

Stephen Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach, compiled a list of the top beaches in the U.S. using 50 criterion including water temperature, unsightly obstructions, number of sunny days and beach slope to determine the United States’ most worthy strips of sand for enjoying the water and going for a dip.

In addition to swimming, several of the beaches that topped the list this year are great spots for fishing, body surfing and historic structures.

Top U.S. beaches

  1. Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Oahu, Hawaii, took the top spot for 2014. There is a shallow offshore reef to help protect the beach from massive waves, making it a great place to visit for families.
  2. Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park in Bonita Springs, Florida, came in at No. 2 after rising from the No. 6 spot in 2013. This 342-acre park features 1.5 miles of beach and is located between Fort Myers and Naples on the Gulf Coast. The shallow waves and abundance of seashells make it enjoyable for families.
  3. St. George Island State Park in Florida has a number of opportunities for bird watching, fishing, seashell hunting and sunbathing.
  4. Waimanalo Bay State Park in Oahu, Hawaii is approximately 15 miles from Honolulu and is 4 miles long. It has clear waters, shallow waves, has outdoor showers and lifeguards.
  5. Head to Hamoa Beach in Maui, Hawaii, for a breathtaking view of the area and to play in the coral and lava sand.
  6. Outer Banks, North Carolina, is home to Cape Hatteras. On the barrier island you’ll find lighthouses, fishing villages and some of the best board surfing spots on the East Coast.
  7. Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne, Florida, has white coral sand and a large sand shoal offshore to protect it from big waves.
  8. Although the water at Coast Guard Beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is a little cold, it’s still a great beach. You can take in amazing views at the old Coast Guard station on the Cape Cod National Seashore or spend the day in the coarse-sand beach.
  9. Beachwalker Park in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, is just south of Charleston. The No. 9 beach has ocean and river views and is where must of the region’s seafood is caught.
  10. Delnor-Wigging Pass State Park in Naples, Florida, has white sand, sand dunes, shaded picnic areas and an observation tower.

The world’s best beaches
If you’re thinking about going on an international vacation, try visiting one the world’s best beaches.

  • Australia’s Byron Bay has several beaches including Main Beach, Clarkes Beach and The Pass. All are desirable spots for swimming, surfing, snorkeling and playing in the sand with children. Some of the beaches have lifeguards, making it a safer spot.
  • Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand forms a natural barrier protecting the Hauraki Gulf from the ocean. Hot Water Beach’s low tide provides visitors with a chance to check out underground mineral water reservoirs as they bubble up from the ground.
  • Ses Salines in Ibiza, Spain, features crystal clear water, a pale sand beach and is popular for body surfing, catamaran rentals and diving.
  • Visit Prince Edward Island in Canada and stop by Cavendish Beach. The water is warm during the summer and visitors can go canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, seal watching, parasailing and snorkeling.
  • Catch a beautiful sunset in Salvador, Brazil’s, Porto da Barra beach or take in a game of volleyball in the sand. This picturesque beach is popular among surfers and fishermen.