America's Best Beaches For Swimmers And Everyone

America’s Best Beaches For Swimmers And Everyone

Where are some absolutely wonderful places to swim?

Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, Director
of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, better known as Dr. Beach, announced his 20th annual Top 10 Beaches in America.

The 2010 list was topped by Coopers Beach which was ranked #3 in 2009 and #4 in 2008 and finally overtook some great competition this year:

1. Coopers Beach, Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
2. Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Florida
3. Coronado Beach, Coronado, California
4. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks, North Carolina
5. Main Beach, East Hampton, New York
6. Kahanamoku Beach, Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii
7. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
8. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
9. Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii
10. Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, Florida

When an open water swimmers heads down to the shore, they inevitably and immediately scan the seascape and horizon for a variety of conditions: water, wind, waves, sand, etc. Dr. Beach does the same, objectively judging the beaches on a comprehensive set of criteria, although his list traditionally favors warm-water beaches (at least during the summer months).

The criteria includes beach width at low tide, composition of the beach material, beach condition or variation, sand softness, water temperature, air temperature at midday, number of sunny days, amount of rain, wind speeds, size of breaking waves, number of waves/width of breaker zone, beach slope (underwater), longshore current, rip currents, color of sand, tidal range, beach shape, bathing area bottom conditions, turbidity, water color, floating/suspended human material (sewage, scum), algae in water amount, red tide, smell (e.g., seaweed, rotting fish), wildlife (e.g., shore birds), pests (biting flies, ticks, mosquitoes), presence of sewarage/runoff outfall, seaweed/jellyfish on the beach, trash and litter (paper, plastics, nets, ropes, planks), oil and tar balls, glass and rubble, views and vistas, buildings/urbanism, access, misfits (nuclear power station, offshore dumping), vegetation (nearby), well-kept grounds/promenades or natural environment, amenities (showers, chairs, bars, etc.), lifeguards, safety record (deaths), domestic animals (e.g., dogs), noise (cars, nearby highways, trains), noise (e.g., crowds, radios), presence of seawalls, riprap, concrete/rubble, intensity of beach use, off-road vehicles, floatables in water (garbage, toilet paper), public safety (e.g., pickpockets, crime), competition for free use of beach (e.g., fishermen, boaters, water-skiers)

Check out these beaches and confirm Dr. Beach’s ranking.

The open water swimming community knows what it has. But Dr. Beach gets good press attention by explaining what we already know, “Beaches are the number one recreational destination for Americans. These sandy playgrounds that line our coasts are the most extensive natural parks in the country. Nothing restores the body and soul like a stay at the beach.”

Photo by Joanne DiBona, courtesy of San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones