If you ask me, there's no such thing as a bad beach, but there are certainly shades of awesome. And the most amazing beach of 2017 has been announced.
Dr. Beach, aka Florida International University professor Stephen P. Leatherman, has been ranking the country's best coastlines for decades and named his No. 1 pick for the season ... Siesta Beach in Sarasota, Florida!
The Best Beaches of 2017
1. Siesta Beach — Sarasota, Florida
2. Kapalua Bay Beach — Maui, Hawaii
3. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach — Outer Banks of North Carolina
4. Grayton Beach State Park — Florida panhandle
5. Coopers Beach — Southampton, New York
6. Coast Guard Beach — Cape Cod, Massachusetts
7. Caladesi Island State Park — Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
8. Hapuna Beach State Park — Big Island, Hawaii
9. Coronado Beach — San Diego, California
10. Beachwalker Park — Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Clear waters ideal for swimming, hundreds of yards perfect for volleyball, a free trolley for beachgoers and good maintenance all helped Siesta Beach earn the top spot this year. Oh, and don't forget about the sand, which is comprised of 99% pure crushed quartz.
“The sand is outstanding,” Leatherman said to the Associated Press. “Every time I go there, I’ve got to take a bag home with me. It’s almost sacrilegious to walk on it with shoes on.”
Siesta Beach is the only destination to earn top marks twice in the ranking's 26-year history — it was also No. 1 in 2011.
But Floridians aren't the only ones who can look to their backyards for some of the best beaches in the country — runner-up Kapulua Bay Beach in Hawaii will surround you in picturesque palm trees and is great for snorkeling; third-place Ocracoke in the Outer Banks is accessible only by a state ferry and was once an old haunt for Blackbeard.
Insta-worthy beaches in South Carolina, California, Massachusetts and even New York earned a spot on Dr. Beach's Top 10 list.
Rankings are based on 50 criteria such as water temperature, sand quality, environmental upkeep, crowds, safety and more. (Impressively scientific, since I'm from a landlocked state, so pretty much any beach is a good beach as long as it's not really just a lake.)
So if you're into beautifully blue waters and pristine sand without too many crowds, set your GPS for one of these road-trip-friendly places, and get your summer on!