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Article orginally published by: in 5/25/2005

Having evaluated hundreds of sites across the country on dozens of criteria, the famous noted beach researcher Stephen Leatherman, also know as Dr. Beach,  released his 2015 annual report awaited by sunworshippers, travel publishers and chambers of commerce: His “Top 10” list of best beaches in the United States.

Topping the list was North Beach at Fort De Soto Park, located southwest of St. Petersburg, Fla. In fact, the state had three beaches on the list, tying with Hawaii for the most.

Top 10 best beaches US
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Stephen Leatherman, the Florida International University researcher who’s been issuing the reports since 1991, described North Beach as “a natural jewel on the finger of a sun-drenched city.”

“It’s a long, wide, sugar sand beach with great shelling and thriving natural dunes,” he said of the beach, located on an island in Tampa Bay.

Leatherman’s “Top 10” beaches, in order, are:

  1. Fort De Soto Park – North Beach. St Petersburg, Fla.
  2. Ocracoke Island. Outer Banks, N.C.
  3. Hanalei Bay. Kauai, Hawaii
  4. Caladesi Island State Park. Clearwater, Fla.
  5. Fleming Beach. Maui, Hawaii
  6. Coast Guard Beach. Cape Cod, Mass.
  7. Coronado Beach. San Diego, Calif.
  8. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Key Biscayne, Fla.
  9. Main Beach. East Hampton, N.Y.
  10. Hamoa Beach. Maui, Hawaii
  11. Criteria balance recreation, ecology

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