This in itself is no small feat for Hawaii in that once a beach wins the top spot in the annual ranking it is "retired" and not eligible to win again. Previous Hawaii beaches which have been named America's Best Beach and are excluded from this year's survey are:
1991 Kapalua Bay Beach, Hawaii
1993 Hapuna, Hawaii
1996 Lanikai Beach, Hawaii
1997 Hulopoe, Hawaii
1998 Kailua Beach Park, Hawaii
1999 Wailea Beach, Hawaii
2000 Mauna Kea Beach, Hawaii
Using a Beach Rating Scale consisting of 50 criteria, Leatherman's annual picks have become recognized as the definitive word on America's best beaches.
All in all this year four Hawaii beaches made the top ten list. In reverse order those beaches are:
- 7. Hamoa Beach
Located in North Maui about 2.5 miles past Hana, surrounded by property owned by the Hotel Hana Maui, Hamoa Beach is about 1,000 feet long and about 100 feet wide with sea cliffs surrounding it. When the surf is up this beach is subject to very high waves.
- 4. Hanalei Beach
Located at Kauaʻi's North Shore, the bay is not safe for swimming, due to the rough waters and severe rip currents, but it is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches on a beautiful bay. This does not keep the surfers away who come to Hanalei to experience the long-lasting waves. The beach is ideal for walking and watching the sunset.
- 3. Kaʻanapali Beach
Located in West Maui about 2 miles south of the historic whaling town of Lahaina, Kaʻanapali is one of Hawaii's most famous and populated beaches, surrounded by numerous elegant resort hotels and condominiums.
The beach itself is almost three miles long. The beach is lifeguard protected, but it is important to watch your belongings and don't leave them unattended while you swim. Kaʻanapali is the beach for activities. You can snorkel in the crystal clear water, windsurf, jet-ski, parasail, or kayak.
- 1. Poʻipu Beach
This year's number one beach in America is located on the south shore of the Garden Isle of Kauaʻi.
As outlined by the Poʻipu Beach Resort Association, "This beach is a series of golden sand crescents, strung together where beach-goers will find snorkeling, swimming, wading and surfing. Palm trees dominate the coastline here with an expansive lawn at the park. The surf spots are slightly off-shore where a reef establishes perfect wave-breaks for beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers. Nearer to the shore, swimmers scan enjoy swimming in calm waters or snorkeling near a couple of interesting rocky points."
In a Reuters interview, Leatherman stated, "Kauaʻi is a perfect setting. They were really badly hurt by Hurricane Iniki but the beach is 90-95 percent back now. With that big a storm, it can take beaches up to 10 years to come back."
Congratulations to all of these great beaches in Hawaii and to the folks who keep them as wonderful as they are, including the eco-conscious tourist who honors and protects the natural beauty of Hawaii.
America's Best Beaches
by Stephen P. Leatherman
"Dr. Beach's" 112 page companion book details all of his choices for the best beaches in America indexed by region of the country.