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. 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 five Hawaii beaches made the top ten list. In reverse order those beaches are:
8. 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.
Located in West Maui about 2 miles south of the historic whaling town of Lahaina, Kaanapali is one of Hawaii's most famous and populated beaches surrounded by numerous elegant resort hotels. 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. Ka'anapali is the beach for activities. You can snorkel in the crystal clear water, windsurf, jet-ski, parasail, or kayak.
Located at Kauai’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.
Located at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in the Kohala area of the Big Island of Hawaii, Kaunaoa Beach is far preferable to the nearby and much more crowded Hapuna Beach. The somewhat rough surf makes Kaunaoa a bodysurfer's and boogie boarder’s delight. There are no lifeguards on duty, although current water conditions (such as strong currents or high surf) are well-marked with signs and flags. An extra bonus is that the hotel’s proximity ensures the beach is well maintained, with the sand raked free of debris regularly and restrooms cleaner and of better quality than those you will find at most public beaches.
1. Wailea Beach
This year's number one beach in America is located in South Maui, behind the Grand Wailea and Four Seasons Resort(s), just to the south of the Wailea Shopping Village.Wailea Beach offers good swimming, snorkeling in calm waters, and bodysurfing on a shore break that is not as punishing as Wailea's other beaches. The long, wide, white sand beach has high sand dunes on the south end. The sandy bottom remains shallow inshore, and drops off slowly to deeper water. Dangerous conditions occur during large swells or kona storms.
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.