by Lisa A. Grimaldi | May 25, 2018
Kapalua Bay Beach was named No. 1 in the 28th annual Top 10 Beach List produced by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, a professor at Florida International University. He cited the secluded, crescent-shaped beach lined by palm trees for the protection it offers from the oceanic waves, "making it a great place for snorkeling with a plethora of beautiful tropical fish, which are just offshore of the white coral sand."
 
Other beaches that made the 2018 Top 10 list are (in order following Kapalua Bay) Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks; Grayton Beach State Park in the Florida Panhandle; Coopers Beach, Southampton, N.Y.; Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Mass.; Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks, N.C.; Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin-Clearwater, Fla.; Hapuna on the Big Island; Coronado Beach, San Diego; and Kiawah Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, S.C.
 
Leatherman is a coastal scientist who has published 20 books and hundreds of scientific articles and reports about storm impacts, coastal erosion and ways to improve beach health and safety. He has selected the annual Top 10 Beaches since 1991; evaluations are based on 50 criteria, including water quality, sand quality, and safety and management, with bonus points awarded to beaches where smoking is prohibited.