Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts August 2002
Short Cuts:Bathing Beauties
Trying to pick the country’s best beaches
can be quite a challenge, but Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a.k.a. Dr.
Beach (www.drbeach.org), has been on the job since 1991,
visiting and rating the sand and surf around the United States. The
good doctor, a professor of environmental studies at Florida
International University in Miami, cites the following as this
year’s top 10 beaches.
1.St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Port St. Joe,
2. Hanalei Beach, Hawaii
3. Kaanapali, Hawaii
4. Fort DeSoto Park, Fla.
5. Caladesi Island State Park, Fla.
6. Ocracoke Island, N.C.
7. Hamoa Beach, Hawaii
8. East Hampton Beach, N.Y.
9. Cape Florida SRA, Fla.
10. Hanauma Bay, Hawaii
In making his selection, Leatherman, who also serves as the
director of FIU’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, uses a
painstaking list of 50 criteria, including color of sand
(preferably pink or white), color of water (blue, not gray),
scarcity of pests (such as biting flies and mosquitoes), presence
of rip currents, overall smell (rotting fish and seaweed being a
big negative), size of waves, wind speeds and even the slope of
beach when it disappears beneath the water. Each category is
charted on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest
“It basically comes down to three S’s sun, sea and sand,” says
Leatherman, who this year started the Healthy Beaches Campaign to
encourage states to clean up their oceanfronts. “Most beaches can’t
make the top 10,” he adds. “So as cities around the country work
hard at cleaning up their beaches, this is an excellent way to give
them the recognition they deserve.”
• TERENCE BAKER
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