HONOLULU — Cruising along the west side of Hawaii’s Big Island, the landscape is dominated by ancient volcanic flows and jagged shorelines. Then, you come to Hapuna Beach.
The contrast of black lava rock, white sand and blue water means you have arrived in paradise — at least that’s what “Dr. Beach” believes.
“It’s like an oasis,” said Stephen Leatherman, who has been ranking U.S. beaches on his annual list under the alias “Dr. Beach” for three decades and rates Hapuna Beach State Park the best beach in the United States in his just-released 2021 rankings of sandy shorelines.
The sand “looks super white there because of the black lava beside it,” Leatherman said. “I think the contrast makes you think, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’ve never seen sand so white in my life.’ ”
Dr. Beach’s top 10 U.S. beaches for 2021
Hapuna Beach State Park — Big Island of Hawaii
Coopers Beach — Southampton, New York
Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach — Outer Banks of North Carolina
St. George Island State Park — Florida panhandle
Old Lighthouse Beach — Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina
Duke Kahanamoku Beach — Oahu, Hawaii
Caladesi Island State Park — Dunedin, Florida
Coronado Beach — San Diego, California
Beachwalker Park — Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Coast Guard Beach — Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Leatherman, a coastal scientist and professor at Florida International University in North Miami, hopes his 30th annual list will encourage people to get out and leave the past year of pandemic struggles in the rearview mirror.
Visitors will have to bring their vaccination cards or pay to get tested for COVID-19 before coming to the islands, but, Leatherman said, “Hawaii is a really special place, and so I think it’s worth it.”
Kandi Miranda, who owns Manuela Malasada Company and runs a food truck near Hapuna Beach State Park, was born and raised on the Big Island. She was able to stay open for locals throughout the pandemic and is optimistic about the return of visitors.
Miranda said Hapuna Beach is a powerful place. “It’s unapologetically magical,” she said.
When the water is calm, it’s a great place to be, Miranda said. But when the ocean rises and big waves crash, she said, it can be “really dangerous. It’s beautiful, but there’s a very strong undertow there.”
Leatherman said that while Hapuna has a well trained group of lifeguards and is great for swimming and snorkeling on calm days, the winter swells can be deceiving.
Source : https://www.coastalnewstoday.com/post/hi-dr-beach-picks-hawaii-beach-as-best-in-united-states-never-seen-sand-so-white-in-my-life520