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Thursday, May 21, 2015


Let us start with the best beaches in the USA, according to Dr. Beach:

  • 2015:  Waimanalo Bay (above), Hawaii
  • 2014:  Duke Kahanamoku Beach (below), Waikiki, Hawaii

During the 25-year period of best beaches, Hawaii earned 15 #1's, while Florida gained 7.  Once a beach made #1, it was retired.  However, Dr. Beach says that next year he will throw all the former #1's into the pot for year #26, which means that one of the first three #1's should prevail:  Kapalua, Bahia Honda SRA (above left, Florida) and Hapuna (below, Big Island, Hawaii).

Dr. Beach is Professor Stephen Parker Leatherman of Florida International University.  It is said that the visitor count jumps by up to 20% when a beach attains #1.  When Siesta Beach in 2011 won, the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that Dr. Beach's site was downloaded 425 million times that year.

The selections are made after a comprehensive analysis of 50 criteria.  You wonder when he will open up this competition to the world.

Which is a good way of indicating that Trip Advisor also has best beach lists, of the USA and World.  The ratings are determined by compiling reviews from their millions of respondents.  This past year, Siesta Beach (left) of Florida was #1, with #2 St. Pete Beach (Florida), #3 Kaanapali Beach (Lahaina, Hawaii), #4 Waianapanapa State Park (Hana, Hawaii) and #5 Pensacola Beach (Florida).  Kailua Beach Park, Hanauma Bay, Poipu Beach Park and Hanalei Beach are also on the list of 25.

#1 in the world is Baia do Sancho Fernando de Noronha (above, Brazil) and #2 is Grace Bay Providenciales (below, Turks and Caicos):

Conde Nast (Hawaii has three beaches in the top ten, picks El Nido Palawan in the Philippines as #1 (just below), but #2 (second photo), Blinky Beach Lorde Howe Island (Australia) certainly caught my attention:

U.S. News and World Report provides best beach locations, with Cayman Island as #1 and Kauai at #2.  National Geographic selected Seychelles (north of Madagascar and east of Somalia in the Indian Ocean) as #1, but only provided a photo for #2, Maldives (south of India in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea--a third of a million population, but go now, for sea level rise threatens to inundate its 26 atolls).

I have my favorite, from my posting of 28August2012:

(Vietnam) China Beach (picture 100 yards of beach extending for 19 miles, a distance from Waikiki to Pearl Harbor and back to Waikiki) along a five-star mega resort, with five more being built, including a J.W. Marriott and a Hyatt, plus a casino and two golf courses.  Another way to look at the length of China Beach is from Waikiki to Wahiawa.  This is the type of attraction Hawaii will need to compete against into the future.

Finally, I went there once and actually saw a green sand beach at Papakolea close to South Point.  This photo is courtesy of Big Island Hikes, for it was half a century ago when I made my visit:

Sand is normally silicate or carbonate, but this beach also has olivine, a green magnesium iron silicate.  Interestingly enough, you probably never saw olivine, but it is the most abundant mineral in the mantle of the Earth at shallower depths, and arrived here in a volcanic eruption.  Should you travel from Kona, drive towards South Point and signs will tell you how to get to Papakolea Green Sand Beach.    Here is a map on how to get there.  

I noticed disclaimers at some web sites, so, while they all say that the 5.3 mile roundtrip hike is non-threatening,  I overreact to these warnings, plus, there are no facilities here. 

Heck, if you go to Papakolea, you might as well also drop by two black sand beaches, the sand coming from volcanic basalt.  Going towards Hilo from South Point, pass Naalehu, then Pahala, a couple miles further north will be Punaluu, which has a large black sand beach:

There is also a black sand beach at Kahena, Pahoa, but the latest volcanic eruption has cut off the scenic route there.  You can approach from the Pahoa side further towards Hilo from Volcanoes National Park.

I never did quite say which is the best beach in the world.  You can decide, for you have your personal criteria for bestness.


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