Maui and Oʻahu beaches make top 10 in 2022 list by “Dr. Beach”

Wailea Beach. PC: Wendy Osher

Two Hawaiʻi beaches made the 2022 Top 10 Beach List , produced by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, professor at Florida International University.

Topping the list was Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Oʻahu’s Duke Kahanamoku Beach, and Maui’s Wailea Beach, were ranked No. 5 and No. 8 respectively in the 2022 ranking.

Dr. Beach’s 2022 Top 10 Beach ranking. PC:


  1. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
  2. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
  3. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
  4. St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
  5. Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oʻahu, Hawaii
  6. Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina
  7. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
  8. Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaiʻi,
  9. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
  10. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

“Ocracoke is an idyllic island far off the North Carolina mainland with the pristine beach being part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore,” according to a press release announcement of the rankings. “Often called the pearl of the Outer Banks, the village of Ocracoke is characterized by delightful inns, the iconic 1823 lighthouse, legendary herd of once wild ponies and a serene British cemetery; it is also the destination of choice for pirate lovers, being the stomping grounds of Blackbeard.” 

Leatherman, who goes by the name “Dr. Beach,” has selected the annual Top 10 Beaches since 1991.  He uses 50 criteria to evaluate beaches, which include water and sand quality as well as safety and management.

Previous National Winners are retired and listed on his website.  Among the Hawaiʻi beaches that topped the list in the past are: Hapuna Beach State Park (2021); Kailua Beach Park (2019); Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui (2018); and Hanauma Bay, Oʻahu (2016).

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