KAILUA, Hawaii (AP) - In Kailua, the sand is soft and white, the water is clear and calm, and the view is exactly what you would expect from a beach in the Hawaiian Islands.
Those are among the reasons Oahu's Kailua Beach Park has been selected as the best stretch of sand for an annual list of top U.S. beaches.
Stephen Leatherman, a coastal scientist and professor at Florida International University, has been drafting the list under the alias "Dr. Beach" since 1991.
Leatherman uses 50 criteria to evaluate beaches, with the most important categories being water cleanliness, safety and management of the beach environment and its facilities.
Leatherman uses data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to grade the beaches on water quality and has been to all the beaches on his list.
For 2019, two Florida beaches made the list: Grayton Beach State Park in the panhandle was ranked #3, and Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin came in at #7.
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