Maui News

Maui’s Hāmoa Beach Holds on to No. 4 Spot on Dr. Beach’s Top 10

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Hāmoa Beach. Photo credit: Kapena Kalama.

Hāmoa Beach. Photo credit: Kapena Kalama.

By Wendy Osher

Maui’s Hāmoa Beach in the remote east end of the island has once again claimed a spot on the top 10 Best Beaches in America list compiled by Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor at Florida International University.

Hāmoa is up a spot from No. 5 in 2014, and returns to its previous glory at No. 4 in the 2013 rankings. Hāmoa Beach also made an appearance on the national list in 2010 when it was ranked ninth.


Taking the top spot this year was Oʻahu’s Waimanalo Bay Beach Park that stretches five miles along the island’s northeast shore.  In his annual report, Dr. Beach says, “This sandy coral beach slopes gently into the turquoise oceanic waters.”

The 25th annual list was selected based on 50 criteria including views, safety, and access.

 Hāmoa Beach. Photo credit: Kapena Kalama

Hāmoa Beach. Photo credit: Kapena Kalama

According to the list guidelines, once a beach is named number one, it is excluded from further consideration in future lists in order to give other beaches an opportunity to enjoy the spotlight.


Other Maui County beaches that are former winners, and have since been retired from the rankings include: Wailea Beach; Fleming Park Beach; Kāʻanapali; Kapalua Bay Beach; and Hulopoʻe Beach on Lānaʻi.  Other beaches throughout the state that are former winners that have since been retired from the list include: Poʻipū Beach and Hanalei Bay Beach on Kauaʻi; Kaunaʻoa Beach on Hawaiʻi Island; and Duke Kahanamoku Beach (2014), Kailua Beach Park, Lanikai Beach, and Hanauma Bay on Oʻahu.

 Hāmoa Beach. Photo credit: Kapena Kalama

Hāmoa Beach. Photo credit: Kapena Kalama

The 2015 Top 10 list includes the following:

  1. Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, Oʻahu
  2. Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs, Florida
  3. St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
  4. Hāmoa Beach on Maui, Hawaiʻi
  5. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks of North Carolina
  6. Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, Florida
  7. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
  8. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carlolina
  9. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Naples, Florida
  10. East Beach, Santa Barbara, California

Dr. Leatherman notes that bonus points are awarded for the prohibition of smoking on beaches.  Maui recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of a bill that effectively banned the use of tobacco at county parks, beaches and recreational facilities in Maui County.


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