Maui News

Kapalua Earns Top Spot on Dr Beach 2018 List

May 25, 2018, 7:20 AM HST
* Updated May 25, 7:22 AM
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Kapalua Bay. PC: File by Kiaora Bohlool.

Maui’s Kapalua Bay Beach earned the number one spot on Dr. Beach’s 2018 list of the best beaches in America.

The survey, now in its 28th year, is compiled by coastal expert, Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor at Florida International University.

Winners are selected based on 50 criteria including water and sand quality, as well as safety and management.  Once a beach earns the top designation, it is retired from the list for future selection.

Kapalua Bay is located on Maui’s West shoreline and is characterized by a crescent-shaped bay bounded by rocky anchors.  The site is easily accessible and located near restaurants, restrooms and other amenities nearby. The only problem identified in the report was the limited parking.

The only other Hawaiʻi location that made the list this year was Hāpuna Beach State Park on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, which earned the number eight spot on the top 10 list.


1. Kapalua Bay Beach: Maui, Hawaiʻi
2. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach: Outer Banks of North Carolina
3. Grayton Beach State Park: Florida panhandle
4. Coopers Beach: Southampton, New York
5. Coast Guard Beach: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
6. Lighthouse Beach, Buxton: Outer Banks of North Carolina
7. Caladesi Island State Park: Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
8. Hapuna Beach State Park: Big Island, Hawaiʻi
9. Coronado Beach: San Diego, California
10. Beachwalker Park: Kiawah Island, South Carolina

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