Just in time for Memorial Day and the kick off to summer comes news that the best beach in America is Siesta Beach on the Gulf Coast of Florida, thanks to its soft white sand of crushed quartz. That is according to one “Dr. Beach.” Sorry, you say—Dr. Beach?
The Associated Press reports on the announcement from, you heard that right, Dr. Beach:
It was selected this year as the best beach in America by a professor who’s made a career ranking and studying beaches around the United States.
“The sand is outstanding,” said Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, a professor at Miami’s Florida International University. “Every time I go there, I’ve got to take a bag home with me. It’s almost sacrilegious to walk on it with shoes on.”
I’m sure Siesta Beach is beautiful, but let’s go back to Dr. Beach. How are you just going to breeze right past the existence of “Dr. Beach,” whose home is apparently full of vacation sand? What are his credentials? Did he attend an accredited institution of higher beachery? Perhaps the Baywatch School of Medicine?
Fortunately, Dr. Beach has a personal website, which answers all these questions:
Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman is Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental (Coastal) Sciences from the University of Virginia, and completed his undergraduate degree in Geosciences at North Carolina State University....
Stephen has authored or edited 16 books, including Sea Level Rise: Causes and Consequences; Barrier Island Handbook; Overwash Processes; Cape Cod: From Glaciers to Beaches; and America’s Best Beaches. He has also authored over 200 journal articles and technical reports, including articles in both Science and Nature.
Stephen has provided expert testimony multiple times for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
The site helpfully provides Dr. Beach’s exhaustive criteria for evaluating beaches, ranging from rip current to smell to noise to “turbidity.” The good doctor himself also explains that, “My love of sand began as a child,” and, “I had the biggest backyard sand box in Charlotte, North Carolina. I loved it.”
You know what, I am satisfied with the credentials of Dr. Beach. Please enjoy his full list of America’s top ten beaches for 2017.