Each year, "Dr. Beach" -- also known as Stephen Leatherman, director of Florida International University's Laboratory for Coastal Research -- comes out with his picks for the top 10 beaches in the U.S.
He uses 50 criteria in selecting the best beaches -- including water and sand quality, facilities and environmental management. Here are the top five 2008 picks; to see the rest of the list and photos of each beach, go to latimes.com/2008beaches.
DR. BEACH'S TOP 5 U.S. BEACHES
1. Caladesi Island State Park Clearwater/Dunedin, Fla.
2. Hanalei Beach, KauaiHawaii
3. Siesta BeachSarasota, Fla.
4. Coopers BeachSouthampton, N.Y.
5. Coronado BeachSan Diego--