Coronado named nation’s best beach of 2012

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For 22 years Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman (also called “Dr. Beach”) has taken on the strenuous task of combing America’s beaches to find one that deserves the annual title of “America’s Best Beach.”  There are probably millions of people willingly to instantly swap professions with Leatherman, but this beach expert does more than lay in the sand sipping on a Mai Tai.  He created a very specific brand of research that requires samples of the sand and water, which he uses for tests on water quality and to gauge the look and feel of the sand.

Overall, Leatherman surveys 50 different criteria including weather, the beach’s facilities, and crowds while incognito at each location.  He looks for places that are both safe for beach goers and have a high environmental quality to them.  The top score attainable is 250 and our lovely Coronado Beach shined above the rest with a score somewhere in the 230s.  Points were lost because according to “Dr. Beach,” the cool coastal waters of California allow for a short time playing in the waves at most.  This chilly opinion has definitely been a contributing factor in California beaches regularly being lower on the list than Hawaii and Florida beaches, which boast more favorable water temperatures.

Despite the slight ding in points Coronado made up for it in other categories.  One of which was the quality of the sand.  Thanks to a mineral called mica in the sand Coronado’s 1.5 mile beach is dazzling in the brilliant San Diego sun.  Billy Pavlacka (also know as “The Sandcastle Man”) told a reporter from CBS8, “If you look at the sand you can see it sparkling. People ask me all the time if it’s gold.”

With the help of its little flecks of “gold” Coronado Beach sparkles in the midst of its southern California surroundings.  The beach is lined with mansions and other fabulous buildings such as The Hotel Del Coronado.  The Hotel Del is a San Diego landmark famous for being featured in Some Like it Hot starring Marilyn Monroe and its trademark Victorian style capped off with rustic red peaked roofs.  Another helpful trait of Coronado Beach is that it’s peninsula, which places it just across the bay from San Diego, has postcard scenery and near-perfect weather.

Another beneficial characteristic is that Coronado Beach is also a relatively flat stretch of land.  This makes it perfect for skim-boarding, strolling along the sand, and bike riding around the picturesque town.  The city of Coronado also has a unique feel to it that has attracted both Navy officers and California’s wealthiest to populate this quaint yet swanky city.

The rest of the sandy slices of heaven that made the top ten were:

  • No. 2, Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • No. 3, Main Beach, East Hampton, N.Y.
  • No. 4, St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
  • No. 5, Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii
  • No. 6, Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Mass.
  • No. 7, Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii
  • No. 8, Cape Florida State Park near Miami.
  • No. 9, Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, S.C.
  • No. 10, Cape Hatteras in North Carolina.

With the honor of being named “America’s Best Beach” Coronado is likely to experience a boost in tourists.  The title normally brings with it an estimated 15-20% rise in visitors.  Now that it has achieved this coveted title Coronado Beach will be retired from the survey along with other previous winners, but it will continue to be enjoyed by locals and tourists as one of the best beaches out there.


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