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Summer travel: Best U.S. Beaches

Pack up your new swimming suit, sunscreen and sunnies! The annual list of top U.S. Beaches has been released as part of an annual survey conducted by “Dr. Beach,” also known as professor Stephen P. Leatherman of Florida International University.

This year, Coronado beach takes the number one spot with its near-perfect weather and postcard backdrop across the San Diego bay.

Coronado Beach “is popular for swimmers, surfers, sunbathers and beachcombers… [and] is very flat, making it great for skim boarding and walking, and the sand has a silvery sheen because of the presence of mica,” says Dr. Beach.

Dr. Beach has been ranking beaches in the United States based on their environmental quality and safety for swimmers for more than two decades. The ranking is based on a set of 50 criteria, including the look and feel of the sand, water quality, weather, facilities and crowds.

Here are the rest of the top 10 U.S. Beaches for 2012:

2.  Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii

3. Main Beach, East Hampton, N.Y.

4. St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle

5. Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii

6.  Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Mass.

7.  Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii

8. Cape Florida State Park near Miami.

9. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, S.C.

10. Cape Hatteras in North Carolina.

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