This is the best beach in America

Hanauma Bay on the island of Oahu, in Hawaii.
Image: Getty Images

Every year, coastal science professor Stephen Leatherman also known as “Dr. Beach” ranks the best beaches in the U.S.

At the top of the list for 2016: Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay, on Oahu.

Leatherman, who is a professor and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University, uses 50 criteria to rank the quality of public beaches.

Hanauma is a marine embayment formed within a tuff ring and located along the southeast coast of the Island of Oahu (just east of Honolulu) in the Hawaiian Islands.

Image: Getty Images/Gallo Images

That includes everything from sand and water quality to environmental management and available amenities, and Leatherman has now added smoking bans to the criteria.

Hanauma Bay, one of the most popular tourist destinations on Oahu, took the top spot. In the past, the beach has struggled with influxes of tourists.

Image: Getty Images/AWL Images RM

Hanauma Bay became a marine life conservation area and underwater park in 1967. In 1990, local officials formulated a plan to better protect the area. All first-time visitors who come to the popular snorkeling spot are required to watch an informational video that teaches them about preservation and conservation, as well as the safety rules for the bay. It’s against the law to mistreat any marine life in the bay, and visitors are not allowed to touch or walk on the coral reefs.

Besides Hawaii, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, California and New York were represented on the list.

The complete list of top beaches:

  • Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

  • Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Florida

  • Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui

  • Ocracoke on North Carolina’s Outer Banks

  • Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

  • Florida’s Grayton Beach State Park

  • San Diego’s Coronado Beach

  • Coopers Beach in Southampton, New York

  • Florida’s Caladesi Island State Park

  • Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

A Hula dancer onHanauma Bay, at sunset.

Image: Getty Images/Perspectives

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

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Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/05/26/best-beaches-2016/