Hawaii Kauai's Hanalei Bay tops annual Dr. Beach list By Shane Nelson / May 29, 2009 Share 1 -- In his 19th annual ranking of the nation's Top 10 Beaches, Dr. Beach -- aka Steven P. Leatherman, director of Florida International University's laboratory for coastal research -- selected the beach at Hanalei Bay on Kauai as the country's best. "Hanalei Bay on the garden island of Kauai is my favorite getaway beach in Hawaii," said Leatherman. "The clear emerald waters are perfect for swimming during the tranquil summer months, but only swim at the lifeguarded areas when the surf picks up during the wintertime as powerful rip currents are sometimes present. The laid-back little village of Hanalei is a good place for refreshments and casual dining, but accommodations are scarce, so plan ahead." Leatherman has a doctorate in coastal science and more than 30 years of scientific experience. His beach opinions have been featured in a variety of popular national publications, including the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, National Geographic and People. Hamoa Beach on Maui took fifth place on 2009's list. Hawaii locations in general have fared very well over the years, including top-spot recognition for Fleming Beach Park, Hanauma Bay, Kaanapali Beach, Poipu Beach Park, Mauna Kea Beach and Wailea Beach in the last decade. Visit www.drbeach.org for the complete list of 2009's top 10.