A couple enjoys the sun and sand on the Coronado Beach last month in Coronado, Calif. | Lenny Ignelzi~ap
Updated: July 6, 2012 9:06AM
CORONADO, Calif. — Like a Hollywood star, Coronado’s 1.5 mile-long beach literally sparkles, thanks to the mineral mica glinting in its sand.
That’s one of the reasons why Coronado — flanked by the iconic hotel featured in Marilyn Monroe’s 1958 film “Some Like It Hot” — has been named the No. 1 beach in the United States in the 2012 survey by “Dr. Beach” professor Stephen P. Leatherman of Florida International University.
It is the first time “Dr. Beach” has given the top slot to California in the more than two decades that he has been ranking beaches in the United States based on their environmental quality and safety for swimmers.
Coronado Beach, on a peninsula across the bay from San Diego, has near-perfect Mediterranean weather and a postcard backdrop.
“I think it’s one of the most super beaches around,” said Leatherman, director of FIU’s Laboratory for Coastal Research.
Rounding out the top 10 this year 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. and No. 10, Cape Hatteras in North Carolina.
Leatherman ranks beaches on 50 criteria, including the look and feel of the sand, water quality, weather, facilities and crowds. Leatherman said Coronado is great for skim boarding (gliding on the water with a small, finless surfboard) and walking. The wide, flat beach is lined by majestic mansions and the Hotel del Coronado. Known as “Hotel Del,” the National Historic Landmark with its peaked red roof was built in 1888 and is the last of California’s Victorian seaside resorts. AP