Consumer Focus

Attention Beach Lovers

Itís certainly beach season and with travel dollars stretched by gas and food prices, if youíre headed out there you should do some research to make your trip to the beach all it can be. Each spring Dr. Stephan Leatherman, noted author and professor of environmental studies at Florida International University releases his list of the yearís top ten beaches. Letís take a look at a few of these locations.

Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Coming in at number ten is Beachwalker Park located on Kiawah Island, a development in South Carolina that was built with the concept a “walk to everything” ensures that everything it has to offer is easily accessible. The water park offers 450 feet of swimming area, sandy beaches and amenities including outdoor showers, dressing rooms, a boardwalk, restrooms, snack bar and picnic area. Lifeguards are on duty as the season requires.

Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Ranked number seven on the 2008 list, Hamoa Beach is located just outside Hana on the island of Maui. Hamoa Beach and offers lush vegetation and a bay surrounded by sea cliffs. The beach does not offer lifeguards or near-by parking facilities (the beach is generally not crowded so street parking is easy to come by). Hamoa Beach is open to snorkeling, swimming, body surfing and diving. There are not any fringing reefs to offer protection so the big surf at this beach is extremely dangerous at times. The safest times to swim will be in the summer and early fall.

Coronado Beach, San Diego, California

Located on the ocean side of Coronado island, just across from San Diego, Coronado Beach is holding the number five spot in the listing of Best Beaches 2008. Coronado Beach is popular with locals and tourists alike offering everything from swimming, surfing, and sailing to kite flying, beach volleyball and napping on the shore. In the early fall you may also to be able to watch migrating whales!  The beach areas have fire rings (for picnics), restrooms, showers and lifeguards. Parking is free along Ocean Blvd. however during the summer get there early to beat the crowds.

Caladesi Island, FL

Caladesi Island in Florida has the honor of being ranked the #1 beach in America 2008.  The island is accessible only by boat or ferry.  Caladesi Island is natural beach not groomed by any machinery so you may find more seaweed than at other groomed beaches.

The island offers kayaking, fishing, snorkeling and hiking.  There is a lifeguard on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Caladesi Island also offered beach wheelchairs, making the beach more accessible to the physically challenged.