Main Beach in East Hampton Rated 3rd in US

Main Beach in East Hampton was named the third best beach in America behind Kahanamoku Beach in Hawaii and Coronado Beach in San Diego.

The rankings were announced Friday by “Dr. Beach,” professor Stephen P. Leatherman of Florida International University. Main Beach moved up from 4th place last year and 5th place in 2010.

“Main Beach is a great place for star-spotting, since many actors and actresses frequently visit this beach for its idyllic setting in a small village,” he wrote of its lure. “Wealthy summertime residents flock here to the beaches protected by a conservation easement, dating back over 300 years.”

The only downsides to this gorgeous beach are the exclusivity and parking. Non-resident beach permits are already sold out for 2012.

And even those who manage to get a parking permit, popularity and summer crowds make good parking scarce. Dr. Beach recommends riding a bicycle to Main Beach to avoid that problem.

Rounding out the top 10 this year were 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.

Coopers Beach in Southampton topped the list in 2010, but failed to crack the top 10 for the past two years.

Main Beach plays host to a lifeguard tournament every summer, as well as an Ocean Awareness Program offered by lifeguards for the public. It also hosts a fireworks show every year on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, sponsored by the East Hampton Fire Department.

-With Associated Press