Cooper's Beach in Southampton. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Beach)

The coming Memorial Day weekend not only brings with it the return of beach season on Long Island, but also the results of Dr. Beach’s annual list ranking the nation’s top 10 beaches — with one Long Island oceanfront park again making the cut.

Cooper’s Beach in Southampton came in No. 4 for the second year in a row thanks to its pristine white sand, easy access, and beautiful vistas. The beach, which came in No. 1 in 2010, has slowly been inching back toward the top spot on the list, ranking No. 8 in 2016 and No. 5 in 2017.

“New York has world-class beaches, but I don’t think a lot of people in the United States know about them,” Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a coastal expert and professor at Florida International University who has produced the list for the past 29 years, told The Associated Press in 2010. “When most people think of a beach vacation destination, they go south. I kind of think the East End of Long Island is a well-kept secret for most Americans.”

Earning the title of America’s Best Beach for 2019 is Kailua Beach Park in Hawaii. Placing second was Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and third place went to Grayton Beach State Park in the Florida panhandle.

Related Story: The South Fork: Not Just A Playground For The Rich

Among the criteria used to evaluate beaches are water and sand quality as well
as safety and management. 

Rounding out the 2019 list was Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Oahu, Hawaii at No. 5,  Coast Guard Beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts at No. 6, Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida at No. 7, Hapuna Beach State Park on the Big Island of Hawaii at No. 8, Coronado Beach in San Diego, California at No. 9, and Beachwalker Park on Kiawah Island in South Carolina at No. 10.

Main Beach in East Hampton has also placed in Dr. Beach’s Top 10. That beach ranked No. 1 in 2013, No. 3 in 2012, No. 4 in 2011, No. 5 in 2010, and No. 6 in 2009.

Residents of the Village of Southampton can access Cooper’s Beach via a beach parking permit, but those without permits face a $250 fine. Non-residents can also visit by paying a $50 fee, but alcohol is banned, as are tents, bonfires, and overnight camping.

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