This year, Coronado Beach in San Diego, CA was named America’s best beach by Dr. Beach (Dr. Stephen P Leatherman). His listing of the Nation’s top 10 beaches prompts countless press releases from States, Communities and even local hotels looking to capitalize on the great news.

What Makes a Great Beach Park?

The top beaches list also sends a few parks and recreation administrators back to the drawing board as they struggle to compete for priceless tourism dollars. This is especially true for beaches that have previously made the list but have dropped from consideration in the following years.

Beach Criteria

There are 50 beach criteria used for making the top 10 list. Approximately 40% of the criteria are beyond the control of parks and recreation managers as they are directly related to the geology and environment of the beach location. For example, the type of sand, water temperature or the size of breaking waves cannot be controlled by park administrators.

On the other hand, the remaining criteria can to a varying degree be controlled, monitored or improved upon by State and local parks and recreation asset managers. Some of these other criteria include:

  • Water conditions based upon human interaction such as garbage, sewage, oil spills etc.
  • Beach surroundings such as wildlife, vegetation, developments, sand dunes, noise, beach use etc.
  • Grounds keeping and park maintenance for promenades, piers, showers, chairs, lifeguard stations, beach access, rotting fish smells, litter, trash and so on.

CMMS Beach Maintenance is Key

You can see from the list above that a significant portion of beach quality is based upon good park maintenance management. Families, couples and individuals want to go to a beach that is clean, has facilities in good working order, is safe and doesn’t smell like a fish factory.

Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) software can help accomplish this with a number of organizational and proactive tools that even on a strict budget can improve controllable beach conditions. One example is the use of inspections for park assets which can be scheduled every day identifying which equipment needs to be scheduled for maintenance, repair or replacement.

In addition, the rounds feature of a CMMS system can be set up to monitor various beach assets such as garbage accumulation or check on the condition of assets such as restrooms, showers, promenades etc. By discovering problems early on with inspections and rounds, park maintenance managers can help ensure a good guest experience as well as have a better quality rating for next year’s top 10 beaches list.

The Top 10 Beaches List for 2012

So where are the best beaches? They are here:

Hawaiian Vacation Sunset Concept, Two Beach Chairs at Sunset
  1. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California: A 1.5 mile flat beach with fine sands, plenty of guest amenities and a great backdrop.
  2. Kahanamoku Beach Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii: An almost enclosed beach protected from ocean waves by a shallow offshore reef (see photo).
  3. Main Beach, East Hampton New York: A big, wide sandy beach made of quartz has towering sand dunes and beautiful clean and clear blue water.
  4. St. George Island State Park Florida panhandle: Features the brilliant white sands and clear waters of St. George Island.
  5. Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii: This crescent beach, which is a mixture of coral and lava sand and actually inside a breached volcanic crater.
  6. Coast Guard Beach Cape Cod, Massachusetts: A beautiful and clean beach (but cold water) in a picturesque setting.
  7. Waimanalo Bay Beach Park Oahu, Hawaii: Lots of amenities and few big waves or dangerous currents highlight the local’s beach favorite.
  8. Cape Florida State Park Key Biscayne, Florida: Clear, emerald-colored waters and gentle surf washing ashore a fine, white coral sanded beach
  9. Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina: A nature lovers beach with clean water and lots of fauna.
  10. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks of North Carolina: Part of a barrier island, the view and local villages add to its attraction.

For more detail on the Top 10 Beaches visit Dr. Beach. What is your favorite beach? Why?