NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A recent survey asked families which hidden beaches they want to visit most this summer, and more than a dozen states made the list, including Iowa.
Familydestinationguide.com surveyed 3,000 adults in the United States across ages, genders, and geography. It’s no surprise that a Hawaii beach took the top spot – as well as two other spots in the top 10.
Florida and California, with their massive coastlines, were also well represented.
Further down the list, inland states were even recognized for their hidden spots. Oklahoma, Iowa, Vermont and Tennessee aren’t exactly known as beach destinations, but – according to survey respondents – all have idyllic lakeside beaches worth a visit.
The top 25 “secret beaches,” according to the poll, are:
- Hawaii – Awahua Beach
- Florida – Shell Key Preserve
- Hawaii – Lanikai Beach
- Hawaii – Kauapea Beach
- New Jersey – Sedge Island
- Florida – Lovers Key State Park
- California – Salt Creek Beach
- California – Wildcat Beach
- Florida – Dry Tortugas National Park
- Florida – Boneyard Beach
- Hawaii – Gray’s Beach
- California – Hollywood Beach
- Florida – Navarre Beach
- Hawaii – Pa’ako Cove
- Virginia – Sandbridge Beach
- Texas – San Jose Island
- Florida – Crescent Beach
- South Carolina – Kiawah Island
- New York – Amsterdam Beach Preserve
- Alaska – Lowell Point Beach
- California – Enderts Beach
- California – Bowling Ball Beach
- Florida – Caladesi Island
- Georgia – Driftwood Beach
- California – Gray Whale Cove Beach
The survey resulted in a full list of 100 “secret” beaches. (You can read more here.)
For Iowa, the most hidden beach, according to the survey, is Rathbun Lake in Appanoose County. The 11,000-acre lake has four campgrounds with more than 700 campsites available for activities like camping, fishing, hiking, and more.
The survey results come around the same time as the university professor known as “Dr. Beach” revealed his list of 2023 favorites. This year’s top 10 list marks the 33rd year Stephen Leatherman, professor in the Department of Earth & Environment at Florida International University, has rated the best of America’s 650 public beaches.
A 9-mile stretch of Florida sugar-white sand on St. George Island is the nation’s best beach for 2023, according to the annual ranking.
Leatherman uses 50 criteria to evaluate beaches including sand type, wave action, whether lifeguards are present, presence of wildlife, the level of development and crowding, and many other factors. Extra credit is given to beaches that forbid cigarette smoking, mainly because of the need to prevent discarded butts. None were seen during a recent visit to St. George Island, he said.
The rest of Dr. Beach’s top 10 choices are:
- St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
- Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
- Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
- Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
- Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina
- Coronado Beach, San Diego
- Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii
- Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
- Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
- Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
The Associated Press contributed to this report.