Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

America’s best beach: Coronado, California

Photo by Matt Niemi via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been a tough week for California beaches. Our own Molly Peterson reported on Heal The Bay’s latest beach report card, and the Golden State did not fare too well. Seven of their “Top Ten Beach Bummers” for pollution are found right here in L.A. County, including four in Malibu alone.

Happily, we get to go into the holiday weekend with some good news regarding one particular California beach. As reported by the Associated Press, “Dr. Beach,” AKA Florida International University professor and director of the school’s Laboratory for Coastal Research Stephen P. Leatherman, has named a Southern California beach — Coronado Beach, to be exact — as America’s best in his annual survey. It’s the first California beach to earn the distinction (based on environmental quality and safety) in over 20 years.

Coronado, which is found on a peninsula across from San Diego, is the only California beach to make this year’s list, which is in it’s 22nd year. The beach is home to the Hotel del Coronado, famous for being featured in Marilyn Monroe movie "Some Like It Hot."  

Ranking the beaches on a slew of criteria including water quality, crowds and even sand, Coronado scored in the 230s out of a possible highest score of 250. The only points the beach lost were for frigid water temps in the 60s, making it less than ideal for shoreline frolicking and swimming.

Still, Leatherman’s rating carries much weight. A top ranking from the professor (Who calls Coronado “One of the most super beaches around”) customarily brings a 15 to 20 percent in beach visitors. Once a beach has reached the pinnacle of Dr. Beach’s list, it’s “retired” from consideration for future charts.