The sun rises along a stretch of beach on St. George Island State Park, located on Florida's northern Gulf coast.
Famous for its white sands and clear waters, this beach was taken out of the running for best beaches last year because of concerns about pollution from the Gulf oil spill. But it was reinstated this year and comes in as sixth on the list.
"This year the oil's all gone, and the beaches are clean," Leatherman said.
The water at Beachwalker Park is not clear, Leatherman noted, but it's clean and contains excellent seafood.
Photograph by David Ahlgren, Your Shot
Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Dark thunderclouds threaten to rain on Coast Guard Beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which is eighth on the list.
The sand here is fairly coarse and slopes steeply into the water. In recent years, seals have been making a comeback to Coast Guard Beach after decades of absence due to ruthless seal hunting in the 19th century.
While beaches are popular summer destinations, Leatherman said fall is also a great time to visit.
"During that time of year the water's still warm, the weather's great, the crowds are gone, and the prices are down," he said.