BEST BEACHES: Top Ten U.S. Shores of 2009 in Pictures

BEST BEACHES: Top Ten U.S. Shores of 2009 in Pictures
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5. Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii--

Ernest Hemingway once said that Hamoa Beach (above) was the world's best beach--so it's no surprise the coral-and-lava-sand shore made it on to the list of America's top ten beaches of 2009.

Hamoa is rimmed by cliffs and covered with coconut palms and "beautiful" flowering vegetation, said coastal expert Stephen Leatherman.

In judging a beach, Leatherman first examines whether there is clean sand and water. He uses U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, for example, to determine a coastal area's water quality.
—Photograph by Chris Cheadle/Getty Images
 
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