After 25 years of ranking beaches, professor Stephen Leatherman of Florida International University, famously known as "Dr. Beach" is starting his list of best beaches over from scratch in 2016. This time he'll give extra credit to beaches with smoking ban.
The professor began his best beaches list in 1991. Once a beach received the No. 1 ranking, it was retired from consideration on future lists.
But now the professor says he'll begin fresh next year so that even beaches that he earlier ranked as tops have a chance for the No. 1 slot again.
Beaches will be rated using 50 criteria including water temperature, air temperature, number of sunny days, rip currents, water color, algae, views, access, seaweed and noise. In 2016, he says he'll give extra points to beaches with smoking ban.
"The No. 1 form of litter on beaches is cigarette butts, and it is disgusting. There is a national movement to prevent smoking, especially on public lands, and beaches should be a priority," Leatherman said.
The best beach of 2015 was Hawaii's Waimanalo Beach on Oahu.