The U.S. coastline — from the rocky inlets of New England to the turquoise coves of Hawaii — receives some 62 million visitors annually. And there’s no doubt that there are at least 62 million opinions on what makes a great beach. Still, TIME set out to find the best strip of seashore using a mathematical method.
Our top pick? Huntington Beach State Park in Orange County, Calif.
Huntington, also known as Surf City USA, came in in at number one thanks to its combination of good beach weather, summer water temperature and accessibility. It also has a good reputation with the public — a metric we evaluated using reviews data from TripAdvisor.com.
Huntington can add this honor to another recent claim to fame: It set a record earlier this month for the largest surfboard ride in the world, with 66 surfers on one, 42-ft.-long board.
This article was originally published in the July 13 issue of TIME.