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Top Beaches

Stephen P. Leatherman is director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Miami's Florida International University. Every Memorial Day weekend as "Dr. Beach," he releases on national TV his list of the top 10 beaches in the United States. (Details: www.drbeach.org). Here's the Charlotte native's five favorite beaches in the Carolinas:

Upscale

Kiawah Island, S.C. | "A nature-lovers paradise with all the amenities you'd ever want." INFO | www.kiawahresort.com

Duck | "I love the big sandhills. ... A quintessential shore haven for those who want to eat and drink well."

INFO | www.outerbanks.com

Bald Head Island | "It's a world away, and on Cape Fear itself. No cars allowed, so you get around on golf carts."

INFO | www.baldheadisland.com

Family-oriented

Ocracoke Island | "Blackbeard's stomping grounds. ... Laid-back, with no chain restaurants and 12 or 13 miles of great beach." INFO | www.ocracokeisland.com

Holden Beach | "A very quiet place with fine sand, pretty water. ... Great for children. Rent a house on the beach."

INFO | www.holden-beach.com

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