South Beach, Lauderdale, Vegas, Cabo round out Top Five
A sun-soaked congratulations to Cancun, Mexico, for taking the most votes in our 10Best Readers' Choice Best Bikini-Watching Contest! Apparently, it's hotter in the Yucatan.
South Padre Island, Texas
The spring break capital of Texas attracts bikini-wearing coeds throughout the year, but it's during the months of March and April when things literally and figuratively heat up. During South Padre's annual spring break festivities, party-loving ladies swarm the island with their scanty bikinis – and little else – in tow. Photo courtesy of Thinkstock Images
Fort Myers Beach, Florida
The town of Fort Myers Beach - with its white powdery sand, warm shallow water and stunning sunsets - maintains 25 bikini-loving public beach accesses on Estero Island. Southwest Florida's liveliest destination has a definite tropical party vibe: its Times Square is lined with palm trees, street performers and temporary tattoo artists, while sun-and-sand beach bars next to the Pier throb with rock music. Spring break dance contests are an annual passage at nearby Lani Kai resort. Photo courtesy of Beth Rankin
The Jersey Shore, New Jersey
You don’t have to splurge on a safari to catch a glimpse of leopard spots in the wild. The bikinis of the Jersey Shore feature enough leopard print to fill a small zoo – not to mention the (often) fit and (always) tanned bodies attached to them. Mesh peek-a-boos and strategically placed sequins also abound, matching the very big personalities of the boardwalk fashionistas who wear them. Reality show, anyone? Photo courtesy of micadew
North Shore, Oahu
The beaches of Oahu's legendary North Shore are world-famous for the surfing which is visible from there. So have no doubt that fit, tan bikini-clad surf fans congregate here on a regular basis, especially during peak surf months of winter, when the pros compete. There's so much fantastic people-watching to do at Ehukai Beach (aka Banzai Pipeline) and Sunset Beach, a person barely knows where to look first. The whole scene looks like a fantasy sunscreen commercial.
Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
Panama City Beach, Florida
Panama City Beach showcases some of the top bikini bodies in all the country. This Gulf coast beach is the prime destination for spring breakers going to school in the south. From Late February through April, the white sands of Panama City Beach allow delicate toes of bikini-clad women to tiptoe along them. Through the rest of the spring and summer months, the perfect body surfing waters attract hard-bodies looking to catch some curl. Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Thinkstock
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
The next time you see a candid bikini photo of your favorite celebrity, check the caption. Chances are good the setting was Cabo San Lucas. The beaches of Los Cabos have long been a popular weekend haunt of Hollywood's hot set, and Medano Beach, a two mile stretch of golden sand bounded by luxury resorts and seaside cantinas, is also a midriff-baring Mecca during Spring Break, drawing thousands of board short and bikini clad college students for fun under the Baja sun. Photo courtesy of Mark Mitchell
Las Vegas, Nevada
For the past 10 summers, ever since the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's REHAB introduced Vegas visitors to the term “dayclub,” Sin City’s hottest women have danced the day away at one of the city’s many pool clubs wearing nothing but skimpy swimwear. In fact, given dayclubs like TAO Beach and Wet Republic’s celebrity followings, guests may even see their favorite stars sporting nothing but a bikini! Talk about people watching at its best! Photo courtesy of Carolyn Coles
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Its notoriety skyrocketed in 1960 with the release of the kitschy Spring Break classic “Where the Boys Are,” but you can spot beautiful bodies in Lauderdale, year-round, and without even being on the sand. At the world-famous Elbo Room – where beach bums have been partying since 1938 – you can enjoy a cold beer along with a view of the water, swaying palms and all the action on the boulevard, wet suits included. Photo courtesy of Shameless Charlotte
South Beach, Miami, Florida
South Beach is famous for celebrities and scintillating nightlife. While most of us won’t make it behind the velvet rope, we can all feel like we’re in the tabloids when on the beach or at a top pool club, where South Florida’s most bikini-ready bodies chill in style. People-watching on Miami’s legendary strand is 100 percent equal opportunity, gender-wise. Keep your eyes peeled: professional shoots with models, for magazines and catalogs, are de riguer. Photo courtesy of David Chou
Cancun's expansive white sand beaches and warm turquoise blue Caribbean Sea make it the ideal place for vacationers to show off new bikinis and all of the hard work they've been putting in at the gym. Millions of visitors flock to Cancun each year to create fun in the sun, many of them during spring break. Photo courtesy of David J Laporte
Another offshore winner, albeit an American destination - Oahu - made the top 10 list. One winner doesn't even have beaches, which makes for an interesting twist on people-watching in the swimsuit zone.
The full list of winners, based on votes by readers of 10Best and USA TODAY is as follows:
Chris Sands is a full-time resident of Cabo San Lucas, and writes about the Los Cabos area for publications such as 10Best, Baja.com, Los Cabos Magazine, and San Diego Red. He has seen his share of bikinis, all in the name of travel journalism, of course.
A longtime travel journalist and now the Senior Editor at 10Best, Libby was based for 20 years in the sunny state of Florida after also living in Texas and California. All three states she knows well are strongholds in our bikini competition and see more than their share of spring breakers, beach body show-offs, and those who simply appreciate "the view."
After dreaming of becoming an Official Bikini Inspector throughout middle school, 10Best travel expert Steve Larese now enjoys exploring recreational opportunities and ecology provided by the world’s beaches.
A.D. Thompson has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and roughly 15 as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum. SHe is currently based in Orlando, but travels often to the coast, where the sight of bikinis can either mean a travel journalist is on the clock or off.
Kris Neild is a red-blooded travel journalist and 10Best Travel Expert, based in New Orleans. He regularly explores the beaches of the Gulf coast - all in the name of research, of course.
Tori fell in love with southern California’s Spanish architecture and palm-lined beaches, moving to "the American Riviera" as soon as possible after a childhood in Ventura. A sun and beach lover, Tori spends her free time enjoying community events and festivals, and enjoying the great outdoors of SoCal with her Australian Shepherd.
After vacationing in Mexico many times, Kristin decided to move to Cancun "for a year". That was in 2001. She loves to explore the area on the weekends, and she enjoys sharing her experiences and discoveries with others through writing and social media.
Pennsylvania-native Wendy Vinglinsky spent her childhood summers vacationing on the shore in Wildwood, New Jersey. Now a Californian for more than half her life, she's visited towns and beaches all along the Golden State's 800 miles of coast. Ask her how much SoCal beach time she puts in, and she'll say (with tongue in cheek) "Dude: way, way too much."
This restless traveler has a knack for befriending interesting characters along the way. You can usually find her anywhere that has a hammock. Her work can be found on MSNBC.com, Frommers, and Sherman’s Travel, where she served as the Cruise Editor and Senior Producer. She is currently working on a comic novel about her shoestring travels as she hitchhikes on airplanes across the country in an effort to visit all 50 states.