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TripAdvisor users pick the best U.S. and world beaches

Which state has the best beaches in the USA? According to TripAdvisor's second annual Traveler's Choice awards for Beaches, that would be Hawaii.

Hawaii has seven of the top 10 U.S. beaches, including the top beach: Lanikai Beach in Kailua on the island of Oahu. Within Hawaii, Maui has three beaches in the top 10, Oahu has two, and Kauai and the Island of Hawaii each have one.

Only two other states landed beaches in the top 10. Florida has two: Siesta Key Public Beach and Saint Pete Beach. Hunting Island State Park in Beaufort, S.C., also made the top 10.

The awards this year recognized more than 322 beaches globally, including top lists for Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, the South Pacific, and the USA. The winners were determined based on the quality and quantity of traveler reviews and ratings for beaches over a 12-month period.

TripAdvisor also crowned the top 10 beaches in the world. This year, Lanikai Beach is the only U.S. beach on that list.

The top beach in the world is in Brazil: Baia do Sancho in Fernando de Noronha.

Caribbean beaches rounded out the top three: Grace Bay in Providenciales in Turks and Caicos and Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico.

The rest of the world's top beaches are in Italy, Australia, Spain, Seychelles, Wales and Mexico.

Beach vacations are clearly more popular this year as much of the country has been pummeled with snow multiple times. Earlier this month, a TripAdvisor survey of 13,000 travelers found that 81% plan to take a beach vacation this year, compared to 69% in 2013. When asked if the Polar Vortex is driving them to the beach, 7% said it already had and 3% said it will.

"For those fed up with the long cold winter, there's really no better cure than an escape to one of these award-winning beaches," says Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. "Even if you can't go to one of these stunning beaches soon, just looking at the photos will take you away for a moment, until you can plan a trip."...