Shirley, New York, a hamlet on the south shore of Long Island, is the worst beach town in America, according to a new ranking from personal finance website WalletHub, which considered myriad factors like affordability, local economy, safety and weather, education and quality of life.

Lahaina, Hawaii topped the rankings as the best beach town in America, scoring very favorable in all categories. Florida towns were well-represented, with five of the top 10 rankings, including Naples and Sarasota at two and three, respectively. But, like a beached whale, it was Shirley, a town of 28,000 residents, that got stranded in last place on the list of 161 beach towns.

The William Floyd Estate in Shirley, New York. (Photo courtesy J Peters for the National Park Service)

Desiree Lofredo, a Shirley native and local realtor with Douglas Elliman, vehemently disagrees with the slight from Wallethub. And she’s not the only one that feels that way, citing the 2,361 homes sold there in the past 10 years according to the local multiple listing service.

“That’s crazy, we have an amazing beach,” Lofredo said. “It’s the most affordable waterfront community on Long Island.”

As far as the beach itself, Lofredo said there’s a beach club with live music every day in the summer and you can drive campers right into the beach campgrounds. There’s also a number of historically significant relics on the beach, including the William Floyd House and Manor St. George.

One of the big knocks against Shirley, however, is it’s lack of a sewer system – an issue in much of Suffolk County.

“We don’t have too much industry or business because we don’t have sewers so we can’t really have any big restaurants or anything like that,” Lofredo said.

Lahaina, Hawaii. (Photo by jeremyg3030 on Flickr)

Lahaina’s ranking at the top is pretty self-explanatory. The community situated on the westernmost portion of Maui is ripped right from the pages of paradise with its stunning natural beaches and spectacular views.

WalletHub also ranked the top lakeside towns in America by the same criteria. Traverse City, Michigan topped the rankings, with Morgan City, Louisiana finishing last.

The rankings were evaluated in each category using 58 different weighted metrics, each graded on a 100-point scale.

Email Patrick Kearns

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