Whether it's the brilliant white "sugar" sands of Panama City Beach, Florida or the black dunes of Punaluu, Hawaii, sand makes the beach. Sea sand mavens know that not all sands are created equal. What appears as "white sand" to the uniformed varies dramatically in shape, composition, and refractability. Annually, the best beaches are ranked by 50 criteria with the top five relating to sand quality. Fine sand is ranked the highest, as is soft sand, while beaches of cobble or hard sand are valued much lower. White or pink sands score the maximum 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, while unappealing gray sands score a lowly 1 point.