Best Beach Awards 2014 Advisors

Get to know who hand-picked this year's best beach award winners.

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This year we've enlisted trusted beach experts to determine our third annual Best Beach Award Winners. Our advisors have traveled around the globe to bring you the very best beaches in 10 categories, from Best Family Beach to the Best Beach You Haven't Heard of ... Yet.

Get to know our Beach experts, including Beach Tomato co-founder Tom Marchant, Dr. Stephen Leatherman, better known as "Dr. Beach," and Travel Channel's resident beach host, Marianela Pereyra, who hand-picked this year's best beach destinations around the world.
1. Alison Teal

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sarah lee

Alison Teal is a soul surfer, survivalist, and adventurer who recently completed the most challenging survival show on TV -- “Naked and Afraid.”

Alison spent her childhood home-schooled in a whirlwind of high adventure by her extreme expedition parents — her father being a world-renowned photographer who’s work has been featured in numerous outdoor magazines including National Geographic, Outside and Patagonia, and her mother a legendary Yogi. Alison grew up living in some of the most primitive, inaccessible, and often-dangerous mountains, jungles, and unchartered wilderness areas that cover the face of this planet.

She now produces and hosts her own film series, Alison's Adventures, where in each country she teams up with a local companion who guides here through their way of life. You can follow her travels on and on Twitter @AlisonAdventure.
2. Tom Marchant

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Tom Marchant is the co-founder of The Black Tomato Travel Group, parent company of the award-winning travel brands Black Tomato, Beach Tomato and Epic Tomato.

In the 7 years since its launch, the group has grown to become known as one of the leading experts in the world on luxury travel and lifestyle services and caters to the travel needs of a globally located, discerning client base.

Responsible for the group’s business development, marketing and creative strategy, Tom also regularly writes and talks on trends and the future of the luxury travel and lifestyle industries.

In 2010, Tom was named young entrepreneur of the year by the British Travel Industry Hall of Fame. In 2011, Black Tomato received many accolades, including being awarded the best online tour operator at the British Travel Awards. In 2012, Black Tomato was named in the globally recognized Cool Brands list -- the definitive list on those brands that truly understand, engage and inspire their audience.
3. Marianela Pereyra
Marianela Pereyra is an Argentinian model, dancer and TV personality who has served as host of Dance Cam Slam for VH1, MTV’s Top Pop Group for MTV and BBC America, Poker After Dark for NBC, and Roadtrip and Latin American Poker Tour for ESPN.

Born to professional tango dancers in Buenos Aires, Marianela moved to the United States at the age of 5. In addition to English, she is fluent in Spanish, French and Italian.

Marianela's Best Beaches
web series gives the inside scoop on the best beaches in California and Florida. A true adventurer, Marianela gives her unique perspective on some of the most beautiful US coastlines, from the best beaches for dogs and their owners to the best beaches for watching wonderful weirdos. Marianela is willing to try just about anything once, in between perfecting her beach volleyball spike and starting the perfect beach bonfire.
4. Dr. Stephen Leatherman
For more than 22 years, Dr. Beach has reviewed, evaluated and rated beaches and coastal areas throughout the world.

In addition to his annual top 10 rankings of America's Best Beaches -- which get more than 400 million hits each year -- he has authored over 16 books including "Dr. Beach's Survival Guide: What You Need to Know about Sharks, Rip Currents, & More Before Going in the Water."

A professor at Florida International University in Miami, Dr. Beach recently shot the pilot for the upcoming reality TV series, Buying Beachfront in Palm Beach, FL.
5. Corinne McDermott

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Corinne McDermott is the founder of -- a website with a mission to inspire, motivate, and help families travel with babies, toddlers, and young children.

A noted family travel expert, Corinne is also a multi-platform writer, editor, producer, and best of all - mom to Megan and Riley. She launched Have Baby Will Travel in 2007, and is a passionate advocate for the value travel brings to everyone in the family. Her kids say “When are we going somewhere?!’ not “Are we there, yet?!”
6. Kwin Mosby
Kwin Mosby has almost 2 decades of experience in the media industry. In addition to working for as an online producer for 6 years, he has worked as a TV news reporter/producer at KBJR-TV in Duluth, MN; an associate producer at KSTP-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul; and an associate producer for BBC’s Washington, DC, bureau.

Today, Kwin manages the destinations and interests content on His role as managing producer requires him and his team to monitor the latest travel news and hot travel trends to keep the website and its accompanying The Traveling Type blog relevant.

Kwin has been lucky enough to experience some of the world’s best bed and breakfast inns, budget hotels, high-end hotels and exclusive resorts. When he’s not working, Kwin visits relaxing beach locations, cultural urban epicenters and prime destinations for outdoors enthusiasts such as Costa Rica, Miami, Santorini, Barcelona, New York City, Paris, London and Brazil. Follow Kwin and his adventures @KwinMosby.
7. Valerie Conners
Valerie Conners is a freelance writer who has worked with the Travel Channel for more than 13 years, specializing in a number of travel topics, including the world's best beaches and romantic getaways.

Her work also appears in many online and print publications including, Aol Travel, Skye on Aol, Discovery Channel, World Hum, Frommers Travel Guides, the Boston Globe, the Baltimore Sun and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

She's happiest when eating spicy Thai food, snorkeling with sea turtles in Indonesia and bargaining for bangles in Indian markets. She blogs about her travels at
8. Sara Gilliam
With over 6 years of story telling and digital strategy under her belt, Sara Gilliam has a love for identifying trends and creating unique online experiences. At Travel Channel, she is the editorial lead for branded content and produced Travel's Best Beach Awards since 2012.

She has eaten her way through Thailand, sailed around the coast of Greece -- and thought she died and went to heaven in Paris (not literally). In addition to travel, she loves smart design, clever headlines and all things pop culture. For Sara's latest adventures and insights follow her @Sara_Gilliam.
9. Ben Breslerman
Born and raised in Potomac, MD, Ben now resides in Washington, DC, after graduating from Arizona State University. Before becoming an Interactive Producer for, Ben was a web producer for a small start-up company that specialized in Olympic sports.

Ben is also an avid sports fan, music lover and enjoys playing with his 9-year-old Labrador-mix pup, Layla. The top 5 places on Ben's travel bucket list? Prague, Nice, Florence, Santorini and Barcelona.
10. Kathleen Rellihan
Kathleen Rellihan has worked as an online producer for for over 5 years.

A Washington, DC, resident, Kathleen’s “travel” job mainly consists of virtual travel from her desk, but her love for adventure travel has inspired her to sleep in an ice hotel in Quebec, search for the northern lights in Iceland, learn to surf in Costa Rica and give elephants a bath in Thailand.

Kathleen’s next adventure is volunteering as an English teacher in Haiti. And as long as she can control the radio, she’s always ready to hit the open road.

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