NORFOLK, Va. — Coastal expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman, better known as Dr. Beach, released his 2022 list of the top 10 beaches in the United States, and one on the Outer Banks of North Carolina takes the cake.
Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach was ranked the No. 1 beach on this year's list, with Dr. Beach describing it as his "favorite getaway beach."
"Ocracoke is an idyllic island far off the North Carolina mainland with the pristine beach being part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore," Dr. Beach said in a news release. "Often called the pearl of the Outer Banks, the village of Ocracoke is characterized by delightful inns, the iconic 1823 lighthouse, legendary herd of once wild ponies and a serene British cemetery; it is also the destination of choice for pirate lovers, being the stomping grounds of Blackbeard."
Dr. Beach, a professor at Florida International University in Miami, has produced an annual list of the top 10 U.S. beaches since 1991. He evaluates beaches using 50 criteria, including water and sand quality and safety and management. He gives extra consideration to beaches that prohibit smoking.
Lighthouse Beach in Buxton, also located on the Outer Banks, got the No. 6 spot on the 2022 list.
"It is fun to stroll down to the Cape Point where a long sand spit often exists, making one feel somewhat like Moses because the waves are coming from both directions as you walk along this narrow string of sand in the ocean," Dr. Beach wrote.
The other beaches that made the list were:
- Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida (No. 2)
- Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York (No. 3)
- St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle (No. 4)
- Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii (No. 5)
- Coronado Beach, San Diego, California (No. 7)
- Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii (No. 8)
- Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina (No. 9)
- Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts (No. 10)
You can read what Dr. Beach had to say about each of these beaches on his website.
How you can get to Ocracoke Island
Ocracoke Island is accessible by ferry services from Hatteras, North Carolina, and Ceder Island, North Carolina. For ferry schedules and fares, visit the North Carolina Department of Transportation's website.