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In 2007, Ocracoke’s Lifeguard Beach made a big splash, so to speak.
That year, Dr. Beach listed Ocracoke as the country’s best beach, and this year, Ocracoke is the No. 2 beach in the nation behind Kapalua Bay Beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui. This is the highest rating Ocracoke Beach can achieve since national winners are excluded from further consideration to be named number one in order to give other beaches an opportunity to enjoy the spotlight.
The Lighthouse Beach in Buxton on Hatteras Island made the prestigious list, ranked the No. 6 best beach.
Leatherman, director of the Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, has chosen America’s Top 10 beaches since 1991 and are released around Memorial Day weekend.
His rankings are based on 50 criteria, including water and sand quality, as well as facilities and environmental management.
A prolific writer, he has written or edited many books, journals and technical reports, including “Sea Level Rise: Causes and Consequences,” “Barrier Island Handbook,” “Overwash Processes” and “America’s Best Beaches.”
“Ocracoke, once the home of Blackbeard the pirate, is still a special place—it is my favorite getaway beach,” Leatherman said in a detailed overview of the list. “Here you will find some of the wildest beaches in the country. Big surf dominates in late summer so families with children may want to come earlier in the year. Don’t expect to play golf or stay at the Ritz; the main pursuits are swimming and beachcombing.”
Dr. Beach’s Best U.S. beaches for 2018:
- Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii
- Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks, North Carolina
- Grayton Beach State Park, Florida Panhandle
- Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
- Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
- Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks, North Carolina
- Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
- Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii
- Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
- Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina