SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) — A research scientist colloquially known as “Dr. Beach” has announced his annual list of top seashores in the country. Three locations in the Carolinas appeared on this year’s list, which ranks the top spots out of more than 650 public beaches using 50 criteria like water temperature, sand granules and cleanliness.
North Carolina’s Ocracoke Lifeguard Beach, located in the Outer Banks, is this year’s best, according to the list published Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman, a professor and director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University
“Ocracoke is an idyllic island far off the North Carolina mainland with the pristine beach being part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore,” he wrote in a press release.
“Often called the pearl of the Outer Banks, the village of Ocracoke is characterized by delightful inns, the iconic 1823 lighthouse, a 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,” he wrote in a press release.
“This is my favorite getaway island, boasting of 16 miles of undeveloped beach and American beach grass-covered sand dunes. The Ocracoke Express Passenger Ferry is now operating, making it a car-free way to explore the area; I enjoy riding a bicycle or renting a golf cart. Families will enjoy the early summer when the waves are smaller with the surfers catching the swell waves later in the season,” he wrote in a press release.
|Top 10 Beaches in the USA for 2022: Dr. Beach|
|#1. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina|
|“Ocracoke, once the home of Blackbeard the pirate, is still a special place—it is my favorite getaway beach. 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 as well as exploring the historical village 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 as well as exploring the historical village,” according to a press release from Dr. Beach.|
|#2. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida|
|“Caladesi is reached by pedestrian ferry boat, private boats or a long walk north from Clearwater Beach; the inlet is closed so Caladesi is no longer a true island, but still a great getaway. The white beach is composed of crystalline quartz sand, which is soft and cushy at the water’s edge, inviting one to take a dip in the sparkling clear waters. There are boardwalk trails, but my favorite is the kayak and canoe trails through the mangroves to see the large blue herons and other birds that frequent this wonderful natural area,” according to a press release from Dr. Beach.|
|#3. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York|
|“Coopers Beach is located on the south shore of Long Island, New York, shielded from the cold Labrador currents in the beautiful village of Southampton. As the first “Gold Coast” in the country, Coopers Beach is hundreds of yards wide, made of grainy white quartz sand. The beach is backed by large sand dunes covered by American beach grass interspersed with extravagant mansions. Some of the best beach access in the Hamptons exists on Coopers Beach; a snack bar serving lunch and drinks can be found here as well,” according to a press release from Dr. Beach.|
|#4. St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle|
|“This long barrier island, far from urban areas, is a favorite destination for beachgoers, anglers and bird watchers as nature abounds. Besides swimming in the crystal-clear water, I enjoy beachcombing and shelling. While St. George Island suffered a big hit in 2018 by Hurricane Michael, the area has substantially recovered, especially the sugary fine, white sand beach. There is much to explore on this serene 2,023-acre park,” according to a press release from Dr. Beach.|
|#5 Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii|
|“Kahanamoku Beach is located on the west end of Waikiki Beach, far from the large crowds elsewhere. It is the widest beach on this world-famous stretch of sand and protected by an offshore coral reef, making it a good beach for families with children. The nearby Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon is also a favorite bathing and swimming spot. This is one of the most picturesque beaches in the USA with the iconic Diamondhead volcano in the distance,” according to a press release from Dr. Beach.|
|#6. Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina|
|“Lighthouse Beach is where the old spiral-striped Cape Hatteras Lighthouse once stood until it was moved landward in 1999 because of beach erosion. This lifeguarded beach is the number one surfing spot on the U. S. Atlantic Coast as the large offshore sand banks, known as Diamond Shoals, cause wave refraction focusing wave energy on this beach. 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.|
|#7. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California|
|Coronado Beach is the toast of Southern California; it is a veritable oasis by the sea that is hundreds of yards wide. With its subtropical vegetation, unique Mediterranean climate, and fine sparkling sand, beach-goers flock to this beach for great ship-watching and the summer’s warm and mild surf. The local landmark, Hotel del Coronado, was built over a hundred years ago; kings, sheiks, actors, and actresses have stayed at this iconic hotel.|
|#8. Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii|
|Wailea Beach is a series of five pocket beaches, which are part of the Wailea resort complex that is mandated to provide a public right-of-way for visitors. The white coral sand beach gently slopes offshore and is great for snorkeling when the ocean is calm. The swanky hotels are set back far from the beach, providing a beautiful-landscaped park, adorned with tropical vegetation and flowering bushes and trees.|
|#9. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina|
|South of Charleston, Beachwalker Park is the public beach located on the southern end of Kiawah Island. This is a nature-lovers coast so visitors can bring their canoes and kayaks to paddle through the tidal inlets. It is also fun to walk or bicycle down the fine-grained sand beach to Captain Sam’s Inlet to see thousands of birds. The water is not clear, but it is clean and provides fantastic seafood for low-country cooking.|
|#10. Coast Guard Beach, Cap Cod, Massachusetts|
|Coast Guard Beach, accessible by bicycle from the Salt Pond Visitor’s Center or shuttle bus, is located where a sand spit extends southward from the glacial sea cliffs. The picturesque old Coast Guard station still sits atop the glacial bluffs, allowing for a spectacular view of the Nauset Spit barrier system and bay. During the summer, beachgoers take quick, refreshing dips in the ocean as water is chilly. In recent years, seals have moved northward from Monomoy Island Wildlife Refuge into the populated beaches, which has attracted great white sharks. Note the red flags with shark images on days when these predators are around and follow the advice of lifeguards.|