HONOLULU (KHON2) — The lifeguarded beach at Ocracoke, once the home of Blackbeard the Pirate, returns to the top of the list of 10 Best Beaches in America, produced by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, also known as “Dr. Beach.”
Ocracoke is an idyllic island far off the North Carolina mainland. Dr. Beach frequently refers to it as his favorite getaway beach, a place where “the main pursuits are swimming and beachcombing.” Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
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Last year, Hapuna Beach State Park was ranked the best beach in the U.S. in his review of sandy shorelines for 2021. Dr. Beach called it an oasis and said the sand “looks super white there because of the black lava beside it.”
Though the Big Island beach didn’t make the list this year, Dr. Beach recognized two other islands:
- Duke Kahanamoku Beach on Oahu is located on the west end of Waikiki Beach. Dr. Beach describes it as “one of the most picturesque beaches in the USA” with the iconic Diamond Head volcano in the distance.
- Wailea Beach on Maui is a series of five pocket beaches, with white coral sand that gently slopes offshore. Dr. Beach finds it great for snorkeling when the ocean is calm.
1. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
2. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
3. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
4. St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
5. Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
6. Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina
7. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
8. Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii
9. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
10. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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Dr. Beach has selected the annual Top 10 Beaches since 1991. Fifty criteria are used to evaluate beaches, including water and sand quality, as well as safety and management.