This Beach in the Outer Banks Was Named the #1 Beach in America

Life’s a beach … It’s that time of year again. Dr. Beach has rolled out his annual list of the 10 best beaches in the U.S.

Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, is Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University.  He studies beach erosion and storm impacts and his research takes him to beaches all over the country.  In 1989, he began developing 50 criteria to rate all of the 650 major public recreational beaches in the United States.

Now, three decades later, Dr. Stephen Leatherman (“Dr. Beach”) has reviewed, evaluated, and rated beaches and coastal areas throughout the world.

This year, two Outer Banks beaches made the list of Top 10 Beaches at #1 and #6.


  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

Ocracoke Lifeguard Beach is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and is operated by the National Park Service.  There are ramps along Highway 12 that provide off-road vehicle access to the drivable sections of the beach. To drive on the beach, you will need to get either a 10-day or annual permit here.

Ocracoke Island feature’s the nation’s second-oldest lighthouse and the pony pens, which house a once-wild herd believed to be descended from Colonial Spanish mustangs brought here by Sir Richard Grenville, whose ship ran aground at Ocracoke in 1585. The horses are now protected by the National Park Service.