Dr. Beach’s annual list of the Top 10 U.S. beaches was released yesterday, just before the Memorial Day weekend, and a beach the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is again on the list.
This year the Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach is back on the list again — ranking as fourth in the 10 best.
The Ocracoke Beach was retired for a time after it was named the best beach in 2007.
However, the Top 10 beaches news release notes that starting this year, the list of best beaches is beginning anew so all beaches have a chance again of making the list.
The top beach this year is Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Oahu, Hawaii.
One of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches always seems to be among Dr. Beach’s favorites.
After the Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach was retired, the lifeguarded beach in Buxton made the Top 10 list for eight consecutive years — but not this year. Its highest rankings were No. 4 in 2010 and No. 5 in 2011 and 2015.
Coastal expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman, director of the Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, has chosen America’s Top 10 beaches since 1991. His rankings are based on 50 criteria, including water and sand quality, as well as facilities and environmental management. More than 650 beaches in the country are included in his judging.
More emphasis is being placed on environmental management and beach safety. Bonus points are awarded for prohibition of smoking on beaches. Oahu is leading the way as smoking at all beaches on this Hawaiian island is now banned.
This is what Dr. Beach’s website says about Ocracoke’s Lifeguarded Beach:
“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 come here expecting to play golf or stay at the Ritz; the main pursuits are swimming, shelling and enjoying a walk through the old cemetery on a foggy night. This island can still be reached by a free state ferry.”
For more information, go to www.drbeach.org.
TOP 10 BEACHES 2016
1. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Oahu, Hawaii
2. Siesta Beach Sarasota, Florida
3. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii
4. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
5. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
6. Grayton Beach State Park Florida panhandle
7. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
8. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
9. Caladesi Island State Park Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
10. Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina