Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands once again earned top spots on the annual Dr. Beach’s 10 Best Beaches in the USA list, with the Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach ranked as the #3 best beach in the country, and the Old Lighthouse Beach in Buxton ranked as the #5 best beach.
Released just before Memorial Day, the list is the brainchild of coastal expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman, director of the Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, who 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, and both Hatteras and Ocracoke islands have made regular appearances on the list since it was first formed, with Ocracoke Lighthouse Beach landing the #1 spot in 2007.
The complete list of 2021 winners is below.
Dr. Beach Top 10 list for 2021
- Hapuna Beach State Park – Big Island of Hawaii
- Coopers Beach – Southampton, New York
- Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach – Outer Banks of North Carolina
- St. George Island State Park – Florida Panhandle
- Old Lighthouse Beach – Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina
- Duke Kahanamoku Beach – Oahu, Hawaii
- Caladesi Island State Park – Dunedin, Florida
- Coronado Beach – San Diego, California
- Beachwalker Park – Kiawah Island, South Carolina
- Coast Guard Beach – Cape Cod, Massachusetts