We aren’t surprised to see Ocracoke Island’s Lifeguard Beach listed at number two (AGAIN) under Dr. Beach’s Top Ten Beaches in the United States. Florida International University’s Professor Stephen Leatherman has been ranking U.S. beaches since 1991, and Ocracoke has made the top ten list almost every year. We are so proud of this ranking. Read below to find out more.

What criterion is used to base this award? Great question! For the past 29 years, Ocracoke Island has continuously met the different degree levels used for judging by Dr. Beach, and we tend to agree with his thought process. There are a total of 50 criteria used when making his list. Some of these include beach width at low tide, sand softness and color, water temperature, number of sunny days, wind speed, size of waves, water color, wildlife, pests (including mosquitos), trash and litter, available amenities and public safety. This is not the first time Ocracoke has been ranked at number two. What keeps it near the top of the list? Dr. Beach’s reasoning is “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.”

We take pride in our beautiful beaches. Ocracoke is unique from other vacation destinations. We have just over 13 miles of wide open beach access, protected by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (part of the National Park Service). What this means is there is absolutely no development on the beach. No hotels, beach houses, walkways or other structures. It is wild, wide open spaces. Even more, there are even access points where you are able to drive on the beach with your 4×4 vehicle. Imagine packing your vehicle for the day with coolers, umbrellas, pets and games and hanging out at the beach all day. Of course, if your vehicle does not have four-wheel drive, there are plenty of accesses up and down the barrier island with public access for parking. There’s no excuse to not go out and enjoy nature.

Come out and see what makes Ocracoke Island so special. It will surpass your cure for the common beach.

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