There is no shortage of fantastic beaches in North Carolina, nor is there any shortage of “best beaches” lists. But as always we are here to tell you about them. I have my personal favorite NC beach, though in all honesty, the convenience of getting to South Carolina means those are my personal favorite. But back to this list. Since 1991 Dr. Stephen Leatherman aka “Dr. Beach” has “reviewed, evaluated and rated beaches and coastal areas throughout the world”. He uses fifty different criteria to evaluate the beaches and create his top 10 rankings. And this year one North Carolina beach ranked 5th on this prestigious Dr. Beach Top Beaches list!
Some of these criteria include which include water and sand quality as well as safety and management. All very important metrics. Dr. Beach does other important work other than just creating this yearly ranking. (Though I’d be happy to serve as a beach tester if that position is available). Dr. Beach also works tirelessly to increase awareness about the dangers of rip currents and to promote no smoking at beaches. Which the prohibition of smoking, is also taken into account in these rankings. So which North Carolina beach made the Dr. Beach list? Lighthouse Beach in Buxton on the Outer Banks! I have to say this isn’t one I’ve heard much about until now. In fact, I’ve never even visited the Outer Banks, just hard to justify that long of a drive!
Here’s Dr. Beach’s Top Beach List 2023
- St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
- Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
- Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
- Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
- Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina
- Coronado Beach, San Diego
- Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii
- Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
- Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
- Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
So what/where exactly is Lighthouse Beach? Well, it’s located on Hatteras Island and is the original home of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, before the landmark was moved inward in 1999. According to Dr. Beach, it’s the number one surfing spot on the US Atlantic Coast. Who knew? This is due to the Diamond Shoals with cause wave refraction sending the waves towards this particular beach. Due to the unique location, the waves actually come from both directions! Get more info about visiting Lighthouse Beach here.
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