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Meet the 10 best beaches in the United States of 2022, according to Dr. Beach


Tour the world’s top 5 beaches from home 0:40 (CNN) — A wild stretch of North Carolina’s Outer Banks took first place in an annual list of America’s best beaches for 2022.
Ocracoke Island Lifeguard Beach is the No. 1 stretch of sand for 2022, according to coastal scientist Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach. Leatherman, a professor and director of the Florida International University Coastal Research Laboratory, has been ranking America’s best beaches since 1991. Lehman uses 50 criteria to evaluate 650 public beaches in the United States. The criteria include the length of the beach, the softness of the sand, the temperature and color of the water, the fauna and flora, etc. Ocracoke Island Lifeguard Beach rose to No. 1 this year from No. 3 in 2021. The beach is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and is managed by the National Park Service.
“I like this area because it has the three things that you have to have to be a great beach: clean sand, clean water, and safety on the beach,” Leatherman told CNN Travel Wednesday morning from the shores of Ocracoke, where he was doing wind with a weak swell. Ocracoke Island’s 16 miles of undeveloped coastline makes it “a little imperfect,” says his tourism organization, “in the best possible way.” The island also has ties to the infamous pirate Blackbeard. Ocracoke is only accessible by private plane or boat and ferry service, which allows cars and caravans. According to Leatherman, some of the wildest beaches in the country are found here. He warns that families with children should visit in early summer, as the end will be met with big waves. “Don’t expect to play golf or stay at the Ritz; the main activities are swimming and beachcombing, as well as exploring the historic town,” Leatherman says in the description of the beach in his annual list. What NOT to pack? Golf clubs and high heels, says Visit Ocracoke. “This is an island, but it’s not a resort,” says her website. Casual dining is recommended, even at the most exclusive restaurants in Ocracoke. Beachfront lodging is limited to a National Park Service campground, so most visitors stay in town, a couple of miles from the beach. More US Beaches A second Outer Banks beach, Lighthouse Beach in Buxton on Hatteras Island is No. 6 this year. The old Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, with its spiral fringes, stood on this beach until erosion caused it to move about 1,000 meters inland in 1999. How did North Carolina get two of the top 10 this year? Leatherman gives extra credit to the smoking ban, and both Outer Banks beaches are smoking-free, she said. “And beach safety is also very important. The biggest danger on the beaches is rip currents. These two beaches have very good lifeguard programs.” Beach number 2 for 2022 is Caladesi State Park, in Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida, with its crystal clear quartz sand and clear waters on the Gulf Coast. It can be accessed by ferry or private boat. “You get on the ferry and you go through the mangroves, so there’s a lot of bird life and a lot of fishing,” says Leatherman. Caladesi waters are usually much calmer than Ocracoke No. 1, but watch out for stingrays. “You just have to drag your feet and they’ll go away,” Leatherman said. Coopers Beach, backed by sand dunes and extravagant mansions in Southampton, New York, ranks No. 3. St. George’s Island State Park in Northwest Florida (No. 4), and Duke Beach Kahanamoku, on Oahu, Hawaii (#5), round out the top five. The beaches of California, South Carolina and Massachusetts appear in the second half of the classification. “We’re lucky, here in America we really have hundreds of beautiful beaches … and these are just the top 10,” Leatherman said. Here is the full list of the top 10. 2022 Top 10 Beaches List Ocracoke Lifeguard Beach, Outer Banks, North Carolina Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York St. George’s Island State Park, Northwest Florida Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, North Carolina Outer Banks Coronado Beach, San Diego, California Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod , Massachusetts


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