Three beaches along Carolina Coast crack ‘Dr. Beach’s’ annual top-10 US list

Three beaches along Carolina Coast crack ‘Dr. Beach’s’ annual top-10 US list

BUXTON, N.C. — If you’ve traveled to Lighthouse Beach in Buxton, North Carolina, then you’ve visited one of the best beaches in the country, according to Florida International University professor Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman.

Dr. Beach, who has been ranking the nation’s beaches for 30 years, released this year’s list of top 10 U.S. beaches on Thursday.

Beachwalker Park
Beachwalker Park
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Sugar-white sand and clear, emerald-green water helped Grayton Beach in Florida earn the top spot on the list.

Lifeguarded Beach on Ocrakoke Island was not far behind at number 2 and Beachwalker Park on Kiawah Island in South Carolina grabbed the last spot on the list. Lighthouse Beach was ranked fifth.

Leatherman says he gives bonus points for beaches where smoking is banned and that are staffed with lifeguards, which elevated North Carolina beaches.

Lifeguarded Beach
Lifeguarded Beach

Beaches in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New York also made the cut.

Here’s the complete top 10 list for 2020:

10. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

9. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California

8. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

7. Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii

6. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida

5. Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, North Carolina

4. Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

3. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York

2. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks, North Carolina

1. Grayton Beach State Park, Florida panhandle