(CNN) — A wilderness on North Carolina’s Outer Banks has earned the top spot on an annual list of America’s Best Beaches.
Ocracoke Island’s patrolled beach is the first stretch of sand in 2022, according to coastal scientist Stephen Leatherman, also known as “Dr. Beach.”
Leatherman, professor and director of the Coastal Research Laboratory at Florida International University, has been ranking America’s best beaches since 1991.
Ocracoke is only accessible by private plane or boat and ferry service, which accommodates cars and RVs.
Some of the wildest beaches in the country are found here, according to Leatherman. He warns that families with children may want to visit earlier in the summer, as late summer brings big waves.
“Don’t expect to play golf or stay at the Ritz; the main activities are swimming and beach walks, and exploring the historic village,” Leatherman said in the description of the beach on his listing. annual.
What NOT to pack? Golf clubs and high heels, says Visit Ocracoke. “It’s an island, but it’s not a resort,” its website says. Walking to dinner in casual attire — even for Ocracoke’s most upscale restaurants — is encouraged.
Beachfront accommodation is limited to a National Park Service campground, so most visitors stay in the village a few miles from the beach.
More of America’s Best Beaches
A second beach in the Outer Banks, Lighthouse Beach at Buxton on Hatteras Island is No. 6 this year. This beach was the site of the old spiral-striped Cape Hatteras Lighthouse until erosion caused it to move about 3,000 feet inland in 1999.
Beaches in California, South Carolina and Massachusetts appear in the second half of the ranking.
Here is the full list of the top 10:
Top 10 beaches in 2022
1. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
2. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
3. Cooper’s Beach, Southampton, New York
4. St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
5. Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
6. Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina
7. Coronado Beach, San Diego, CA
8. Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii
9. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, SC
10. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts