Outer Banks’ Ocracoke beach places 2nd on ‘Dr. Beach’ list
Heading to the Outer Banks this summer? The roads might be even more crowded this year as one of the OBX beaches made an annual list of best beaches.
Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on North Carolina’s Outer Banks placed second on the annual ”Dr. Beach” best beach list.
The list is always filled with Hawaii and Florida beaches and Kailua Beach Park on Oahu, Hawaii was selected as the top stretch of sand for the list.
Ocracoke also made the list last year. In describing the remote beach, the “Dr. Beach” Stephen Leatherman writes:
“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.”
The Outer Banks have been a go-to vacation destination for Western Pennsylvanians for decades and many family and friends still travel there every year.
The marketing of the Outer Banks as a Pittsburgh vacation destination dates back to at least the 1950s. Newspaper advertising often called North Carolina “Variety Vacationland” and touted its historic sites, beaches and sporting opportunities.
There’s also plenty of anecdotal evidence that Pittsburghers love the Outer Banks.
“There’s just always a ton of Pennsylvania people down there,” Tom Gamber, 52, of Greensburg, told the Tribune-Review in 2017.
Leatherman, a coastal scientist and professor at Florida International University, has been drafting the list under the alias “Dr. Beach” since 1991.
Leatherman uses 50 criteria to evaluate beaches, with the most important categories being water cleanliness, safety and management of the beach environment and its facilities. Leatherman uses data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to grade the beaches on water quality and has been to all the beaches on his list.
He says his goal in producing the list each year is to reward high-quality, safe beaches that balance nature with accessibility and amenities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.