(NEXSTAR) – A trip to the beach is just what the doctor ordered.
Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a coastal scientist also known as “Dr. Beach,” released his 32nd annual list of the country’s top public beaches on Wednesday, naming North Carolina’s Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on the Outer Banks as his top pick of 2022.
“Ocracoke is an idyllic island far off the North Carolina mainland with the pristine beach being part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore,” Leatherman says of his favorite “getaway island.” In a press release, Leatherman also praised the island’s inns, attractions, car-free modes of transportation and, of course, its “16 miles of undeveloped beach.”
This is the second time Leatherman has awarded his top ranking to Ocracoke’s Lifeguarded Beach, which had previously earned the No. 1 spot back in 2007.
“Big surf dominates in late summer so families with children may want to come earlier in the year,” Leatherman warned on the official Dr. Beach website. “Don’t expect to play golf or stay at the Ritz; the main pursuits are swimming and beachcombing.”
Beaches in Florida, New York, Hawaii, California, South Carolina and Massachusetts rounded out Leatherman’s 2022 list.
Leatherman, a professor and the director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University, has been publishing his annual list since 1991.
He bases his annual rankings on evaluations of 50 different criteria, including water temperatures, sand softness, crime levels and the availability of beach amenities. Being an advocate for smoke-free beaches, Leatherman also awards “bonus points” for beaches that prohibit such activity, according to the release.
Past winners, and more information on each of the beaches that made this year’s list, can be found at the Dr. Beach website.