Ocracoke Named Best Beach In America

While the beaches in Florida and Hawaii are good, Dr. Beach says the best in the nation is a 300-yard stretch of shoreline on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Florida International University professor Stephen Leatherman has chosen a portion of Ocracoke Island as Number One in his 17th annual announcement of the nation's top ten beaches. It's such a remote location, not even his staff knew where it was.

It's the first year that Leatherman has chosen a beach outside Florida or Hawaii as the best.

Officially, he selected Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on the south end of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the island. He described it as 14 miles of unspoiled, undisturbed barrier beach and asked where does one find that in the world.

Dr. Beach tells WITN he picked Ocracoke because, "This is a unique area and Ocracoke is a getaway island . Don't bring your golf clubs and don't expect to go to a Hilton spa. I suggest people get reservations because there is limited access here in the number of accomodations. People need to realize it won't accomodate hundreds of thousands of people...on the other hand, in my opinion, the most popular beaches aren't necessarily the best beaches."

To get to Ocrocoke, visitors must rely on one of three ferries or private plane. The 2000 census lists its full-time population at 769 people who live on nine and a half square miles.