Ocracoke Lifeguard Beach, Outer Banks, North Carolina, is located to the north of Ocracoke Village on Ocracoke island, located 26 miles off the Carolina Coast in the Atlantic Ocean. The island where the beach is found is a half mile wide and 16 miles long. It is part of the 72 mile Cape Hatteras National Seashore which was established in 1953; it was the first National Seashore designated by the U.S. and is under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Service.
Norfolk International Airport in Norfolk, Virginia, is the closest major airport to Ocracoke. The beach can be reached by boat, ferry or by small plane.
Lifeguards from the National Park Service are on duty daily, from 9 AM to 6 PM, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. There are restrooms as well as changing rooms available at this beach.
Ocracoke Lifeguard Beach, Outer Banks, North Carolina is famed for its natural splendor, bereft of large constructions and also for its clean water. There are no large resort hotels on the island.
In 2007 it was named the number one beach in the United States by Professor Stephen P. Leatherman of the Florida International University. Leatherman, who is better known as Dr. Beach, has made a list of the nation's Top 10 Beaches since 1991 based on a prior study of 650 U.S. public beaches and on 50 criteria of analysis. The Carolina beach was the first beach outside of Florida or Hawaii to have ever reached the number one spot on the list. Having reached the rating as best beach in 2007 this beach was retired from the running in the future.
The beach is on the Atlantic Ocean with the Palmico Sound on the opposite side of the island from the beach. This area is said to have been a favorite spot for Blackbeard the pirate. The difficulties for ships navigating in front of this beach and its shoreline earned the area the name of the Graveyard of the Atlantic. The US-English War of 1812 as well as numerous hurricanes contributed to leaving destroyed and wrecked ships in the waters off the coast of this beach.
Surfing, kite boarding, parasailing and snorkeling are popular at Ocracoke Lifeguard Beach, Outer Banks, North Carolina, and equipment can be rented from shops near the beach.
Boats for chartering can be found at the nearby Anchorage Marina; they are available for half day or full day deepwater fishing tours off the coast of Lifeguard Beach. The marina also has full facilities for boaters coming to visit the beach.
Beach visitors have options of staying at hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, camping or, as mentioned above, on their own boat docked at the slips of the nearby Anchorage Marina.
There are approximately 700 people (52% women) that reside on Ocracoke Island, where the Lifeguard Beach is found. 95% of the inhabitants are white.