There is only one thing wrong with a current online poll to decide North Carolina’s top beaches as far as David Pearson is concerned.

Hammocks Beach State Park hasn’t yet made it to the top of the leader board.

If you have ever been to Bear Island, the three-mile-long undeveloped barrier island beach that is part of the park, you’ll see why Pearson believes it is deserving of a top spot.

“It is the best beach in North Carolina,” said Pearson, president of Friends of the Hammocks and Bear Island. “It is a pristine beach. You don’t have the large crowd to contend with, it is family oriented and just a quality time.”

Pearson has been sharing links to the USA Today 10 Best North Carolina Beaches online readers’ choice poll.

Out of the 20 nominees, Hammocks Beach State Park currently stands at No. 11, one spot shy of the Top 10.

Bragging rights are the only thing at stake but Pearson says they have plenty to brag about.

“It should be No. 1,” he said.

Hammocks Beach State Park is among several area beaches in the running for the Top 10 list and voting is in its final week.

You can vote for your favorite beach once per day by going to Polls close April 2 at noon and the winning beaches will be announced on April 6.

Emerald Isle is at the top of the leader board with other area beaches also within the Top 10. Atlantic Beach, at the other end of Bogue Banks, stands at No. 4 and the Topsail Beach-Surf City area on Topsail Island is No. 4, as of Monday’s standings.

Two beaches within Cape Lookout National Seashore – Shackleford Banks and the lighthouse area beach – fall just behind Hammocks Beach State Park.

Topsail Beach won the readers’ choice award as Best Little Beach Town in the USA in an August 2016 survey conducted by TripAdvisor, the world’s largest online travel site.

Pender County Tourism Assistant Stephanie Key isn’t surprised to see Topsail back again as a contender for favorite beach.

“I have basically grown up 30 miles from Topsail Island and have been going to the Topsail Beach-Surf City area ever since,” said Key, who lives in Richlands and loves to getaway to the island for work and play.

Topsail Island stretches 26 miles, from North Topsail Beach in Onslow County to the north and the southern end of the island, including part of Surf City and Topsail Beach to the south in Pender County.

Key said Surf City serves as a hub of tourism for the island, with people out and about walking, biking, surfing, and sunbathing with enjoying the beach town’s shops, restaurants, the pier, and sound-side park.

If you just want to get away from it all and are looking for a more relaxed, nostalgic beach town feel, Topsail Beach is just to the south of Surf City and also in 2016 the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association recognized it as one of the best restored shorelines in the country.

Key said the Topsail Beach-Surf City area is worth the trip.

“You get a little bit of everything,” she said.

When the Town of Emerald Isle posted the link to vote on its Facebook page, not everyone was eager to see it on the list for best beach nominees.

They love the town’s small-town feel and want to keep it that way.

“Oh no, don’t give away our secret place,” wrote one commenter.


Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or