6. Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina

Lighthouse Beach boasts of the best surfing on the U.S. East Coast because of the large shoals offshore that focus wave energy on this beach where the Cape Hatteras Light once stood. The beach is also good for swimming because lifeguards are on duty, albeit families with small children might prefer at more gentle surf. The Outer Banks are steeped in history with the Wright Brothers making history more than a century ago with the first flight of an airplane. This coast is very dynamic and oftentimes there is a long spit just south of Lighthouse beach which is above water during low tide. I can remember walking out hundreds of feet on this narrow, low string of sand with the waves approaching from both directions, making me feel a bit like Moses in Biblical times. This area is also famous for surf fishing, especially during the fall season.