TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Caladesi Island State Park is the second-best beach in the nation, according to coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman.
Leatherman, aka “Dr. Beach” has ranked the top 10 beaches in the country every year since 1991. Criteria such as sand quality, crowds, noise, and cleanliness all factor into the ranking.
Leatherman said Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach in North Carolina is the best beach in the country.
“Ocracoke, once the home of Blackbeard the Pirate, is still a special place – it’s my favorite beach getaway,” Leatherman wrote. “Here you will find some of the wildest beaches in the country. Great surf dominates in late summer, so families with children may want to come earlier in the year. Don’t expect to golf or stay at the Ritz; the main activities are swimming and walks on the beach.
Here’s what he had to say about Caladesi Island State Park:
“Caladesi can be reached by foot ferry, private boat, or a long walk north of Clearwater Beach; the cove is closed so Caladesi is no longer an actual island, but still a great getaway. The white beach is made up of crystal-clear quartz sand that is soft and fluffy at the water’s edge, inviting bathing in the sparkling clear waters. There are walking trails, but my favorite is the kayaking and canoeing trails through the mangroves to see the great blue herons and other birds that frequent this beautiful natural area.”
-Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman
Only one other Florida beach made this year’s list. St. George Island State Park in the Florida Panhandle was #4.
The full 2022 list is below:
- Lifeguard Beach in Ocracoke, Outer Banks of North Carolina
- Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
- Cooper’s Beach, Southampton, New York
- St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
- Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
- Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina
- Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
- Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii
- Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
- Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts