Caladesi Island State Park has the second-best beach in the nation, according to coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, aka “Dr. Beach.”

The Florida International University professor recently released his 32nd annual Top 10 Beaches list, and Dunedin’s attraction has once again made the cut.

According to a press release, 50 criteria are used to assess beaches, including water and sand quality as well as safety and management. Bonus points are also awarded for banning smoking on the beaches.

In his comments, Leatherman said, “Caladesi is accessible by pedestrian ferry, private boats 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, soft and fluffy at the water’s edge, inviting bathing in the sparkling clear waters. There are walking trails, but my favorite are the kayaking and canoe through the mangroves to see the great blue herons and other birds that frequent this beautiful natural area.

Number 1 on his list is Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach off the coast of North Carolina.

Caladesi Island has made the list several times over the years. Last year it was ranked No. 7. He named it No. 1 in the United States in 2008 and No. 2 in 2007 and 2006.


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