Once again, Caladesi Island State Park has one of the beaches in the country, according to coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, aka "Dr. Beach."
The Florida International University professor released his 33nd annual Top 10 Beach List recently, and the Dunedin attraction made the cut again, this time fourth on his list. In 2022, Caladesi was second.
Some 50 criteria used to evaluate beaches include water and sand quality, safety and management. Bonus points are also awarded for prohibition of smoking on beaches.
Said Leatherman: "Caladesi is reached by pedestrian ferry boat, private boats or a long walk north from Clearwater Beach. The inlet is closed, so Caladesi is no longer a true island but still a great getaway. The white beach is composed of crystalline quartz sand, which is soft and cushy at the water’s edge, inviting one to take a dip in the sparkling clear waters. There are boardwalk trails, but my favorite is the kayak and canoe trails through the mangroves to see the large blue herons and other birds that frequent this wonderful natural area."
No. 1 on his list this year is the beach at St. George Island State Park on the Florida panhandle.
Caladesi Island has made the list many times over the years. In 2021, it was ranked No. 7. He named it No. 1 in the U.S. in 2008 and No. 2 in 2007 and 2006.