Caladesi Island State Park has the second-best beach in the country, according to coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, aka "Dr. Beach."
The Florida International University professor released his 32nd annual Top 10 Beach List recently, and the Dunedin attraction once again made the cut.
According to a news release, 50 criteria are used to evaluate beaches, including water and sand quality as well as safety and management. Bonus points are also awarded for prohibition of smoking on beaches.
In his comments, Leatherman said, "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 is Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach off the North Carolina mainland.
Caladesi Island has made the the list many times over the years. Last year, it was ranked No. 7. He named it No. 1 in the U.S. in 2008 and No. 2 in 2007 and 2006.