Caladesi ranks second in Dr. Beach's ranking of the nation's top destinations
Caladesi Island, in Dunedin, climbed to No. 2 in Dr. Beach's national rankings — only one of two Florida beaches to make the top 10.
Last year, Caladesi Island ranked as the seventh best beach in the country, according Dr. Beach's annual rankings of the top beaches in the U.S.
In 2022, Dr. Stephen Leatherman — a professor at Florida International University — gave the Dunedin destination a bump by naming it as the No. 2 beach in the country.
Each year, Leatherman compiles his list of the top 10 beaches.
Caladesi was only one of two beaches in Florida to make Leatherman's top 10. St. George Island State Park, south of Tallahassee, came in at No. 4.
Topping the list was Okracoke Lifeguarded Beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks.
In ranking Caladesi, Leatherman cited the beach's "soft and cushy" sand as one of its top draws.
"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," Leatherman wrote.
According to the Florida Parks Service, Caladesi features "pristine beaches" as well as a nature walk trail.
It is adjacent to Honeymoon Island State Park and is accessible only by boat, ferry from Honeymoon Island, or a short walk from north Clearwater Beach. It is a popular destination among kayakers — which are available by rental along the Dunedin Causeway.
Here are the top 10 beaches, according to Dr. Beach:
- Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of N.C.
- Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin
- Coopers Beach, Southampton, N.Y.
- St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
- Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
- Lighthouse Beach, Buston, Outer Banks of N.C.
- Coronado Beach, San Diego
- Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii
- Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, S.C.
- Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Mass.