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Dr. Beach Says Caladesi Island Among The Top 10 In The Country

Tourists visiting Caladesi Island this summer will be swimming in one of the nation’s best beaches.

With summer rolling in hot, one beach in the greater Tampa Bay region has been included among a list of the 2021 top 10 beaches in the country, according to a professor who studies beaches.

Caladesi Island, located in Dunedin and accessible only by boat or a short walk from north Clearwater Beach, ranks 7th in the US, according to Dr. Beach’s 2021 rankings.

Dr. Beach is Stephen Leatherman, a professor at Florida International University. He credits Caladesi’s white “crystalline quartz sand” and “sparkling clear waters” among the reasons why it’s a must-see destination.

“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 in his Caladesi summary.

According to the Florida State Parks website, Caladesi is one of the few untouched islands along the Gulf Coast.

That’s because it’s a quiet location that’s accessible by private boat or a ferry that operates out of the adjacent Honeymoon Island State Park.

One other Florida beach made the top 10 -- St. George Island in the Florida Panhandle.

This beach is located near Apalachicola, and Dr. Beach described it as “a favorite destination for beachgoers, anglers and bird watchers as nature abounds.”

Leatherman, a coastal scientist, has been ranking the country’s top 10 beaches for the last 31 years.

The No. 1 beach for this year is Hapuna Beach, located in Big Island, Hawaii.

The 2021 top 10 beaches are listed below in order from highest ranked to lowest ranked:

  • Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii
  • Coopers Beach, Southampton, N.Y.
  • Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
  • St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
  • Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina
  • Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
  • Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater.
  • Coronado Beach, San Diego, Calif.
  • Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, S.C.
  • Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Mass.
Leonardo Santos is the WUSF Rush Family Social Media Intern for the fall of 2021, his second straight semester with WUSF.