Caladesi Island’s "crystalline quartz" sand and "sparkling clear" water left an impression on Dr. Beach, who ranked it in his annual list of the country’s top 10 beaches.
Dr. Beach, or Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, is a professor and director for the Laboratory of Coastal Research at Florida International University. His annual lists have been released since 1991 in the days before the Memorial Day weekend.
Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin was one of two Florida beaches named to the top 10, coming in at No. 7 — the same distinction it earned in 2017.
Dr. Beach cited transportation, scenery and activities as factors behind the ranking.
"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," according to the Dr. Beach website. "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."
The only other Florida beach to make the list was Grayton Beach State Park in the Florida Panhandle at No. 3, up one spot from last year.
Siesta Key, ranked No. 1 in 2017, did not make the cut in 2018. Kapalua Bay Beach in Maui, Hawaii, earned the top spot.
DR. BEACH TOP 10:
1. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii
2. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
3. Grayton Beach State Park, Florida panhandle
4. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
5. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
6. Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outerbanks of North Carolina
7. Caladesi Island State Park
8. Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii
9. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
10. Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina