TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Caladesi Island State Park is the second best beach in the country, according to coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman.
Leatherman, a.k.a. “Dr. Beach” has ranked the country’s top 10 beaches every year since 1991. Criteria such as sand quality, crowds, noise and cleanliness all factor into the rankings.
Leatherman said Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach in North Carolina is the best beach in the nation.
“Ocracoke, once the home of Blackbeard the pirate, is still a special place—it is my favorite getaway beach,” Leatherman wrote. “Here you will find some of the wildest beaches in the country. Big surf dominates in late summer so families with children may want to come earlier in the year. Don’t expect to play golf or stay at the Ritz; the main pursuits are swimming and beachcombing.
Here’s what he had to say about Caladesi Island State Park:
“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.”-Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman
Only one other Florida beach appeared on this year’s list. St. George Island State Park in the Florida Panhandle was No. 4.
The complete 2022 list is below:
- Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
- Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
- Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
- St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
- Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
- Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina
- Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
- Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii
- Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
- Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
More information about each beach is on Dr. Beach’s official website.