Caladesi Island is the 7th best beach in the country, according to Dr. Beach

photo of a island with clear blue water and large clouds in the sky

Caladesi Island, a hot spot in Dunedin that you’ll need to take a boat visit, is the 7th best beach in the country according to Dr. Beach.

Here’s what Dr. Beach had to say about Caladesi Island:


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.

Want to visit Caladesi Island? Hop on the Caladesi Island Ferry.

Caladesi Island offers dreamy, undisturbed nature trails

The island features stunning nature trails, and a 3-mile kayak trail.

While at Caladesi Island, make sure to admire the mangroves. Red mangroves are the most abundant form of mangrove tree in the park. Red mangrove seeds drop off the tree already forming roots. If they land in soil, they’ll immediately begin to take root and form a new mangrove tree. If they land in water, they will float along the water’s surface, eventually finding a new area where they can grow.

Various plant species, including beach elders and sea oats, grow on the dunes, their roots holding the sand in place and stabilizing the dunes.


Cabbage palms and live oaks rise above smaller shrubs such as temperate wax myrtle in what is known as a maritime hammock habitat, according to Florida State Parks. The Parks organization continues, “This habitat is entwined with mesic flatwoods, in which slash pine trees tower high above saw palmettos, their pine needles covering the forest floor. Ospreys often nest in these woods, and below the trees gopher tortoises dig their long burrows.”

One of only two Florida beaches to make the list

The only other Florida beach to make the cut was St. George Island State Park in the Panhandle.

For over three decades, Dr. Stephen Leatherman (“DrBeach“) has reviewed, evaluated and rated beaches and coastal areas throughout the world. 

Leatherman is an American geoscientist, coastal ecologist, and author. He was the first director of the International Hurricane Research Center at Florida International University, from 1997 to 2009. 

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