Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman, a coastal scientist and professor at Florida International University, has been ranking sand for over 30 years, and this year Florida wasn't well represented on his annual list.
Chosen by a 50 point criteria, which includes things like noise levels, traffic, smell, general access, algae in the water, rip currents and beach slopes, this year only two Florida beaches made the cut for “2021 Top 10 Beaches in the U.S."
At the top of the heap was the Panhandle’s St. George Island State Park at no. 4; Dunedin’s Caladesi Island State Park actually dropped a spot from last year and finished at no. 7.
"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,” said Dr. Beach. “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."
Here’s the full list:
- Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii
- Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
- 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, Florida
- Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
- Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
- Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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