DUNEDIN, Fla. (FOX 13) - The annual "Dr. Beach" list proves once more that Florida has some of the best spots in the country.
With its soft, white sand and crystal-clear waters, Caladesi Island State Park in the Dunedin-Clearwater area came in at No. 7 on the 2019 list of the best beaches in the U.S.
But the local beach is not the only Florida location to make the list: Grayton Beach State Park in the Panhandle made an even stronger showing at No. 3.
Hawaii's Kailua Beach Park on Oahu took the top spot for 2019.
Sarasota's Siesta Beach had been ranked No. 1 back in 2017.
Dr. Beach, whose real name is Dr. Stephen Leatherman, is a professor at Florida International University. He has been reviewing, evaluating, and rating beaches and coastal areas all over the world for more than 25 years. Each year, he releases a list of the top 10 beaches in America.
To pick the best beaches, he judges each by 50 criteria such as average water temperature and softness of the sand.
Dr. Beach's description of Caladesi Island makes it clear why he ranked it among the best beaches in America:
"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."
Here's the full Top 10 list of 2019's best beaches:
1. Kailua Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii
2. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
3. Grayton Beach State Park Florida Panhandle
4. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
5. Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
6. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
7. Caladesi Island State Park Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida
8. Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii
9. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
10. Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina