Best Beach in Florida 2024 is at Caladesi Island State Park

Florida State Parks Shine in Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beaches for 2024

For over three decades, Dr. Stephen Leatherman, known as “Dr. Beach,” has reviewed and rated beaches worldwide. His annual ranking of America’s Best Beaches is highly anticipated.

This year, two Florida State Parks have earned spots on Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beach List for 2024, highlighting the state’s natural beauty and commitment to preservation.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection proudly announces that Caladesi Island State Park and Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park are among the nation’s best beaches. Caladesi Island State Park is ranked No. 4, while Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park holds the No. 8 spot. These parks are celebrated for their white sand beaches, local wildlife, and state-of-the-art amenities.

“Caladesi Island and Delnor-Wiggins Pass state parks offer a look at some of the finest natural resources in the world,” said Florida State Parks Director Chuck Hatcher.

“We take great pride in our efforts to preserve and protect these gorgeous beaches for everyone to enjoy.”

Caladesi Island State Park

Located near Dunedin, Caladesi Island State Park is a natural gem along Florida’s Gulf Coast, accessible only by ferry or private boat. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing on its soft, white quartz sand. The park features a bayside mangrove forest for shaded paddling and the historic Scharrer Homestead amidst live oaks. Additional attractions include a 3-mile nature trail, surf-fishing, and boating.

Families and children play at the white sands at one of Florida's best beaches in Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park

Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

Situated in Naples, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park is renowned for its diverse shorebirds and wildlife. Activities include snorkeling the reef, hiking, birdwatching, fishing, picnicking, and paddling. Kayaking or paddleboarding through Wiggins Pass into the Gulf of Mexico offers a delightful afternoon at sea. From exploring mangrove swamps to relaxing on the beach, this park provides numerous recreational opportunities.

Dr. Beach, a coastal expert and professor at Florida International University, evaluates beaches using 50 criteria, including water color, clarity, sand softness, and park safety. His annual list, released since 1991, is a trusted guide for beachgoers.

Florida’s state park beaches have a history of high rankings in Dr. Beach’s surveys. Six parks have previously been named No. 1, showcasing the state’s commitment to maintaining pristine natural environments:

Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park, St. George Island (2023)
Grayton Beach State Park, Santa Rosa Beach (2020)
Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin (2008)
T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Port St. Joe (2002)
St. Andrews State Park, Panama City (1995)
Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys (1992)

Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beaches for 2024

  1. Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
  2. Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York
  3. Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii
  4. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin Clearwater, Florida
  5. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
  6. Main Beach, East Hampton, New York
  7. Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
  8. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Naples, Florida
  9. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
  10. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California

Plan your next beach adventure and explore the natural beauty that Florida’s top-rated state parks have to offer.

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