When I happened upon an article on CNN.com titled, “Florida’s Caladesi Island named nation’s best beach,” and subsequently realized that it was not but a few miles from Tampa, Florida, I figured I better go check it out. I mean, if “Dr. Beach” says its cool then it must be cool, right?
Stephen P. Leatherman, a Florida International University professor dubbed “Dr. Beach” has been compiling his list of the nation’s top beaches since 1991. He takes in to account many different factors including, amenities, remoteness, quality of sand and water, and undoubtedly, the opportunity for peace and relaxation.
All in all Caladesi Island was pretty nice. The fact that there is a regularly scheduled ferry to the island should give you a pretty good idea you are not going to have the beach to yourself. When you see the boats and jet skis buzzing the waters edge you are sure. The reality is that there is hardly any beaches in Florida near a metropolitan area that are going to be completely isolated from weekend crowds. Reminds me of Carl Hiassen’s recent appearance on the Stephen Colbert show. When Colbert asked Hiassen if he was concerned that global warming would cause the seas to rise and cover Florida he responded, “I am more concerned with Florida sinking under the weight of more than 18,000,000 people.”
My wife and I opted for sea kayaks and enjoyed exploring the back side of the island, as well as the front side. Despite the healthy population of people, the beautiful blue water and natural scenery do make for an idyllic setting. The only other nagging aspect that detracted from it all was the fact that you could see development in the distance no matter which way you looked. There are other beaches in Florida, as well as other places in our nation, where you do not encounter this.
There is a sizeable marina on the back side of Caladesi Island that allows for large yachts and motor boats to anchor for the day or night. The highlight of my day was coming across one particular yacht that had been named, “Reel Sex.” My immediate reaction was that this particular boating enthusiast likes to catch fish and then have sex with them. One can only assume that the rest of the time he hangs out around beach bars with his collar up “Luring the Ladies.”
To each his own, right? Some people want to go to a beach to socialize, others want to escape humanity. I’m just not sure that I would call Caladesi Island the nation’s best beach; but I am not a doctor of beaches either.