America’s Cleanest—And Most Polluted—Beaches

2015-04-17T08:40:24+00:00 July 1, 2014|


From its analysis, NRDC has also compiled a list of “Superstar” beaches and “Repeat Offenders.” According to the group’s water survey, 35 beaches across 14 states have water quality that consistently meets safety thresholds. These beaches, dubbed “Superstars,” met national water quality benchmarks 98 percent of the time over the past five years. 

On the other side of the spectrum, NRDC has named 17 “Repeat Offenders,” which are beaches that have consistently shown water pollution problems—their water samples have failed to meet public health benchmarks a quarter of the time between 2009 and 2013.

Here’s a glimpse of the best and worst:

Best Beach: Dewey Beach, Sussex County, DE (Flickr user Jennifer Murawski)
Best Beach: Gulf Shores Public Beach, Baldwin County, AL (Flickr user Peter Clark)
Best Beach: Gulf Shores Public Beach, Baldwin County, AL (Flickr user John Tuggle)
Best Beach: Wallis Sands Beach, Rockingham County, NH (Flickr user not on your nelly)
Best Beach: Newport Beach, Orange County, CA (Flickr user Ken Lund)
Best Beach: A seal chills out, not too worried about its health because its at Westhaven State Park, WA (Eric Khambatta)
Best Beach: Assateague State Park, MD (Town of Ocean City, MD)
Best Beach: Tybee Island North, GA (Deb Barreiro)
Worst Beach: Ontario Beach, NY (Flickr user S Karr)
Worst Beach: South Shore Beach, WI (Wisconsin Beach Health)
Worst Beach: Malibu Pier, CA (-Scipio-)

And here’s the full list.

Best Beaches:

  • Alabama: 
    • Gulf Shores Public Beach in Baldwin County
    • Gulf State Park Pavilion in Baldwin County
    • Dauphin Island Public Beach
  • California: 
    • Newport Beach – 38th Street
  • Delaware:
    • Dewey Beach-Swedes in Sussex County
  • Florida
    • Bowman’s Beach in Lee County
    • Coquina Beach South in Manatee County
    • Fort Desoto North Beach in Pinellas County
  • Georgia: 
    • Tybee Island North in Chatham County
  • Hawaii: 
    • Hapuna Beach St. Recreation Area in Big Island       
    • Po’ipu Beach Park in Kauai
    • Wailea Beach Park in Maui
  • Massachusetts: 
    • Singing Beach in Essex County
  • Maryland: 
    • Point Lookout State Park in St Mary’s County
    • Assateague State Park in Worcester County
  • North Carolina: 
    • Ocean Pier at Main St. and Sunset Blvd. in Brunswick County
    • Beach at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Dare County
    • Ocean Pier at Salisbury Street in Wrightsville Beach in New Hanover  
    • Ocean Pier at Ocean Blvd. and Crews Ave. in Topsail Beach in Pender County           
  • New Hampshire:
    • Hampton Beach State Park in Rockingham County
    • Wallis Sands Beach at Wallis Rd. in Rockingham County
    • Wallis Sands State Park in Rockingham County
  • New Jersey: 
    • Washington (Margate) in Atlantic County
    • 40th St. (Avalon) in Cape May County
    • 40th St. (Sea Isle City) in Cape May County
    • Stone Harbor at 96th St. in Cape May County
    • Upper Township at Webster Rd. in Cape May County
    • Wildwood Crest at Orchid in Cape May County
    • Broadway (Pt. Pleasant Beach) in Ocean County
  • New York:
    • Long Beach City in Nassau County
  • Virginia: 
    • Virginia Beach at 28th St. in Virginia Beach County    
    • Virginia Beach at 45th St in Virginia Beach County
    • Back Bay Beach in Virginia Beach County
    • Virginia Beach – Little Island Beach North in Virginia Beach County
  • Washington: 
    • Westhaven State Park, South Jetty in Grays Harbor


Worst Beaches: 

  • California:
    • Malibu Pier, 50 yards east of the pier, in Los Angeles County 
  • Indiana:
    • Jeorse Park Beach in Lake County (both monitored sections):
      • Lake Jeorse Park Beach I 
      • Lake Jeorse Park Beach II
  • Massachusetts: 
    • Cockle Cove Creek in Barnstable County
  • Maine: 
    • Goodies Beach in Knox County
  • New Jersey:
    • Beachwood Beach in Ocean County
  • New York: 
    • Main Street Beach in Chautauqua County
    • Wright Park – East in Chautauqua County
    • Ontario Beach in Monroe County
  • Ohio:
    • Lakeshore Park in Ashtabula County
    • Arcadia Beach in Cuyahoga County
    • Euclid State Park in Cuyahoga County
    • Noble Beach in Cuyahoga County
    • Sims Beach in Cuyahoga County
    • Villa Angela State Park in Cuyahoga County
    • Edson Creek in Erie County
  • Wisconsin:
    • South Shore Beach in Milwaukee County

Want to learn more about how to keep you and your family safe at the beach this summer? Check out this video, courtesy of NRDC, which shows how to protect yourself and your family from potentially hazardous, polluted water.