The Best and Worst Beaches for Germophobes

Featured Article, Healthy Living, Healthy Travel
on July 3, 2013
Gulf Shores, Alabama is a beautiful beach to visit.
Thinkstock Gulf Shores, Ala.

Read this before you head to the beach: The Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC) has released its annual report on the cleanliness—or not—of beaches across the U.S.

The 13 “Five-Star Beaches” named had fewer than five percent of bacteria samples exceeding national standards from 2010 to 2012, among other criteria. In addition, 11 “Repeat Offenders” were fingered for having notoriously violated public health standards more than 25 percent of the time each year from 2008 to 2012, mostly due to pollution and stormwater runoff, which result in high bacteria counts.

Check this list of the NRDC’s best and worst beaches—you may want to adjust your vacation plans accordingly.

Five Star Beaches
Alabama: Gulf Shores Public Beach in Baldwin County
Alabama: Gulf State Park Pavilion in Baldwin County
California: Bolsa Chica Beach in Orange County
California: Newport Beach in Orange County (38th Street and 52nd/53rd Street)
California: San Clemente State Beach in Orange Count (Avenida Calafia and Las Palmeras)
Delaware: Dewey Beach-Dagsworthy in Sussex County
Delaware: Rehoboth Beach in Sussex County
Maryland: Ocean City at Beach 6 in Worcester County
Michigan: Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County
Minnesota: Park Point Franklin Park /13th Street South Beach Park Point in St. Louis County
Minnesota: Lafayette Community Club Beach in St. Louis County
New Hampshire: Hampton Beach State Park in Rockingham County
New Hampshire: Wallis Sands Beach in Rockingham County 

Repeat Offenders
California: Avalon Beach in Los Angeles County
Four out of five of this beach’s monitored sections had a range of 35 to 83 percent of collected bacteria samples exceeding state standards. One section even had 128 closing/advisory days.
California: Doheny State Beach in Orange County
While its bacteria samples were not nearly as high as Avalon Beach, six out of seven of Doheny Beach’s sections were still put on the offender’s list with one of the sections having 116 closing/advisory days.
California: Poche County Beach in Orange County
This beach was monitored twice a week and still had about two-thirds of its collected samples exceed state standards. In addition, Poche County Beach had a whopping 209 closing/advisory days with 120 of those days being extended or permanent advisories.
New Jersey: Beachwood Beach in Ocean County
This beach had a total of 13 closing/advisory days and 35 percent of its collected samples exceeded state standards.
Indiana: Jeorse Park Beach in Lake County
Both sections of this beach were monitored five times a week but still had 52 and 70 percent of its bacteria samples exceed standards.
New York: Ontario Beach in Monroe County
One-third of this beach’s bacteria samples were over state standards and had a total of 44 closing/advisory days, even though it had been monitored once a day.
Ohio: Lakeshore Park in Ashtabula County
This beach was monitored four times a week, but it still had 44 percent of its samples violate health standards.
Ohio: Euclid State Park in Cuyahoga County
Euclid State Park had been monitored once a day but 40 percent of collected bacteria samples violated state standards.
Ohio: Villa Angela State Park in Cuyahoga County
Villa Angela State Park makes the list once again with 42 percent of samples with high bacteria counts and 40 closing/advisory days.
Ohio: Edson Creek in Erie County
Edson Creek had the least contamination out of Ohio’s four repeat offenders, however that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the cleanest. It had 28 percent of bacteria samples violating health standards and 29 closing/advisory days.
Wisconsin: South Shore Beach in Milwaukee County
Out of the 65 bacteria samples collected, 43 percent exceeded state standards and had 46 closing/advisory days.

For more information on how to be safe at the beach or to see how your beach destination fared in the report, go to