The NRDC’s ratings show Middle Atlantic beaches as the cleanest in the country.
Dewey Beach and Ocean City, Md.’s beach near 136th Street ranked as five-star beaches, the top rating given by the group. Only 12 beaches nationwide made that elite list.
New Hampshire holds the No. 2 spot for states states with the best beachwater quality, while North Carolina, another popular vacation destination for D.C.-area residents, ranked third in the nation. Virginia ranked sixth in the country, right behind Florida.
Nationally, bacterial contamination from stormwater runoff and sewage made 2011 of of the worst in decades for health-related closings.
Ocean City’s water was as clean as Delaware’s, but Maryland ranked No. 11 in the country, according to the group’s analysis of water testing.
Maryland has 70 coastal beaches including many on the Chesapeake Bay, which is subjected to more runoff and sewage than Atlantic Ocean beaches.
Top 5 Rankings by State
Alabama: Gulf Shores Public Beach
Alabama: Gulf State Park Pavilion
California: Bolsa Chica Beach
California: Huntington State Beach, Brookhurst Street
California: Newport Beach, 38th Street, 52nd/53rd Street
Delaware: Dewey Beach
Maryland: Ocean City at Beach 6 (136th Street)
Minnesota: Park Point Franklin Park / 13th Street South Beach
Minnesota: Park Point Lafayette Community Club Beach
New Hampshire: Hampton Beach State Park
New Hampshire: Wallis Sands Beach at Wallis Road
Texas: South Padre Island (Town of South Padre Island)