2014 Beach Report: 'Superstar' Seashores & Worst 'Repeat Offenders'

Surfer on the Beach
(Image credit: joyfull | Shutterstock.com)

A newly released report that graded the water quality of beaches across the United States found that 10 percent of the country's shores are contaminated or polluted.

The annual beach report, conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), discovered that one in 10 beaches in the coastal and Great Lakes region of the United States did not meet the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended standards for safe swimming.

The report found that many beaches across the country have polluted waters caused by stormwater runoff, overflowing sewage and other forms of bacterial contamination. The study was based on water samples collected last year from nearly 3,500 coastal and Great Lakes beaches. [Sand & Surf: The Best Beaches of 2014]

In addition to these troubling finds, the report identified 35 "superstar" beaches and 17 "repeat offenders." The NRDC singled out the superstar beaches for consistently scoring high with national water quality benchmarks — with samples meeting safety standards 98 percent of the time — over the past five years. The repeat offenders were so-named because sections of these seashores have had persistent pollution problems — with water samples failing to meet safety standards more than 25 percent of the time — over the past five years, according to the NRDC.

Here are the NRDC's "superstar" beaches (organized by state):


  • Gulf Shores Public Beach in Baldwin County
  • Gulf State Park Pavilion in Baldwin County
  • Dauphin Island Public Beach


  • Newport Beach in Orange County (one of three monitored sections - Newport Beach - 38th Street)


  • Dewey Beach-Swedes in Sussex County


  • Bowman's Beach in Lee County
  • Coquina Beach South in Manatee County
  • Fort Desoto North Beach in Pinellas County


  • Tybee Island North in Chatham County


  • Hapuna Beach St. Rec. Area in Big Island       
  • Po'ipu Beach Park in Kauai
  • Wailea Beach Park in Maui


  • Singing Beach in Essex County


  • 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 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


  • Westhaven State Park, South Jetty in Grays Harbor

Here are the NRDC's "repeat offenders" (organized by state):


  • Malibu Pier, 50 yards east of the pier, in Los Angeles County


  • Jeorse Park Beach in Lake County (both monitored sections - Lake Jeorse Park Beach I & Lake Jeorse Park Beach II)


  • Cockle Cove Creek in Barnstable County


  • 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


  • 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


  • South Shore Beach in Milwaukee County

Follow Denise Chow on Twitter @denisechow. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

Denise Chow
Live Science Contributor

Denise Chow was the assistant managing editor at Live Science before moving to NBC News as a science reporter, where she focuses on general science and climate change. Before joining the Live Science team in 2013, she spent two years as a staff writer for Space.com, writing about rocket launches and covering NASA's final three space shuttle missions. A Canadian transplant, Denise has a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, and a master's degree in journalism from New York University.