Alabama, California, Maryland, Texas home to nation’s cleanest beaches


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If you’re headed to the beach in Alabama, California, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire or Texas this summer, you can swim a little easier knowing these states are home to the cleanest beaches in the United States.

The National Resources Defense Council tested 200 popular beaches around the country and awarded up to five stars to each beach for exceptionally low violation rates and strong testing and safety practices.

The following beaches earned five stars:

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
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)

According to the NRDC, the best beaches are the ones that test their waters more than once a week — letting you know when bacteria levels go beyond what’s considered healthy — and do a good job of informing you via postings online and at the beach when it’s unsafe to splash around in the water. To see where your local beach ranks, click here.

While it’s true we can’t control all of the pollution that ends up in our waters and on our beaches, we can still do our part to keep our shores safe and clean for everyone to enjoy. The following tips come courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

When at home, regularly maintain your septic system, avoid using chemical fertilizers or pesticides on your lawn and garden, dispose of trash properly and recycle motor oil at your local service shop.

When at the beach, avoid walking on sensitive dunes to help reduce erosion, don’t leave your trash on the beach, use public restrooms, cut up plastic six-pack holders, dispose of boat sewage in onshore sanitary facilities, and leave wildlife and plants alone.