It's officially summer, and for most Americans, that means vacation (yessss!!)— and "vacation" for many is synonymous with "beach". But have you ever thought about just how clean those rolling waves that you (and your darling children) are splashing around in are? Pollution goes far beyond empty bottles and cans— I'm talking raw sewage, here. And, as we all know, nothing kills your vacation vibe faster than a bad case of hep A. Don't worry, that's a worst case scenario— but swimmers can easily catch a stomach bug (barf), pink eye (double barf), or even meningitis (ewww) from the sewage and "urban slobber" that frequently find its way into the ocean.
So which beaches should you avoid this summer? The National Resource Defense Council has put out a new report outlining the relative cleanness of America's sandy shores just in time for you to decide if you'd be better off cancelling your vacation and just diving into your local landfill— it's a much cheaper way to catch conjunctivitis. Without further ado, here are America's dirtiest beaches:
Malibu Lagoon State Beach: After riding the waves at this beach, you might find yourself riding a wave of nausea. If you want to be specific, the most offensive area is 50 yards East of the pier, but with all the waves and currents, I don't think I'd be willing to risk it.
Jeorse Park Beach: This water here is full of yuck, and I'm not just talking about the beachgoers (I kid, I kid). Seriously though, the beach is known for its struggles with high levels of E. coli— although thankfully, the beach closes when things get too gross. The prime suspect? Bird feces. Lots of it.
Cockle Cove Beach: This quaint little beach is popular with windsurfers and kayakers, plus families love the warm, calm water on the sandy shores. Bacteria seem to love it, too, since it's one of the NRDC's repeat offenders for uncleanliness.
Any beach along Lake Erie: It's no surprise that 75% of the beaches in Ohio had their water samples repeatedly exceed the safety threshhold. It's a known fact that the Cuyahoga River, which empties into Lake Erie, was so polluted that it not only caught fire, but it's gone up in flames no less than 13 times. While they done some major cleaning up since then, it's still got a long ways to go. Beaches to avoid include Lakeshore Park, Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site, and Villa Angela State Park.
South Shore State Park: Some beaches are just destined for grossness. According to a 2013 article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about this Wisconsin beach, director of disease control and environmental health for the City of Milwaukee Health Department Paul Biedrzycki says, "It clearly is not an optimal location for a public beach. It's located in a marina. It is surrounded by hard surfaces."
Ontario Beach Park: You might find yourself parked on the toilet after a trip to this beach park. There's a ton to do at this Rochester swimming staple: they've even got an antique carousel and boat launches, in case you want to go fishing (for germy pathogens).
Still want to brave the beach? Hit up one of our favorite surf spots!