Study: Georgia beaches among the cleanest

Ever wondered how clean the water is at your favorite beach destination? A new report takes a closer look at shoreside waters across the country and shows that Georgia's are some of the cleanest.

Georgia ranked 8th in the country for beach water quality last year, according to the report.

In the past five years, Georgia beaches haven't gone more than 5 percent above the standard for water bacteria, based off samples from 27 beaches in the state.

But on a national level, beach closures and advisories skyrocketed 29 percent in 2010.

The report, released Wednesday by The Natural Resources Defense Council, recognizes beaches that exceeded health standards less than 5 percent of the time from 2008-2010.

The NRDC rewarded beaches that tested waters for bacteria more than once a week and notified beach goers when bacteria levels went above health standards. One star was awarded to a beach for each criteria met.

Of Georgia's 41 coastal beaches, Tybee Island North and Tybee Island Strand in Chatham County and East Beach Old Coast Guard Station in Glynn County garnered high acclaim for monitoring waters and keeping bacteria to a minimum.

St. Andrews Picnic Area in Jekyll got the worst marks for bacteria, exceeding the standard by 22 percent and reporting 114 closings or advisories due to high bacteria in 2010.

Other top destinations for Atlantans were also recognized. Daytona Beach in Florida was awarded two out of a possible five stars, Myrtle Beach in South Carolina got two stars and Panama City Beach Pier was given four stars. Hilton Head, S.C., received three stars.

The council awarded "Superstar Beach" status to four U.S. beaches that received a 5-star rating and had perfect testing results for the past three years:

  • Delaware: Rehoboth Beach-Rehoboth Avenue Beach in Sussex County
  • Delaware: Dewey Beach in Sussex County
  • Minnesota: Park Point Lafayette Community Club Beach in St. Louis County
  • New Hampshire: Hampton Beach State Park in Rockingham County

** See the complete list.