With kids and young adults getting out of school for the summer, everyone has one thing in mind: Where is the nearest pool or beach to go and have some fun in this hot summer sun?
Hitting up a local pool or beach is one of the most popular ways to spend those hot summer days. A beach trip can be a great vacation for couples or families. Plus, there's all the the trips with friends in search of a fun getaway. No matter the company, a beach adventure can be fantastic. However, not all beaches are created equal at the end of the day. There are some secluded hot spots that very few people know about, and those aware make the choice to visit each year. Meanwhile, there are a number of beaches that are common knowledge and often swarmed with wave-riders and tanners alike.
Regardless of location, there are some gorgeous places that are incredibly clean and well managed by the beach staff. However, there are others that are mismanaged and horribly taken care of. They could even be considered dangerous. In this list, we're going to be highlighting 24 such places. We'll go over the clean and dirty beaches the world should know about. You can then evaluate which of them you'd rather go to (or avoid!). That said, we hope you enjoy our list of the 12 cleanest beaches in the world and 12 that may make you cringe
24 Dirtiest: Virginia Beach - Watch Out For Foxes And Feral Pigs
In the United States, one of the most popular and well-known beaches is Virginia Beach. The beach itself covers a long stretch of coastline. However, Virginia Beach is commonly an issue for people who visit the area. It sits at a Naval Base, which makes some feel secure.
The assumption is that being near a Naval Base would mean everyone was safe from any possible issue in the ocean and they would be useful in cleaning the beach as often as possible. In reality, this ranks as one of the most dangerous beaches to visit as well as one of the dirtiest at times.
The beach sits between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, both significantly large US cities. This means that it's a great, central place for people from various areas to make their way to the shore. But be warned, as animal attacks are very common. This is especially true if you take your own pet with you, as foxes are said to be a huge issue here. They come out during the day and when the beach is crowded without a care in the world. They often go right for the pet and at times, even small children. Considering food is also brought to the beach a lot, they'll sniff out their lunch and attack anyone near it.
Feral pigs are also rampant here and can attack anyone. Due to the extreme amount of animals both brought and local, the amount of urine and feces on the beach and right on the shore at the water is relatively high. This means it is not the best place for kids or pets, on top of the fact that it is not as clean as it would need to be.
23 Cleanest: Fraser Island Beach - Red Sand? Don't Mind If I Do
The Fraser Island Beach sits in Queensland, Australia. It ranks as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and for good reason. The coral colored sand is an amazing sight for locals and tourists alike. UNESCO loved the beach so much, they made it a World Heritage Site. This pushed the council to make sure it was as clean as possible, as this sort of title does not come lightly. Fraser Island have held this status from UNESCO since 1992, and they have kept up their great work at making the beach beautiful for anyone who comes by to enjoy it. The overall beach itself is just amazing from the natural beauty, creatures and nature that comes with it.
It is the home of beautiful flora and fauna, which ultimately make the look of the beach and water different from any place outside the nation. The sand is reddish due to the coral influence and the clay in the area called Hermatite, and the water is sometimes affected by this around late afternoon. With all of this combined, any sunset or sunrise here can be next to paradise.
To top it off, if you're a bird fan, you'll come across at least 350 types of birds in the area! While the island does have smaller lakes and creeks within it, the main beach is where the true magic happens to be. Though you may come across the Australian dingo here. Be aware of them, as wild ones can be an issue on top of other wildlife. This is Australia, people. Be warned as well that summer in North America is not summer for Australians. So it is actually getting colder instead of warmer at this time of the year.
22 Dirtiest: Blackpool Beach - Watch Out For Broken Glass
Blackpool Beach is located in Blackpool, England. It happens to be one of the worst beaches to go to in the entire world. It often depends who you speak with, as there are some who have been here and seem to enjoy it. The locals come here without as much complaint, but The UK has a ton of good beaches that Blackpool Beach does not hold a candle to. In many areas, there are beach standards held because of the fact that people from around the world visit. However, Blackpool Beach ranks near the bottom in most any standard.
It's no secret that the UK population doesn't mind a beverage or two, so the beach features many nearby pubs. Sometimes this has become an issue, as some drunkards take to the beach to fight, even leaving broken bottles for people to step on with their bare feet!
Blackpool as a city has had cleanliness problems for decades, and their beach is no exception. They consistently have tons of issues on the beach with no one truly taking care of it to make it a better environment. One publication claimed beaches are meant to be a place where stress is cut down, but Blackpool adds more stress than you came in with.
21 Cleanest: Like, Anywhere In The Maldives - Think Of Every Crystal-Clear Water Poster You've Seen
You'll often hear wealthy people rave about the Maldives, and this is not because you have to be rich to go there. It is simply a common destination for those who wish to spend their time in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Celebrities love the area due to the fact that it is pretty spread out, and all areas people stay are private. The Maldives are a chain of 26 islands. They are scattered throughout various areas on the Indian Ocean. Due to being a huge tourist destination, they have easy to afford travel packages for people who wish to stay at one of their 4 or 5-star resorts or local hotels. There are a ton of islands and beaches to visit in the area such as the Reethi Beach, Biyadhoo Lagoon, and many many more.
That said, we could never just advise one, as they're all very clean and VERY well taken care of. The Maldives have a huge image to keep up and tourism is literally how the locals make money the entire year. If the islands were not well-managed, especially the beaches, they would not have this.
The water is as blue as can be, with the yellow sand being movie perfect. The places are cleaned daily to prevent any trash from causing a problem. The rich ecosystem has allowed for people to literally see into the clear water from 20 feet up at times. All islands offer something different, making it a must-visit for all of them.
20 Dirtiest: Kamilo Beach - It's A Sad Reality Most Of Us Ignore
It is a sad sad situation, Kamilo Beach. It can be found in one of the most beautiful states the U.S. has, Hawaii. It is located specifically in a place called Naalehu, which is not actually a dirty area overall. However, if you merely look up Kamilo Beach on Google, and we welcome that you do, you'll notice one key thing.
Kamilo is recognized worldwide for the debris it has. Most of the trash comes courtesy of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This means that no matter how much the people of Naalehu take care of the area and pick up trash, it'll continue.
This Patch is very unique, in that due to winds and current, any trash that ends up in the Pacific Ocean anywhere close to the Patch vortex gets picked up. The Patch happens to be between Hawaii and California, which is a much larger distance than people may assume. This vortex of crazy trash ends up on the lands eventually, with various Californian places being in its way. However, Kamilo Beach often sees some of the worst of it. The beach is not normally permitted for swimming or anything of the sort, but they do welcome people who would like to help clean up the trash.
19 Cleanest: Arugam Bay
This beautiful beach is located in Sri Lanka and is ranked among the most beautiful in the world. There is a HUGE beach in the area but with numerous lagoons, it is a place that can house a million people and still have room. Obviously, Sri Lanka is considered beautiful in its own right, but the addition of the Arugam Bay makes it a must visit beach if you ever get the chance to head out on a trip to Asia. The continent of Asia has several great beaches, so standing out among them all takes a heck of a lot.
Arugam Bay has natural waves that form thanks to its location and shape, which makes it a big target for surfers looking to catch a big wave. Unfortunately, this area and countless nearby was hit by a tsunami in 2004 that destroyed a good portion of the beach. Due to the people's love of the beach, dedicated recovery efforts allowed for it to become arguable even better than it once was. The people of Sri Lanka, as well as frequent visitors, helped to restore the beach to its once beautiful self. As a result, it is a tremendous place filled with great spots for tourists and locals. It is tremendously clean, good for kids, and worth a visit any day of the year.
18 Dirtiest: Xinghai Beach - Too Many People To Have A Good Time
Located in Dalian, China, the Xinghai Beach is seemingly well-liked by locals. There's one major issue with the beach, and that's the crowd. China houses over one billion people, and many are close enough to the beach to go on a weekend or given weekday. In addition to them, various Koreans, Japanese, and other tourists visit the beach throughout the year. It is often hosting crowds so large that it is almost impossible to deal with or keep up with everyone and everything. Lifeguards here are constantly busy, which makes sense of course.
The overcrowded nature has caused for the beach to be constantly cluttered with trash that the cleaning teams can never completely get rid of. While the beach itself, without people, is quite beautiful when taken care of, people ruin it.
As a sad result of the mismanaged beach and crowds, the beach has turned from what could be considered one of the better Asian beaches into a local hangout that is equivalent to kids hanging outside grocery stores. We are saddened that a beach with so much potential is hurt by people of the area when it could be avoided.
17 Cleanest: Matira Beach - A Slice Of Heaven On Earth
When you think about what a beach is supposed to look like, an almost movie perfect type of beach, it's likely you're thinking about a place like Matira Beach. It is located in the beautiful Bora Bora, which is a well-known vacation and honeymoon spot for a very good reason. It's seriously one of the nicest areas in the world, which has high tourism for more of the wealthy types. That does not mean a trip to this beach is going to cost an arm and a leg, however. It is mostly their resorts that will hurt you. Matira Beach has white sand that can be considered beautiful during a sunny day. The beach stretches about a mile long, giving plenty of room for people wishing to visit.
When people talk about paradise spots, Bora Bora is clearly going to rank high on that very list. More importantly, Matira Beach will rank highly. The island has a number of beaches on it, but it seems like this particular one has become the most popular among them, As a result, the island has made sure to keep it very clean. Tourists who spend a lot year-round will want to see something nice, of course. Bora Bora has a huge tourist business, and they will not let their business be hurt by dirty beaches. Thanks to this, we have a really nice place that is seriously picture perfect.
16 Dirtiest: Pattaya Beach - A City With No Pride
The Pattaya Beach is located in Pattaya, Thailand and considered terrible by most. Thailand has been an interesting area for tourists for many years now, especially those looking to visit some of the older sites. However, Thailand overall has some nice resorts and hotels that have been well-liked for years. Pattaya does not present any of this for tourists, and it has seemingly taken the tourism business in a terrible direction.
When people talk about not going to places where you might lose a kidney, Pattaya ranks among them. While the country boasts some stunning, wonderful locations, the city of Pattaya is not one of them.
This has resulted in their overall city being a tourist trap in every literal way you can consider. They have cheap hotels and bars, which often make tourists think of it as a good value...it's not. On top of this, they have multiple stripping areas and prostitutes that prey on young men. This can lead to some issues down below as well as, as we mentioned earlier, an organ being taken. The Pattaya beach is extremely dirty after you take away everything else. Numerous amounts of trash can often be seen at the shore, and it seems like the area has no pride in its beach. This is sad as well, as proper treatment of it could be huge for the area.
15 Cleanest: El Nido - Ideal for Cheap Scuba And Kayaking
The Philippines have attempted to ramp up their tourist side for the last number of years. The Asian territory is one of the few that people can go to where the locals speak perfect English, as they are taught the language along with their local Spanish. Due to their economy being so bad, however, they often need to bring in tourists to help. This has led to the area pushing to clean up its environment where people might want to visit. That is where El Nido comes into play. It is considered by many to be one of the best beaches in the world due to the way it looks as well as everything it provides around it.
The ecological beauty is big in its own right. You'll see tropical fish here that are not found in other parts of the world. Scuba diving and kayaking are quite a common occurrence for beachgoers, and they even have lessons for people who don't know how to do either. They have gorgeous lagoons connected to the beach and great hotels and places to eat right on the sand. Due to the economic issues of the area, most of the things one tries to do here will be very cheap. Think of the Mexican Peso, then half its value. That is where the Peso of the Philippines happens to be.
14 Dirtiest: Doheny Beach - Beachgoers Literally Swim In Trash...
Located in the city of Dana Point, this California beach has the luxury of being considered one of the dirtiest places on the planet, not just beaches! Remember the Garage Patch we referenced earlier? Doheny Beach falls under it in a big way, meaning it gets a lot of trash on its shore year-round. To their credit, they have been known to pick some of it up. However, there seems to be a lack of effort by many. This has resulted in beachgoers literally swimming in trash. We're completely serious about that too, as there have been multiple complaints about it over the years.
The trash could be considered a major issue, but some can forgive it due to what we know of regarding the Patch it's in. The worst part of the beach is the massive amount of bacteria issues it deals with.
Fecal matter is often a major problem in the water, thus bacterial problems within the waters are commonplace. Some assume this means animals are doing their business and it reaches the shore... but we're talking the human stuff.
We know, we were disgusted too. It falls under Coliform bacteria, which is considered to be one of the biggest health threats one can deal with in the water. If you go here, be warned, you'll be dealing with some issues.
13 Cleanest: Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach - Thank You Mother Nature For This One!
If people want to see one of the most beautiful and natural places on the planet, they should check out Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach. It is located inside the State Park of Wai'anapanapa in the outskirts of Hana. This is on the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii. It may take quite a long time to reach Maui, and this writer knows the experience personally. However, the beach ranks among the best on the planet due to the fact that it is affected by the volcano in the area. While it has not been active very often, the ash over the years developed the sand surrounding it. This led to Maui having several black sand beaches, including this one. The island is far bigger than people give it credit for, resulting in a ton for people to do.
The Wai'anapanapa State Park allows for people to see its amazing beach, but at the same time, you can experience all the other great things one can do around it. They have inland pools called Anchialine Pools that formed in the small caves on the island and tons more cool things one can discover. This includes witnessing small red shrimp unique to the area. The locals call them Opae’ula, so remember this when you go. The caves overall can be terrific. The natural material made from centuries of formation has led to naturally made blowholes and land bridges, as well as stone arches. The people who run the park are very prideful and take care of the area very well. This makes it one of the cleanest and best places to go, especially for families.
12 Dirtiest: The Goa Beaches - Would You Swim In A Cow's Toilet? Didn't Think So
The Goa Beaches in India are considered to be quite popular for people to visit, but this is part of the problem. Like the Chinese one above, India is filled with over a billion people. As a result, these beaches are often stacked with locals on the regular. When tourists do come to the beaches, things get worse.
There is no pride in the beaches seemingly. Broken bottles can be found all over the sand, as well as mining runoff. If that wasn't enough, they have sewage running off from local hotels RIGHT IN THE WATER NEAR YOU!
Another major issue is the problem revolving around India and their cows. People know by now that India believes Cows are sacred. As a result, they're often given 5-star treatment by the people here, and nothing from a cow is consumed usually. The cows are free-roaming, and often can be seen on the beaches. They can become a bit threatening if angered, but people do all they can to avoid this. Sadly, the cows often "do their business" right on the beaches or near the water. This further contaminates it. Combined with sewage from hotels and cows... do we really need to say much more? We didn't think so.
11 Cleanest: Peyto Lake - Canadians Are Nice But Their Nature Is Nicer
Any good Canadian knows a few things. You're going to naturally be nice to people, hockey is great, and Peyto Lake is a must-see place. Peyto Lake can be found in Alberta, Canada. Though it does not have a lot of sand around it, the lake is considered to be one of the most beautiful sights in the world. The water is incredibly clear and the surrounding area can be considered breathtaking. The clear water and blue hue come from the icy meltwater and silt from the Peyto Glacier and Wapta Icefields. It is likely that you're going to see pictures of this place in many, many areas, which makes sense considering the obscene beauty of it. One would likely be able to get their best picture from Lake Louise close by.
The Peyto Lake resides within Banff National Park. When people hike down to it, they could easily kayak around on it. The waters are relatively calm, so it's an easy place to paddle and just enjoy. Obviously being in Canada, it's not always a place where people can get in the water. It is likely one would want to go down to Banff's natural hot springs, which you can visit any time of year and enjoy the warmth. Overall, the lake and things around it are clean likely due to the lack of visitation but also due to it being in a national park. Canadians are obviously taking good care of it, and want to keep it that way.
10 Dirtiest: Haina Beach - A.K.A 'The Dominican Chernobyl', Yikes!
Located in the Dominican Republic, one would assume that tourism would be an important factor in a nation that has so much to offer in that department. The Dominican Republic does not disagree, but they have not been trying too hard. There is no better example to this than what you can find at Haina Beach, one of the worst and dirtiest beaches on the planet. While the overall city can be considered relatively nice, Santo Domingo's Haina Beach has a lot of problems.
It has been literally called "the Dominican Chernobyl." We know, we were shocked as well. What seems to be causing this issue is an illegal plant in the area that has not been properly recycling car batteries for years now.
This has led to tons of lead being detected in the sand and soil, which make is a very unsafe place to be. While the DR does not tell people they cannot go to the beach, they're often pushed to one of the better beaches in the area for good reason. Haina Beach has been removed from any travel brochures about the area, which in turn has made the beach less populated thankfully. All of this could have been stopped if local authorities had gotten involved in stopping the illegal plant. But hey, that would be too easy right?
9 Cleanest: Egremni Beach - Water As Clear As Clear Can Be
It is likely you'll come across a lot of popular beaches in the world, but few can rank higher than Egremni Beach to people who frequent the Eastern side of the planet. The reason has to do often do with the water. It's as clear as can be, allowing for people to see an amazing beach but also amazing underwater material. This has allowed for tremendous scuba diving as well as snorkeling for tourists and locals alike. Located on the Lefkada Island, the beach sits inside the country of Greece. Obviously, Greece is known for its time in history, and one of the most common things spoken about the area had to do with its shores.
There's a reason for this. Anyone who went past the Lefkada Island or any place surrounding it were treated to something extraordinary. It is located on the Ionian Sea, allowing for it to boast the crystal clear water. It is considered the best of the local seas due to the beauty it provides. It branches off the Mediterranean Sea, which has allowed for diverse wildlife to come into play here. To top it all off, there are tons of places to stay and countless activities to enjoy right near the shore, or on it. Locals claim that if you hike down some ersatz stairs, though steep, it'll thin crowds and you can enjoy the beach on a new level.
8 Dirtiest: Port Phillip Bay - Australia Boasts Amazing Beaches... This Isn't One Of Them
Australia is a beautiful country with lots of amazing places. There is beautiful wildlife all around as well as wonderful beaches. That's unless you're referring to Port Phillip Bay. Located in Vitoria, this beach ranks as one of the worst in the world as well as one of the most unclean. The reason for this truly isn't the fault of the beach itself, but rather the governance of Australia. A little over a decade ago, the region changed up its wastewater and storm runoff systems. This put 300 drains into Port Phillip Bay, which empty the stuff all the time. Naturally, this meant that an abundance of trash would land in the beach.
Common items seen are broken glass, plastics, as well as used syringes and needles. And all of these things just wash onto the shoreline, because of course, they would right? Due to all of this, bacteria in the water significantly went up and made it pretty unsafe to be.
The water has taken a bad smell to it as well, making it a sad place to be. It is said that Lifeguards do what they can for the beach, but it's too much to really handle for them. Some believe the place should just be closed off to the public, and that might be best at the end of the day. You'd be much better off driving 30 minutes west to some of the country's best surfing beaches; Torquay or Bells Beach.
7 Cleanest: Devil's Bay - It Should Be Called Angel's Bay If You Ask Us
With a name like Devil's Bay, most would not consider this place a must-visit. That is the point, however. The name may give it a bad thought in your brain, but it's not exactly deserving of it. Located on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, Devil's Bay has been around a long time but is rarely traveled to. The reason for this is likely due to how much one has to do to get there. When you arrive at the Bay, you'll come across white sand and incredibly clear waters that will allow you to see underwater wildlife for what seems like forever. The greatest part about Devil's Bay truly is the lack of massive crowds.
Compared to other beaches, the Bay is relatively small. Though not technically secluded, it's not a major out-in-the-open sort of place. This is by design though. It sits inside its own National Park, which makes sure it is run smoothly and cleaned up on a regular basis. Though they love when people visit it, there are a ton of other places the Virgin Islands often see people go to more often, especially in the Gorda Bathes. The park does well year-round to keep the entire area looking great, especially the Bay. Near it, you'll find some amazing places to stay and eat. This ultimately makes it an amazing destination if you're looking to take a trip.
6 Dirtiest: Repulse Bay - The Name Says It All
Repulse Bay can be found in Hong Kong. While the city is well known for various places to eat, drink, gamble, and more, there are some issues with it. Due to the vast amount of people in the city, this Asian territory is also known for a lot of smaller things. The people here are smaller, so tables are often smaller. However, bedrooms are often smaller too and even the beds as well. Despite this, it is a must-visit city for many due to the history of it. One thing you DO NOT want to visit is one of their local beaches known as Repulse Bay. It is ironically named, as it now has the nickname of "Repulsive Bay." Why is it you may wonder?
The last number of years, the water in the city has been polluted by runoff from construction site drains. This has led to several harmful bacterias coming about here, including the infamous E. Coli bacteria. Counts for it are so high that it has actually begun affecting the marine life.
Fish are often not coming near the shores any longer, but more importantly, some that have stayed have seen mutations. This means people would be taking a chance eating fish or other marine wildlife caught in the area. The high bacteria issues have led to the water stinking, making it hard to deal with. The beach itself has grey-looking sand, which has stood out as a notable look compared to other beaches. It is said that the source of this is liposuction fat from clinics in the area. We were sickened by it too.
5 Cleanest: Plitvice Lakes National Park - 16 Beautiful, Preserved Lakes To Take Your Breath Away
One of the best places in the world, without hesitation, would be the Plitvice Lakes National Park. It can be found in the beautiful country of Croatia about 2 hours away from their capital of Zagreb. The wonderful area of the world is filled with what the name suggests - lakes. There are a number of sand areas, but the best way to experience it is to go on the pathway that the park officials have made for you. It helps to avoid people getting lost in this huge area. The water is absolutely gorgeous and as clear as can be. Their capital city is an industrial one, and similar places can affect the look of water. This is why the park being hours away has ultimately done it some good.
No major industrial plant is allowed near the area to keep it well preserved. There have even been rumors that they only allow electric vehicles near it just to be sure. They rank as one of the cleanest places one can find near a body of water. They have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979, meaning they have kept an amazing area well preserved for nearly 40 years at least. Their pathway mentioned earlier is wooden and allows for people to truly get up close to the amazing sites around the park. They also offer guided boat tours and this allows people to get on the water in boats where people can see all the way down to the bottom of the lakes. To top it off, there are 16 such lakes to explore here that are ALL blue and crystal clear. Their crystalline waterfalls are must-see, and will likely make you never want to leave.