The World's Best Beaches, from Australia to the Seychelles

By Ben Steverman - 2012-05-30T12:46:33Z

Photograph by Erin Paul Donovan/Getty Images

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Best U.S. Beach for Clean Water

New Hampshire may have just 18 miles of coastline, the least of any U.S. coastal state, but its beaches are among the nation's cleanest. In the Natural Resources Defense Council's 2011 report ranking state water quality in the previous year, New Hampshire had the cleanest beaches, with just 1 percent of 1,138 water samples exceeding national standards. New Jersey ranked second, with 2 percent exceeding standards. Louisiana ranked last, at 37 percent, during a year in which a major oil spill occurred offshore. While clean, New Hampshire water is cold, averaging 60 degrees Fahrenheit in July.