As 75 million people get ready to hit the sand and surf this summer, an environmental group has issued its Blue Wave "seal of approval" to 62 of the nation's cleanest and safest beaches.
The list includes beaches in 12 states, from California to Delaware.
Each one "has met a set of rigorous health and safety standards and is managed to protect the natural environment," said Walter McLeod, president of the Clean Beaches Council, a nonprofit environmental group that created the program.
McLeod hopes the list will help the public steer clear of dirty and dangerous beaches, and push more communities to clean up their coasts.
Checking Everything From Algae to First-Aid Stations
The voluntary program, called the Blue Wave Campaign, asks communities to apply for certification, and then uses local environmental and health authorities to help verify their claims.
The campaign looks at everything from algae accumulations in the water to the number of lifeguards and first-aid stations available.
All of the beaches that applied this year met the group's criteria.
Michael Carter, public works superintendent at Florida's Blue-Wave-certified Pompano Beach, said he was happy to make the list.
"We care about our beach a lot," he said. "The water's real clean and clear; there's not much debris."
All in all, he admitted, "It's a pretty good beach."