Beach goers in the Mid-Atlantic have reason to boast - according to a new report, the area boasts two of the nation's most pristine, unspoiled strips of sand.
A portion of beach in Ocean City and Dewey Beach in Delaware have been named two of the 12 cleanest beaches in the United States by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The two are among just a dozen nationwide that boast a five-star rating from the agency.
"It's heaven, as far as I'm concerned," Dewey Beach visitor Mia Rochfort said. "It's beautiful. It's peaceful. We love the water."
The rating is based on several factors, including water quality, monitoring frequency and public notification of contamination. At Dewey Beach, the report says that less than 5 percent of water samples exceeded national samples in 2011 and that water quality is monitored more than once a week. The same statistics were reported for Beach 6 in Ocean City.
"By establishing better beachwater quality standards and putting untapped 21st century solutions in place, we can make a day at the beach as carefree as it should be," NRDC senior attorney Jon Devine said in a statement.
Other five-star beaches listed in the report are located in Southern California, coastal Alabama, Lake Superior in Minnesota, New Hampshire and Texas. You can check out the full report here.
The honor is giving officials and residents of Maryland's main seaside resort reason to be pleased with the steps they've taken to lead to the five-star rating.
"By cleaning the beach every night, it keeps debris from getting in the water," Ocean City Beach Patrol Captain Butch Arbin said. "Our outflow from our sewage treatment plant is being tested constantly, so everything the town of Ocean City does really leads to having clean water."
No beaches in the area qualified for the agency's list of "repeat offenders," which named 15 beaches in America that they say have persistent contamination problems. Those beaches are located in portions of Southern California, Illinois, five in Louisiana's Cameron Parish, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin.
The five beaches in Louisiana are in an area that was affected by a fishing ban in the aftermath of the disastrous BP oil spill.