The Natural Resources Defense Council released the results of its annual water quality survey, "Testing the Waters 2010" which measured the most popular beaches around the country by five key criteria.
Most of the beaches that scored well across the board can be found in Orange County, including six different stretches of Laguna Beach. Overall, 11 stretches of beach in the county got stellar marks.
But some other areas perhaps not known for their pristine shorelines also fared well. Two stretches of Minnesota' s Park Point Beach rated as five-star beaches. So did New Hampshire's Hampton Beach State Park and Wallis Sands Beach as well as Alabama's Baldwin Beach.
The NRDC rated beaches according to the following criteria: Water quality in 2009 (beaches got stars if fewer than 5 percent of samples exceeded national health standards for bacteria); water quality for the last three years; water quality testing frequency; promptness when issuing health advisories; and posting health advisories both online and at the beach.