What makes a beach great? You tell us!

Check out our "Favorite New England Beaches" Photo Contest!

With the release of Dr. Beach’s best beaches list and the summer season upon us, we’re wondering: what makes a great beach?  As you head out to the beach this Memorial Day weekend, what are the elements you look for in picking your favorite beach to visit?  Don’t forget, when you do get to your favorite New England beach this summer: take a photo and enter our Favorite New England Beach Photo Contest!

Here are the criteria that Dr. Beach uses to come up with his annual list of America’s Top 10 Beaches.  Look them over, give us your thoughts.  What are your criteria?  What do you look for in a beach?

  1. Beach width at low tide
  2. Beach material (cobble or sand?)
  3. Beach stability (is it eroding?)
  4. Sand softness
  5. Water temperature
  6. Air temperature (midday)
  7. Number of sunny days
  8. Amount of rain
  9. Wind speeds
  10. Size of breaking waves
  11. Number of waves/width of breaker zone
  12. Beach slope (underwater)
  13. Longshore current (strength)
  14. Rip currents
  15. Color of sand
  16. Tidal range
  17. Beach shape (straight or pocket?)
  18. Bathing area bottom conditions (rocky, muddy, or sandy?)
  19. Turbidity
  20. Water color
  21. Floating/suspended human material (sewage, scum)
  22. Algae in water amount
  23. Red tide frequency
  24. Smell (eg, seaweed, rotting fish)
  25. Wildlife (eg, shore birds)
  26. Pests (biting flies, ticks, mosquitoes)
  27. Presence of sewarage/runoff outfall lines on/across the beach
  28. Seaweed/jellyfish on the beach
  29. Trash and litter (paper, plastics, nets, ropes, planks)
  30. Oil and tar balls
  31. Glass and rubble
  32. Views and vistas – Local scene
  33. Views and vistas – Far vista
  34. Buildings/Urbanism
  35. Access
  36. Misfits (nuclear power station, offshore dumping)
  37. Vegetation (nearby). Trees, sand dunes
  38. Well-kept grounds/promenades or natural environment
  39. Amenities (showers, chairs, bars, etc)
  40. Lifeguards
  41. Safety record (deaths)
  42. Domestic animals (eg, dogs)
  43. Noise (cars, nearby highways, trains)
  44. Noise (eg, crowds, radios)
  45. Presence of seawalls, riprap, concrete/rubble
  46. Intensity of beach use
  47. Off-road vehicles
  48. Floatables in water (garbage, toilet paper)
  49. Public safety (eg, pickpockets, crime)
  50. Competition for free use of beach (eg, fishermen, boaters, water-skiers)


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This entry was posted in beaches, environment, favorite New England beaches photo contest, planning and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What makes a beach great? You tell us!

  1. Pingback: What makes a great beach? | Climatide

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