Swim Guide users love their homewaters.

Happy 2017.

Swim Guide provides water quality for over 7,000 beaches, in four countries. We have beaches in all provinces in Canada, in 34 states in the US, in Baja and Baja Sur in Mexico, and over 700 beaches in New Zealand. Some of the most stunning swimming places in the world can be found on Swim Guide.

However, the most popular beaches in Swim Guide are not likely to cover the front of travel magazines. They are not the cleanest, the most acclaimed. They are not even traditional “beaches,” with sand and surf.

In fact, not a single beach in the top ten is a coastal site.

The list of Swim Guide’s 10 most clicked-on beaches in 2016 is, without a doubt, extraordinary.

The most visited sites on Swim Guide are swimming holes, rivers, lakes with beaches made of rocks, mud, and grass. Our top beach, Albert Dyck Lake in British Columbia, is a former industrial cement-works pit.

Moreover, many of the top 10 beaches in Swim Guide are not remote or pristine spots by any stretch. They are, in fact, urban recreational water spots. City beaches. Our second most popular site is the French Broad River, in the city of Ashville, North Carolina, where the river connects the downtown with the River Arts District (RAD). Three of our top 10 are City of Toronto beaches.

Photo by zen Sutherland, French Broad and River Arts District

Our top beaches have poor water quality, due to sewage and stormwater, urban runoff, and blue-green algae.

Only 3 of the top beaches had what would be considered good water quality this year, meaning they met recreational water criteria at least 95% of the time. Four of the most clicked-on beaches in Swim Guide in 2016 had consistently bad quality, meaning they failed to meet recreational water quality criteria at least 40% of the time. One beach, Marie Curtis Park West, isn’t even monitored due to chronic water quality issues.

So, how on earth are they so popular?

They are peoples’ beaches: the ones people have claimed as their own. They are beloved hometown beaches, where people swam growing up and keep going back to. They are the places people visit after work and on weekends, with their families and friends. These are swim spots people can access, easily and frequently, to connect with the water.

Of all the lists we have made on Swim Guide, this one is the most powerful. It showcases beloved home waters that might not have otherwise made headlines. This list also highlights growing awareness to recreational water quality.

This Top 10 list is the biggest case ever for investing to protect swimmable water in all communities. Because, when it comes to these beaches, people are clearly already invested.

Most of these sites are not going to make any beach lists, except for ours. Remember, our Top 10 beaches aren’t perfect; they’re just well loved.

Swim Guide’s most clicked-on beaches 2016

Here they are in order of popularity:

1. Albert Dyck Lake
Albert Dyck Lake, Abbotsford, British Columbia
Managed by Fraser Riverkeeper
Clicks: 14,354

2. French Broad River at RAD
French Broad River, Ashville, North Carolina
Managed by French Broad Riverkeeper
Clicks: 9,164

Photo by Seuss.

3. Kinsmen Beach
Lake Scugog, Port Perry, Ontario
Managed by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper
Clicks: 7,379

4. Woodbine Beach
Lake Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
Managed by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper
Clicks: 6,856

5. Plage Constance Bay Beach
Ottawa River, Ottawa, Ontario
Managed by Ottawa Riverkeeper/Sentinelle Outaouais
Clicks: 6,586

6.Pigeon Lake Provincial Park Beach
Pigeon Lake, Wetaskiwin County, Alberta
Managed by N. Sask. Riverkeeper
Clicks: 6,570

7.Marie Curtis Park West Beach
Lake Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
Managed by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper
Clicks: 6,225

8.Bluffers Beach
Lake Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
Managed by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper
Clicks: 6,002

Photo by Benson Kua

9.Fifty Point Beach
Lake Ontario,Winona, Ontario
Managed by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper
Clicks: 5,656

Photo by Hamilton Conservation Authority

10.Wabamun Lake Provincial Park Beach
Wabamun Lake, Parkland County, Alberta
Managed by N. Sask. Riverkeeper
Clicks: 5,640

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