Last updated: Mar 02, 2016
We started with a list of the 50 most popular beach and lake towns in the country (as defined by the total number of vacation days tourists spend there) from the American Automobile Association. To arrive at our top-10 list, our judges rated places in five categories: quality and cleanliness of air, water, and, sand; range of fitness opportunities; healthfulness of local restaurants; safety measures, including the presence of lifeguards, how close the town is to a major trauma center should an emergency come up, and the crime rate; and affordability of accommodations (based on the average rates in July, provided by Smith Travel Research).