Midwestern Beach Boasts Clearest Waters in the U.S., Study Says

When most of us think of places with crystal clear waters, we think of exotic locations such as the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and South Pacific. The continental United States, by comparison, may not immediately come to mind, much less the Midwest.

However, according to new research, Washington Island’s Schoolhouse Beach, located off the coast of the northeastern tip of Wisconsin on Lake Michigan, ranked No. 1 for clearest water in the U.S. 

The findings were presented by Florida Panhandle, which ranked the clearest waters not just in the U.S. and North America, but across the world. To come up with the data, the website examined publicly available English-language traveler reviews, starting with 50 of the highest ranked beaches across 75 countries. 

The researchers then calculated which beaches globally, across each country and continent, had the highest percentage of reviews mentioning “clear water,” analyzing a total of more than 2.4 million reviews.

Schoolhouse Beach on Washington Island amassed a third, or 33.41 percent of reviews, mentioning its clear waters to earn top marks compared to its U.S. counterparts. And the beach is not just known for its clear waters, but unique flat-rock beach instead of sand. Visitors who want to bring a vacation memory home with them are better off sticking to souvenir shops, as you can get slapped with a $250 fine for pilfering any of the beach’s stones.

And while the top clearest beaches in the world are located in countries such as Greece, Spain, Thailand, Spain, and the Bahamas; the clearest beaches in the U.S. are likewise a mixed bag. Behind Schoolhouse Beach in the top five is Crystal Sands Beach in Destin, FL; Moonshine Beach in Branson, MI; Sand Harbor in Incline Village, NV; and Manini’owali Beach in Kailua-Kona, HI.

You can see the complete findings here.

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