America's Best and Worst Beaches of 2015

Greg Keraghosian
·Associate Travel Editor

Rehoboth Beach in Delaware was fit for sand-castle royalty this year, running away with the title of hottest beach with a 217 percent rise in popularity on Foursquare. (Photo: Victoria Pickering/Flickr)

Some American beaches are regulars in the annual “best-of” awards. But just like stocks, others can ebb and flow in popularity.

Foursquare, an app for discovering new places, kept track of tips, mentions, and implied visits from its 50 million monthly active users to determine those which sandy destinations had the best and worst years in 2015. This infographic reveals the results.

Infographic: Foursquare

What was the hottest beach this year? That would be Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, which saw a 217 percent surge in popularity. Aside from being renowned for its mile-long boardwalk and clean water, it’s also known for being gay-friendly, and Foursquare says the increase was probably influenced by the national legalization of gay marriage this summer.

Jaco Riis Park in Rockaway Park, N.Y. (Photo: gigi_nyc/Flickr)

The No. 2 beach winner was Jacob Riis Park in Rockaway Park, N.Y., whose popularity went up 142 percent. The “People’s Beach,” as it’s called, has been seeing a lot more interest from the hipster crowd since the pop-up food stands of Riis Park Beach Bazaar became a hit.

And bronze medal for hottest beach goes to Sunset Cliffs Park in San Diego (84 percent). Part of its popularity surge was illegal – the unseasonably hot weather this summer drew more people to a cliff-jumping spot called the Arch, forcing police to crack down.

“The Arch” at San Diego’s Sunset Cliffs Park was a big hit with cliff divers this year. (Photo: Bruno M./Foursquare)

Which beaches were the biggest bummers this year? The No. 1 spot goes to Balboa Beach in Newport Beach, Calif., which had a 51 percent popularity decrease. Foursquare says this is due to an invasion of red crabs taking over Balboa Island, and people being deterred by a spike of ocean rescues being needed across L.A. County and Orange County because of weather changes caused by the impending El Niño.

Related: 9 Ways El Niño Might Ruin Your Winter Vacation

The waves at Balboa Beach were especially rough this year. (Photo: D.J. G./Foursquare)

The next-biggest slide goes to Folly Beach, S.C. (38 percent), which just happens to be where an 800-pound tiger shark was caught this summer. Also, South Carolina experienced a rash of shark attacks this year.

Finally, Alki Beach in Seattle had the third-worst drop at 28 percent. Not helping its case was a rise in crime this year, as well as scarce parking because of new bike lanes.

See more of Foursquare’s data rankings in its What America Ate, Drank, and Saw in 2015 infographic.

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