The World's Unlikeliest Clean Beaches (PHOTOS)

While we may like to think that the world's most beautiful beaches are always the cleanest, this is simply untrue. In reality, many of the world's cleanest beaches are located in the most unlikely of places. From New Zealand to Croatia, Iceland to South Africa and Spain, check out HuffPost Green's slideshow of the world's cleanest beaches.

In the aftermath of the gulf oil spill, we at HuffPost Green wanted to scope out some of the world's cleanest beaches for a refreshing outlook. Don't forget to vote on your favorite!

Evaluate your local beach:
Check the water quality at your favorite beach from the NRDC's "Testing the Waters" program in your state. There are 3,500 beaches in the United States and the Clean Beaches Council estimates that Americans take over 2 billion trips to the beach each year.

For international ratings of beaches, the Blue Flag program, composed of a committee of specialists from the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the European Union for Coastal Conservation, checks the water quality and lack of hazardous waste of sites from around the world. Currently, 3,450 beaches have been awarded blue flags.

The Environmental Protection Agency offers tips on how to preserve the nation's beaches.