Two beaches in Brighton and Hove have been awarded Blue Flags this week – Brighton Central and Hove Lawns.
Only two other Sussex beaches qualified – West Wittering and Marina St Leonards in Hastings.
Keep Britain Tidy, which runs the Blue Flag scheme, also gave a Seaside Award to Saltdean beach, one of just five in Sussex. Two beaches in Hastings qualified along with one each in Bognor and Littlehampton.
The water quality standards are based on tests over four years – from 2012 to 2015.
The Blue Flag scheme also takes into account other facilities and safety, environmental education and management. The Seaside Award recognises beach management standards.
Councillor Alan Robins, the new chairman of the council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee, said: “We’re looking forward to a great summer in Brighton and Hove. Having our bathing beaches described as excellent is the icing on the cake.
“Our seasonal lifeguards start on (Saturday) 28 May and we’re hoping for some warm bank holiday weather for all our visitors.
“There is a lot of improvement work going on at the moment but, as the previous bank holiday showed, people love coming here to enjoy the beach.”
Seasonal lifeguards support the regular seafront team and will be patrolling beaches from Brighton Marina to Hove Lagoon.
The council said: “During an average year Brighton and Hove’s lifeguards carry out more than 100 water rescues and save many lives.
“They also administer first aid to around 250 beach-goers, give safety advice to around 19,000 people and reunite hundreds of children with their families, proactively working with them to prevent incidents occurring and ensure their visit to the beach is a safe and happy one.”
Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby said: “I was delighted to hear the news that Saltdean is one of the award winners. Saltdean is a great place for residents and visitors and I hope this encourages even more people to enjoy the beach this summer.”
Keep Britain Tidy said that 68 beaches across England qualified for a Blue Flag and 111 beaches made the grade for a Seaside Award.
The organisation added: “The increasing number of Blue Flags is fantastic news for all those who have worked hard to improve our seas and beaches, including local authorities, water companies and local businesses and communities.”