Lower than expected rainfall over the past year boosted the water quality of North East bathing beaches, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said.
The organisation has recommended more than 70% of the region's beaches, compared to 54% last year.
However, heavier rainfall in Cumbria saw only two out of 17 tested beaches come up to standard.
The MCS said the county saw higher seasonal rainfall, which forced more sewer waste into the sea.
The latest bathing water tests were conducted from May to September 2009.
Rachel Wyatt, from the MCS Good Beach Guide, said: "The regional pattern to this rainfall means that some areas such as North West England faired worse in this year's guide."
Thomas Bell, MCS coastal pollution officer, added: "Our campaign is focused now on the degree to which combined sewer overflows are to blame for bathing water pollution and what can be done about it."