With a shoreline roughly four times as long as the equator, America has more than its fair share of beautiful beaches. There are so many excellent seaside strands that standing out from the sandy crowd requires a degree of specialization. That's why our list of the best beaches in the U.S. is not all about towel lounging. These beauty queens offer adventure, wildlife, and great food – because it's not enough to be beautiful if you don't nail the talent portion.
Best for Birders
South Padre Island, Texas
The wide sandy beach that launched a million spring break keggers sits just a few hundred yards from the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, an important habitat for many Gulf Coast bird species. By all means, avoid the college kids, but come here during the offseason if you want to see some beautiful chicks. When you're ready to put down the binoculars, hire a deep-sea charter to chase marlin and tarpon – and be back in time for sunset and live music at shoes-optional watering holes such as Boomerang Billy's and the Wanna Wanna.
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