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 Learning to Surf
Grand Isle State Park, Louisiana
Known as the Cajun Bahamas, the beaches of Grand Isle, Louisiana (110 miles south of New Orleans), offer killer fishing and kayaking and, when the winds are blowing, surprisingly good surf breaks. Though Grand Isle was belted by hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008, its beaches have been restored, and nearby salt marshes still produce prize 20-pound redfish. Captain Danny Wray specializes in kayak fishing, offers long-range motor-assisted "mothership" charters and surf lessons, and runs the island's best fish camp.
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