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 Sports
Jockey's Ridge State Park, North Carolina
Steady ocean breezes power Jockey's Ridge to top jock in the Outer Banks. The highest sand dune on the East Coast (down the road from where the Wright Brothers flew) offers an ideal launch for hang gliders and kite fliers with slopes that beckon sandboarders when the crowds thin. Kitty Hawk Kites teaches beginning gliders in three-hour lessons that get you airborne above the dunes for up to 100 yards, 80 feet higher than the Wrights' first attempt.
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