Hammock-strung, rum-stocked, and only a lime's throw from the water, beach bars are to summer what roaring fires are to winter – the best places to have an unhurried drink. Unfortunately, finding a good one can be tough. For every authentic outpost, there are a dozen dives decked out in flotation devices, tiki torches, and pun-filled, wall-mounted menus. Avoid all that spring break nonsense. From an island in Lake Superior to the wilds of the Eastern Caribbean, we've unearthed North America's hidden gems, the 25 most memorable establishments around.
Mucky Duck, Captiva Island
Smack on the sugar white sand of Captiva Island, this British-style bar that opened in the mid-1970s has a neighborhood beach vibe and attracts snowbirds, locals, and vacationing families. There's darts and a big bar inside but the beachside picnic tables make a better evening perch. Come sunset, join the crowds to send off the Florida sun as it sinks into the Gulf of Mexico while enjoying a frosty beer (there are 16 on tap and more by the bottle) and a plate of crab cakes.
Feet from the water: 60
The regulars: CEOs sporting flip flops
What to order: Mucky Duck Ale, a red lager