What makes a beach famous? Some beaches are household names because the rich and famous sun themselves there, and others are simply fabulous and beloved by regular folks who have a lifetime of memories on those shores. But there are wondrous waters in all sorts of places, even some you may not have heard of.
Here are 10 hidden gems worth knowing more about.
1. Tybee Island, Georgia
While the word is getting out about Tybee because of its proximity to Savannah, many people have no idea this jewel on Georgia's coast exists. It offers a wide range of affordable accommodations, including beachside hotels, vacation rentals, motels and B&Bs.
The seafood is fabulous and plentiful. The Tybee Island Marine Science Center offers beach discovery walks and tours of their indoor coastal gallery of tanks filled with marine life.
Tybee Island is also home to the historic Tybee Island Light Station and the Fort Pulaski National Monument, a Civil War-era structure with guided tours, historic weapons demonstrations and a museum/gift shop.
2. Klein, Curaçao
The remote, uninhabited island of Klein lies 15 miles off the southeast point of Curaçao. Its diving spots and underwater caves appeal to divers, snorkelers, fishers and sun worshippers.
The island's coral reefs and waters are pristine, with abundant marine life. Klein has bragging rights, as its white-sand beach is longer than any other on Curaçao proper.
3. Indiana Dunes, Indiana
When you think of Indiana, maybe corn fields or the Indianapolis 500 come to mind—anything but the beach. Think again.
The Indiana Dunes feature 15 miles of sandy beaches along Lake Michigan. You won't have trouble finding a secluded spot. The Dunes are just a day's drive from half the nation.
4. Grace Bay Beach, Turks & Caicos Islands
Celebrities go to Grace Bay Beach because it's breathtaking and off the beaten path. The beach's crystal blue waters invite deep-sea fishing, kayaking, scuba diving and much more.
5. Maracas Beach, Trinidad
When you want to go local, this is the beach for you. Trinidadians love Shark and Bake, and there's a good chance you will, too. Picture fried shark on a fried bun, with as many toppings as you can handle.
Locals love Richard's Shark and Bake restaurant, but there are many vendors to tempt you. The beach, surrounded by lush mountains and tall palm trees, is unforgettable. It's hard to say, though, which people love more—the beach or the sandwiches.
6. Owen Beach, Tacoma, Washington
Owen Beach, located along Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, sits on wooded, 700-acre Point Defiance Park and boasts stunning views of majestic Mt. Rainier, the tallest singular peak in the lower 48.
There are kayak rentals for shoreline excursions and sea lion watching, among many other land- and water-based activities.
7. Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia
Located on the north end of Jekyll Island, Driftwood Beach will capture your attention with its stunning display of driftwood and trees resembling a tree graveyard, which is due to the erosion of the north end of the island.
Driftwood Beach is an ideal location for photographers looking to shoot spectacular scenery and for couples wanting to celebrate their special day in a unique setting.
8. Sea of Cortez, La Paz, Mexico
La Paz is just a couple of hours drive from Cabo San Lucas, but worlds away in authenticity. It's unspoiled, rich in history, and situated along the Sea of Cortez.
You'll never tire of the beauty or be bored with the huge range of activities, including diving, snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, fishing, and swimming with whale sharks and sea lions in the area.
9. Avila Beach, California
Avila Beach is on the Central Coast of California, about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Avila Beach Promenade offers oceanfront dining, seaside cafes, art galleries, boutiques, premium wine tasting rooms and more. You'll also want to check out the Avila Hot Springs and the Central Coast Aquarium.
10. Ootu Beach, Aitutaki, Cook Islands, South Pacific
This beach was voted No. 1 in the South Pacific by TripAdvisor, but it only attracts about 10,000 visitors a year.
The outer canyons of the Aitutaki barrier reef are home to several hundred species of fish, making snorkeling a must. Diving, fishing and kite-surfing are popular, too. Find out for yourself what makes this beach a secret haven.
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