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Dry Tortugas Beaches, Florida
It's easy to mistake this island in the Florida Keys for a tropical paradise in the Maldives. The pristine white sand, which forms an arresting gradient with the cerulean water, looks almost too ethereal to exist in the U.S. Teeming with marine life, this beach is made for underwater adventures: The kaleidoscopic coral reefs and fleets of sea turtles will capture the heart of any snorkeler.
Kiawah Island Beachwalker Park, South Carolina
Most people default to Myrtle Beach when they look for a seaside escape in the Palmetto State, but this little-known public beach on Kiawah Island offers an equally gorgeous vista without all the crowds. Just 25 minutes outside of Charleston, it's a hidden gem with an array of activities, from golfing to tennis to cycling.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire, Michigan
Dubbed "the Hidden Riviera of America," the cluster of beaches along Lake Michigan's shoreline offer golden sands and sapphire waters, minus the costly international airfare. Stunning panoramas make climbing the sky-high dunes — shaped like a sleeping bear — totally worthwhile. The varying water temperatures of the beaches cater to every type of visitor, from laid-back soakers to hardcore swimmers.
Papakolea Beach, South Kau Big Island, Hawaii
There's no shortage of picturesque beaches on the islands of Aloha, but Papakolea stands out among the crystalline waters and coconut tree-lined locales. The olive-hued sand got its pigment from millions of semiprecious lava stones, and stands in breathtaking contrast to the deep blue waves. The strong winds along the coast are ideal for surfers.
Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California
With postcard-perfect landscapes, this Central California beach is a little piece of heaven on Earth. The sands are mainly composed of garnet rocks that shimmer in a violet hue under sunlight — just imagine, purple sand castles! The unique rock arch allows light beams to shine through the middle opening, creating spectacular sunrises and sunsets that are the stuff of Instagram dreams.