10 Beach Myths You Think Are True

Does urine really relieve pain from a jellyfish sting? We reveal the truth behind this and other common beach myths.

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Ulu Watu, Bali

Ulu Watu, Bali

Famous for being home to the oldest Hindu temple in Bali, Ulu Watu is also known for its professional-grade waves. The Ulu Watu temple sits atop an enormous cliff, overlooking the breaking waves and talented surfers below. 960 1280

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Playa Grande, Costa Rica

Playa Grande, Costa Rica

The beach town of Playa Grande is known as one of Costa Rica's best surfing spots. It also happens to be home to the second largest nesting ground of the largest marine reptile, the Leatherback Turtle. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Bundoran, Ireland

Bundoran, Ireland

Known as a surfer’s "cold water Eden," the shores of Bundoran on the southwestern tip of Donegal provide nearly constant swells. The town embraces the culture with extra accommodations for surfers -- even offering discounts to surfers who visit during the peak season of September-May. Just be sure to pack your wetsuit! 960 1280

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Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

Host to the annual Billabong Pro ASP World Tour surfing competition, the town of Jeffreys Bay was made famous by the surf cult classic, Endless Summer. Its surf break is considered one of the best right-hand point breaks in the world due to its consistency and quality. 960 1280

Johanna Nel / iStock / Getty Images  

Huntington Beach, CA

Huntington Beach, CA

If you're looking for a surf destination, you can't go wrong with Surf City, USA. With 4 different-facing beaches, there’s a break for everyone -- longboarders should head to the northwest beaches, while shortboards are best in the south, by Huntington Beach Pier. 960 1280

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Bondi Beach, Sydney

Bondi Beach, Sydney

One of Australia’s most famous beaches is also a top destination for surfers. The white sands of Bondi Beach not only provide top-notch surf, but also plenty of restaurants and shops for when the waves have you worn out. 960 1280

Jessica Rabbit, flickr  

San Clemente, CA

San Clemente, CA

With Surfing Magazine, The Surfer's Journal and Longboard Magazine based here and Surfer Magazine not too far off, San Clemente is undoubtedly known for its waves as well as its surf coverage. It’s also home to Lower Trestles, a favorite break among surfers which has been threatened by the state’s attempt to build a toll road, but has been defended repeatedly by numerous surf organizations.  960 1280

Patrick Pelster, flickr  

Taghazout, Morocco

Taghazout, Morocco

Taghazout, a fishing village in the southwest of Morocco, is generally not crowded – a key feature when searching for the perfect surf destination. With waves for advanced surfers from September-April and smaller waves throughout the rest of the year, this small town has something for everyone.  960 1280

Cultura Travel / Tim E White / Photolibrary / Getty Images  

Teahupo'o, Tahiti

Teahupo'o, Tahiti

Known for its glassy waves, Teahupo'o is part of the World Championship Tour of the Association of Surfing Professionals circuit. Its shallow coral reef is responsible for the shape of this legendary break, making it extremely heavy and hollow – perfect for getting barreled, but best left to the pros.  960 1280

Stephanie Milani, flickr  

Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

On the eastern coast of Sri Lanka, the relaxed village of Arugam Bay is known for its steady waves during the peak season of May-November. With its laid-back vibe and wide variety of restaurants, Arugum Bay is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the water.  960 1280

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Tavarua Island, Fiji

Tavarua Island, Fiji

This heart-shaped island in Fiji is home to one of the most famous breaks in the surfing world – Cloudbreak. Located a mile off the island, this wave is restricted to those who check in at the Tavarua Surf Resort and has been known to get so large that only tow-in surfing is possible. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

This world-class resort town is actually a top surfing destination, as well. Even before the vacationers started coming to sunbathe, locals would ride the consistent swells on wooden planks and palm fronds. 960 1280

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Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

The quiet Mexican town of Puerto Escondido is home to surfers, families and Zicatela Beach. This beach was nicknamed "Mexican Pipeline" due to its similarity to the Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu. 960 1280

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Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Hanalei Bay, Kauai

The waves are known to get rather large on this beautiful crescent-shaped bay. Known to reach 20 feet, the biggest waves occur in the center of the bay and are called "pinetrees" by the locals.   960 1280

Matthew Micah Wright / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

Humpback whale breaching

Humpback whale breaching

Humpback whales are true acrobatic animals. Here's a little breaching action: A humpback whale leaps out of the water. 960 1280

Kristin Rayfield with Rudee Tours  

The humpback whale is a baleen whale, with extra long pectoral fins. Here's a close-up of its knobby head. 960 1280

Mark Jennings, Virginia Aquarium Education Dept.  

A humpback whale raises its tail flukes out of the water. The result: a tail-slapping good show. 960 1280

Kristin Rayfield with Rudee Tours  

Thar she blows! Humpback whale at VA Beach

Thar she blows! Humpback whale at VA Beach

Thar she blows! This humpback whale is just a few yards from a boat. 960 1280

Kristin Rayfield with Rudee Tours  

Humpback whales find plentiful bait in Virginia Beach waters

Humpback whales find plentiful bait in Virginia Beach waters

Gulp! A warmer-than-usual winter -- plus, more plentiful bait like sandlance -- may explain the larger numbers of humpback whales this year. 960 1280

Kristin Rayfield with Rudee Tours  

humpback whale fluked tail

humpback whale fluked tail

The humpback whale has a fluked tail. Check out the wavy trailing edges. 960 1280

Kristin Rayfield with Rudee Tours  

humpback whale pod

humpback whale pod

The humpback whales have typically been spotted in pods of 2. 960 1280

Chris Erney  

humpback whale blowholes

humpback whale blowholes

The humpback has 2 nostrils -- blow and dorsal fin -- at the top of its head. They use these to breathe air at the surface of the water. A double stream of spray is the visual result. 960 1280

Chris Erney  

dolphins at Virginia Beach

dolphins at Virginia Beach

And if you miss the whales, head back in the summer: These guys will be waiting. 960 1280

  

Little St. Simons Island

Little St. Simons Island

Of Georgia’s four barrier islands, the Golden Isles comes closest to an unspoiled paradise. The island has been privately owned longer than the United States has been a country. Today, the descendants of the most recent owner oversee the maintenance of the island’s 100,000 acres.

Island attractions: Overnight accommodations for up to 32 guests
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Little St. Simons Island  

Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island

A young visitor does the “Sanibel Stoop.” Sanibel Island on Florida’s Gulf Coast attracts travelers with its large number of seashells that wash up on the beach. The island is also home to more than 6,000 residents, but don’t expect any stoplights here. Locals are fiercely protective of the island; more than half the island is composed of wildlife refuges.

Island attractions: Shell collecting (peak season May to September)
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Visit Florida  

Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island

Welcome to the “happiest seaside town in America.” That’s the motto of South Carolina’s Kiawah Island -- its world-class golf courses are a big reason why. Kiawah is home to five award-winning golf courses, including Ocean Course designed by Pete Dye. The course, located on Kiawah’s easternmost end, hosted the 2012 PGA Championship.

Island attractions: Beachwalker County Park
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Kiawah Island Golf Resort  

Galveston Island

Galveston Island

Look, Forrest, it’s Bubba Gump Shrimp! Load up the kids and head an hour’s drive from Houston to Galveston Island. The island is just 27 miles long and 3 miles wide, but big on family entertainment. At Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, enjoy rollercoaster rides, carnival games and Bubba Gump Shrimp’s first-ever Texas location.

Island attractions: Moody Gardens, Seawolf Park, Stewart Park, Schlitterbahn
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Katie Haugland, flickr  

Bald Head Island

Bald Head Island

Take a 20-minute ferry ride from the town of Southport to reach Bald Head Island. Located at the tip of North Carolina’s Cape Fear, the island unfolds at an easy pace: No cars are allowed here, just golf carts -- and your two feet -- to get around. Kick back in a vacation rental, enjoy wine and music festivals, and take part in an annual fishing rodeo.

Island attractions: Bald Head Island Marina, Bald Head Island Golf Course, Island Retreat Spa and Salon
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Bald Head Island Limited  

St. George Island

St. George Island

Love oysters? Head to Apalachicola Bay on St. George Island. The estuary is one of several outdoor pleasures on St. George, located off the Florida Panhandle. Along with oysters, the island offers great fishing spots for grouper, scallops, flounder, redfish, snapper, mullet and trout.

Island attractions: Bird-watching on St. George Island State Park
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Richard Bickel  

Cedar Keys

Cedar Keys

The cluster of islands known as Cedar Keys near Florida’s mainland offer a laidback experience, and the city of Cedar Key is among the star attractions. The tranquil fishing village comes with a small-town Florida feel and wood-frame homes like this. Come lunchtime, swing by Tony’s Famous Cedar Key Clam Chowder, known for its signature dish.

Island attractions: Nature sites such as Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge
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Visit Florida  

Hatteras Island

Hatteras Island

Enjoy kiteboarding on Hatteras Island, part of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The barrier island off the state’s coast is known for windsurfing and sport fishing -- earning it the nickname, “the blue marlin capital of the world.”

Island attractions: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
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Thinkstock   

Ship Island

Ship Island

Walk through the shimmering quartz sand of Ship Island, one of two barrier islands located off the coast of Mississippi; you’ll find Fort Massachusetts on the island’s western end. The fort was built following the War of 1812, and has stood the test of time and nature's fury; it faced Hurricane Katrina with minimal impact.

Island attractions: Fishing, swimming and tours of Fort Massachusetts
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Historic Ft Massachusetts - NPS photographer  

Grand Isle

Grand Isle

Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island is home to 1,500 residents who make their living from the seafood and oil industries. While the effects of the BP oil spill will be studied for years to come, the dolphins have returned, the waters washing up on the shore are clear, and the annual Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo (one of America’s largest saltwater fishing events) continues.

Island attractions: Fishing -- more than 280 species in surrounding waters
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Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo  

Marco Island

Marco Island

What do Shania Twain, Leighton Meester and Alan Jackson all have in common? They all have homes on Marco Island. Located on southwest Florida’s Gulf coast, Marco Island entices visitors with white-sugar sand beaches and amazing marine life like this bottlenose dolphin.

Island attractions: The largest of Florida’s 10,000 Islands, Marco offers miles of beautiful beaches.
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Getty Images   

Georgia's Cumberland Island

Georgia's Cumberland Island

Before you dismiss this as a boring woodshed -- look closer: John F. Kennedy Jr.’s nuptials took place inside this structure, known as the First African-Baptist Church, in September 1996. The small, one-room church was established in 1893, rebuilt in 1937, and is located on Cumberland Island’s northern end.

Island attractions: Greyfield Inn, Plum Orchard mansion
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Cheryl Coward, flickr  

Florida Keys

Florida Keys

The expansive Seven Mile Bridge is your gateway to the Florida Keys. As you cross the bridge, linking the Middle and Lower Keys, get ready for a breathtaking sight: the Gulf of Mexico on one side, the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Keep going and you’ll reach the “southernmost city in the continental U.S.A.,” Key West.

Island attractions: Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum
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Getty Images  

Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island

We can’t forget Alabama. Of the dozens of islands off Alabama’s coast, Dauphin Island is among the star attractions. The barrier island, located 3 miles south of the mouth of Mobile Bay, is home to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and 164-acre Audubon Bird Sanctuary, making it a great getaway for the whole family.

Island attractions:
 Shell Mound Park, Fort Gaines
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Getty Images  

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