Marianela at Dockweiler Beach

Marianela heads to Dockweiler Beach in LA for 3 miles of bonfire heaven.

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asilomar bike trail
asilomar bike trail

asilomar bike trail

Marianela is ready to unwind riding the bike trails of Asilomar Beach on the Monterey Penninsula. 960 1280

  

state park conservation

state park conservation

Asilomar is not only a fun cycling spot, but also a state park working to conserve its beach habitats and wildlife. 960 1280

  

dune restoration

dune restoration

Birds fly over the park’s dunes, which have been restored to a pristine state. 960 1280

  

beach edge

beach edge

The bike trail drops you off right at the edge of the beach. 960 1280

  

white quartz sand dunes

white quartz sand dunes

Loop through the 26 acres of rare white quartz sand dunes along the path. 960 1280

  

plant rehabilitation

plant rehabilitation

To preserve the park’s beauty, sections are closed off to the public for plant rehabilitation. 960 1280

  

white sand

white sand

Marianela gets her hands dirty the best way possible -- playing in the sand. 960 1280

  

mile long beach

mile long beach

Marianela observes the gorgeous mile-long stretch of beach. 960 1280

  

boardwalk

boardwalk

The boardwalk leads visitors right to the quiet coast. 960 1280

  

beach activities

beach activities

Visitors can take a romantic stroll, play football with the family, or surf on the perfect rolling waves. 960 1280

  

preservation

preservation

Asilomar Beach has made environment preservation a top priority since it was established in 1951. 960 1280

  

little refuge

little refuge

A “little refuge by the sea,” Asilomar Beach lives up to its name. 960 1280

  

beach trees

beach trees

The sand and beach sagewort have created unique soil conditions, allowing these trees to thrive near the coastline. 960 1280

  

Golden Gate National Rec Area, California
Golden Gate National Rec Area, California

Golden Gate National Rec Area, California

Go for the majestic view of the Golden Gate Bridge, stay for the people watching. Surfers, dog walkers, fishermen and moms with jogging strollers are all drawn to the beach at former airfield Crissy Field. 960 1280

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Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park, California

Float down the Merced River when temps soar in the summer and pull off for a picnic at one of the 2 main beaches, Cathedral or Sentinel. 960 1280

  

Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands

Turquoise water and gleaming white beaches at a national park? That's what you'll find if you venture outside of the US. The Virgin Islands National Park is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Trunk Bay. 960 1280

Ben Whitney, Wikimedia Commons  

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

It's not easy to get to most Colorado River beaches, but consider a several-day rafting trip the highlight of your trip. Before you dive in you should know the water rarely gets above 60 degrees, but you probably won't mind in 100-degree heat. 960 1280

Al_HikesAZ, flickr  

Santa Monica Mountains National Rec Area, California

Santa Monica Mountains National Rec Area, California

Just 10 miles up the coast from Malibu, you'll find surfers, sunbathers and sea caves tucked along the rocky coasts and sandstone cliffs. 960 1280

Doug Dolde, Wikimedia Commons  

Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Get lost exploring Point Reyes's narrow stretches of sand and over 1,500 protected species of plants and animals. 960 1280

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Glen Canyon National Rec Area, Utah/Arizona

Glen Canyon National Rec Area, Utah/Arizona

Set among the red rocks, Lake Powell is perfect for water sports and cruising around coves in your boat. 960 1280

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Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park, Washington

If you're not blown away by the rocky sea stacks at the Point of Arches, at low tide check out the glowing tidal pools full of neon pink anemones and orange sea stars. 960 1280

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Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

Filled with lighthouses, quaint towns and picturesque beaches, Cape Cod is postcard-ready -- the only thing missing is you. 960 1280

Anne Homyak, flickr  

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine

Home to the tallest US mountain on the Atlantic, the rocky coast of Maine lures people to hike granite peaks, observe the wildlife, bike historic carriage roads or simply relax in the resort town of Bar Harbor. 960 1280

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Assateague Island, Maryland

Assateague Island, Maryland

Assateague Island conjures up images of wild horses, salt marshes and sandy beaches -- and because it's a protected national seashore that's exactly what you'll find. 960 1280

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Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Most of Hawaii's national parks protect volcanoes, but Haleakala or "House of the Sun" also features a beach of basalt stones and breathtaking waterfalls. 960 1280

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Redwood National Park, California

Redwood National Park, California

A herd of Roosevelt elk is often seen in the meadow near the Gold Bluffs Beach campground in a 10-mile stretch of northwestern California beach and sand dunes. 960 1280

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Biscayne National Park, Florida

Biscayne National Park, Florida

Biscayne is for serious water lovers since it is made up of only 5% land -- mostly coral reefs and shoreline. 960 1280

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Channel Islands National Park, California

Channel Islands National Park, California

Getting away from it all will take roughly an hour on a catamaran from the Southern California mainland, but then you'll be free to kayak, snorkel or swim to your heart’s content. 960 1280

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Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

Cumberland Island is the largest sea island and home to the ruins of Dungeness Manor, originally constructed in 1803. 960 1280

Jon Dawson, flickr  

Humpback whale breaching
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

  

Photos

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  

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, <i>Endless Summer</i>. 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  

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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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

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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

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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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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