America's Superlative Beaches
The unofficial start of summer is upon us. And in the event of pleasant weather, it may be difficult to snag prime real estate on the beach. Luckily, some sandy destinations offer more than just the chance to bake in the sun and catch a wave. Here are four of the country's most unique beaches.
Miami Beach, Florida
For decades, Miami Beach was where New York retirees (and international drug kingpins) went to die. Even after it caught on with the celebrity and fashion crowds in the '90s, few drew a connection between Miami and high culture. Art Basel has changed that during its recent ascension toward the top of the international art fair totem pole. Some gripe that fairs merely serve to commodify art and that Miami's Basel is more about parties than paintings. A dip in the perpetually warm Atlantic should momentarily end all complaining.
Venice Beach, California
Venice's coastal attractions range from the pecs on display at Muscle Beach to a raffish boardwalk redolent of weed to the just inland canals. Skaters and taggers still flock here and somehow put up with gawking tourists. But the area's laidback funkiness has recently welcomed a barrage of ambitious tech start-ups like Snapchat and Whisper. Google also has a significant footprint in the once shabby-chic but now just chic oceanfront LA 'hood.
Coney Island, Brooklyn
Even in its most down-at-heel days, Coney Island's rides (especially the world-renowned Cyclone) and long strip of beach attracted hordes of daytrippers and locals. Attendance has only increased since Italian theme park operator Zamperla took control of and spiffed up the amusement areas and boardwalk retailers. (Joe Sitt's Thor Equities is working its retail game on inland tenants.) But between the annual Mermaid Parade and the still-going Sideshow by the Seashore, there's still plenty of grit to be found alongside an original Nathan's dog.
Beach Most Due for a Comeback
Atlantic City, New Jersey
It's been a rough several decades for Atlantic City. But the past two years have been exceptionally hard, with shoreline casinos and resorts falling like dominos to bankruptcy and closure. Now, Florida investor Glenn Straub has stepped up to the table with a bet to finally revive the East Coast gambling mecca's former glory. Straub last month plunked down $82M on the bankrupt Revel and, despite some local and union opposition to his plans, hopes to secure it as a lynchpin for further redevelopment.