B E Y O N D the B E A C H 20 great experiences at U.S. coastal destinations BY PAT HENDERSON Y How many hot dogs can you eat in 10 minutes? One of the most enduring parts of coastal life is the cui- sine. In San Diego, the equation is simple: beach food = fish tacos. While Mexico was the birthplace of the fish taco, the tasty treat was first introduced in the U.S. in San Diego by Ralph Rubio in 1983. Across the last three decades the city has taken the tradi- tional fried and grilled fish tacos to another level by offering more experimental versions at restaurants, food trucks and roadside stands. Ever since it became a popular seaside getaway for the grow- ing New York City population in the early 1800s, Coney Island has carved out a place in the city’s lore. From the legendary 1927 Cyclone roller coaster and the 1918 Wonder Wheel to Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs and its can’t-look-away 4th of July eating competition, the amusement park on the sands of the Atlantic Ocean offers up a true slice of Americana. Coney Island 28 December 2017 bit.ly/2ztvshy If it’s San Diego, it must be fish tacos Close to South Beach, but a world away While chic South Beach remains a top draw in downtown Miami, the area also is home to one of America’s most unique NPS sites, Biscayne National Park. The park’s four ecosystems are popular spots for snorkeling, kayaking and glass-bottom boat tours, which reveal coral reefs, manatees, sharks, rays, crocodiles and more. ou’d be hard pressed to find anyone, spare maybe a few folks who are allergic to sand or extremely fair-skinned, that don’t relish the thought of a spending quality time at the beach. Even the most Type-A types can be swayed by the relaxing rhythm of the ocean and the gentle coastal breezes—or at least an umbrella drink or beer or four, right? While relaxing in the sand and working on a tan may be top priorities, there are plenty of other things that go into a well- rounded week at the beach. The following pages focus on 20 unique beyond-the-beach experiences at coastal destinations across the United States. The list includes enjoying fish tacos in San Diego, taking a stroll along Atlantic City’s famous boardwalk and kayaking through an estuary in Miami.