Ah, a trip to the beach. The idyllic summer getaway. Sand, sun, and water, what could be simpler. But some beaches aren’t quite so simple. Some have secrets and memories and histories. Beaches can have personality.
Some represent geological wonders, where sand runs the color spectrum or pebbles sing. Others are treasure troves of lost history—ancient graves, shipwrecks, and even the remains of an ancient ghost forest. Many aren’t exactly vacation hotspots, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t wondrous in their own right. From remnants of World War II to shores covered in sparkling sea glass, here are 18 of our favorite surprising beaches.