What do condors, turtles, and horses have in common? Well, they’re all animals, for one. More important is that they all happen call the beach home. From designated sanctuaries to spots where you can observe spectacular creatures in the wild, here’s a guide to the best beaches for wildlife lovers.
Assateague Island, MarylandIt’s not every day that you get the chance to visit a beach so famous it has a book written about it. Equestrians young and old are likely to be familiar with Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague, a novel set around the raising of a filly born to the wild horses of this magical island. While the provenance of these amazing animals continues to be debated, it’s hard to deny that there’s something very special about a beach populated by over 300 wild horses.
Galapagos IslandsAnimal lovers, rejoice; this is the place to be. The volcanic archipelago is touted as one of the planet’s leading wildlife spotting destinations, and for good reason. With an abundance of flora and fauna to be observed, you’d be hard pressed to find any place more resplendent with life. 18 main islands and 4 smaller ones are all home to a broad range of exotic creatures from brightly feathered birds to the legendary Galapagos giant tortoise. Throw in some penguins, dolphins, and a few enormous lizards and you’ve got yourself the makings of the animal adventure of a lifetime.
Tierra del Fuego National Park, ChileSituated on the island of Tierra del Fuego, this national park is a jaw-dropping testament to the beauty of nature. Dense forests, dazzling waterfalls, and scenery worthy of the finest postcards are just the beginning of what makes this place one of a kind. Over 90 species of birds and 20 types of mammals call Tierra del Fuego park home, including (but certainly not limited to) Andean condors and foxes, austral parakeets, and muskrats. There is no shortage of things to do in the park so be sure to take some time to explore the beautiful lakes or take a trip on the End of the World train.
Tortuguero National Park, Limon, Costa RicaThe water is beautiful and the green of the trees and grasses is eye-poppingly bright, but what really dazzles at Tortuguero National Park is the turtles. A handful of breeds call this protected sanctuary home which is important since some turtles teetered on the brink of extinction as a result of hunting and poaching. The real action happens at night when the turtles lay their eggs on the beach but you’ll have to use a guide if you want to take a peek. Trust us, it’s worth it.
Trunk Bay, US Virgin IslandsPart of the Virgin Islands National Park, Trunk Bay is so incredibly gorgeous that it’s hard to put into words. The water is the brightest shade of turquoise imaginable, the sky seems bluer than blue, and the sand is so white that it practically glows. According to local government numbers, the area is home to a whopping 302 species of fish, 140 species of birds, 22 species of mammals, and 7 species of amphibians. Seriously, this place is unlike anywhere else on earth. No one can blame you if you never want to leave.