The World of the Coast

Top Coastal Destinations
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Some top coastal destinations:

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey, California: A visit to this state-of-the-art aquarium is a superb family outing, with hands-on exhibits for children and a cadre of energetic volunteers. Wildlife from sea otters to urchins, jellyfish, starfish and sharks occupy aquariums designed to interpret the ecology of Monterey Bay. For lucky visitors, a walk at sunset along the beach of Monterey Bay may yield a cruising pod of porpoise.

Briggs Nature Center
Marco Island, Florida: This is an interpretive facility for the 9,200-acre Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, in southwest Florida's splendid Gulf region. Boardwalks and trails traverse mangrove and pine woodlands, with open beach a stone's throw away. Brown pelicans, the occasional (rare) manatee, shorebirds, and the Florida scrub jay are found here, among many other species. Guided tours by pontoon boat are offered between December and April, in addition to canoe trips and other wilderness excursions.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
North Carolina: State and federal parks and wildlife areas are strung along this chain of barrier islands off the northern shore. Buxton Woods, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, and Nags Head Woods are just a few of the areas open to visitation, with abundant opportunities to see coastal wildlife large and small—from salamanders in freshwater ponds to laughing gulls, terns, and maritime butterfly species during the summer.

More on Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Lookout State Park
Tillamook, Oregon: Visitors who hit a stretch of clear weather here in April may see a gray whale making its annual spring migration back to Alaska, and Cape Lookout, with its panoramic ocean views, offers a perfect vantage point. Pacific seabirds—tufted puffin, auklet, pigeon guillemot—are another attraction here. The cape is cloaked in a beautiful mature forest of Sitka spruce and western hemlock.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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