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Not a beach bunny? 10 spots that will tickle your non-sand-loving fancy

If sunning on a golden stretch of sand isn’t your idea of fun, not to worry; you can still have a great vacation at the beach.

The travel gurus at Cheapflights.com have devised a top-10 list of beaches for the non-beach bum. These strands, listed in no particular order, offer more than the usual “sand, seashells and sunshine.”

Long Beach, Canada

Set along Vancouver Island’s remote west coast, Long Beach, pictured at top, attracts storm watchers who view nature’s fury from lodges that dot the waterfront. The big waves also attract serious surfers. The 10-mile-long beach is within Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

El Castillo, Mexico

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The largest building of the Tulum complex, the guard tower nicknamed El Castillo (Bjørn Christian Tørrissen / Wikimedia Commons)

The historic backdrop of El Castillo along Mexico's Riviera Maya is the draw: Perched on a cliff overlooking the white sand and turquoise sea are the Maya ruins of Tulum.

Bahía Gardner, Galápagos

Ideal for nature viewing, Bahía Gardner, Española Island, is home to a large colony of sea lions that bask on the beach during mating season. You can see tons of colorful birds. 

Kite Beach, Dominican Republic

The aptly named Kite Beach, Cabarete, is a kite boarder’s dream. Cabarete, about 20 minutes from the Puerto Plata international airport, is so well known for its wind that its website features wind forecasts and records.

Jurassic Coast, England

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Formed by shifts in the Earth's surface 100 million years ago, England's Jurassic Coast is known for its fossils. (Visit England)

The Jurassic Coast is near Dorset and East Devon, England. This UNESCO world heritage site is a treasure trove for fossil hunters. The rocky cliffs beside the sand were created when the Earth’s layers tilted and eroded 100 million years ago.

Maho Beach, St. Martin

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The appeal of Maho Beach in St. Martin is plane spotting. (Patrick Hawks / Wikimedia Commons)

This is definitely not the place for people seeking peace and quiet. Maho Beach is beside a Princess Juliana International Airport  runway. The attraction is plane spotting. Earlier this year, a reporter for Britain’s Daily Mail noted that “the sheer size of the aircraft dwarfs the tourists underneath it, who pose for photographs and watch in awe.”

Playa Grande, Costa Rica

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A Wilson's plover chick, Playa Grande, Costa Rica (Cephas / Wikimedia Commons)

Playa Grande, along the Pacific coast in a town of the same name, is known for surfing. The breaks are described as moderate and constant, which means they’re good for both new and experienced surfers. From October to May, leatherneck turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand.

90 Mile Beach, Australia

A long walk on 90 Mile Beach, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, is more – far more – than a cliche; at this destination a couple of hours’ drive east of Melbourne. Stretching for 90 miles, it is one of the world’s longest.

Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands

Often ranked among the Caribbean’s best beaches, Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman is really only 6 1/2 miles long. But with terrific snorkeling just off the beach, who’s counting? Another plus: It’s a public beach, so tourists can visit regardless of where they’re staying.

Sunset Beach, Hawaii

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Famous for its whopper winter waves, Sunset Beach sits along Oahu's North Shore about an hour north of Honolulu. (Tor Johnson / Hawaii Tourism Authority)

The surf is always up at Sunset Beach in Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore. During the winter, people come for the huge waves. The waves are why Sunset Beach is home to the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

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