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The cinder cone of the Papakolea green sand beach on Hawaii's Big Island. (Mihaela Nica/Dreamstime/TNS)

Schools are out, temperatures are rising and COVID-19 restrictions are falling. That means vacation time and, for many, that means a beach destination.

Here are some fun facts about the nation’s beaches you can talk about during your car trip.

1. Longest beach shoreline: California and Florida have the best known beaches in the United States, but which one has the most shoreline? Actually, it’s neither. The nation’s largest state, Alaska, has 33,904 miles, which is more than a third of the country’s total 95,439 miles. Florida is way behind in second place at 8,436 miles.

2. Beaches with wild horses: You probably know about Cumberland Island’s beautiful wild horses, but it isn’t the only beach where they gallup. Assateague Island National Seashore, a beach south of Ocean City, Maryland, is well known for the presence of feral horses that roam freely.

3. The sand that “sings”: Singing Beach, about 30 miles north of Boston in the town Manchester-by-the-Sea, doesn’t so much sing as it does squeak. Henry David Thoreau compared it to waxing a table, while author Edmund H. Garrett said it seemed to him like “the crisp little note that the snow gives out in very cold weather.” Geology professor Joel S. Block said it sounds like sneakers on a gym floor. The sound he said, is caused by the “angular and spherically shaped grains (of sand) with a lack of impurities.”

4. “Planet of the Apes” beach: When Charleton Heston drops to his knees and curses humanity in front of the remains of the Statue of Liberty, he is hit by waves at Malibu’s Point Dume State Beach. The replica of Lady Liberty was buried in the sand at the southern end of Pirate’s Cove throughout the entire summer of 1968, when the movie was filmed.

5. Colorful beaches: We’re not talking about the people who frolic in the surf. If you think all beaches have sand that’s either white or, well, the color of sand, then you’re going to need to add some colors to your paint palette. Here are U.S. beaches with colored sand:

Purple: Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California

Gray: Ocean Cape Area, Gulf of Alaska, and Shelter Cove, Humboldt County, California

Dark brown: Rockaway Beach, Pacifica, California

Red: Kaihalulu Beach, Maui

Green: Papakolea Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

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