South Padre Island, Texas  

South Padre Island, Texas

Located a few miles offshore on the Texas Gulf Coast, Padre Island is the largest of the state"s string of barrier islands. At 113 miles in length, it is also the longest barrier island in the world. Barrier islands usually run parallel to the coast and, as the name suggests, serve as the mainland"s first line of defense against storms.

© Jeff R Clow/Getty Images

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