The weird history behind the American beach vacation

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The weird history behind the American beach vacation

The modern-day American beach vacation is a relatively new concept.

Beach-going is actually a concept borrowed from the Brits.

Before the 1700s, most people's idea of the ocean came from the Bible. It depicted the ocean as full of shipwrecks and natural disasters.

17th century art began to reveal the beauty of the ocean and attracted tourists to seaside towns.

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A century later, doctors in England began prescribing ocean treatment for "melancholy." They believed deep sea baths helped cure feelings of sadness.

When oxygen was discovered in 1778, the health benefits of sea air were popularized. These benefits made beach visits a status symbol amongst Britain's upper class.

19th century transportation allowed the entire social ladder to jump in, and visiting the beach soon became an international trend.

By 1960, tourist havens like Coney Island became the beaches we know and love today.

Click through the gallery below to see the 6 most romantic beaches in the world:

6 most romantic beaches in the world
See Gallery
6 most romantic beaches in the world

Great Rock Bight, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts: “You’ll have to brave a half-mile trail and steep steps to reach this remote beach in a sheltered bay with views across Vineyard Sound, but you could easily wind up with the place to yourselves,” says Alex Baackes of

Kealakekua Bay, Big Island, Hawaii: “A two-mile trail through lava fields and dense woodland leads to this popular kayaking and snorkeling spot,” says Jessica Festa of “With a mountainous backdrop and turquoise water, it’s the perfect place for a romantic picnic.”

Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand: “You’ll recognize this cove—with its towering limestone formations and crystal-clear water that lights up at night thanks to bioluminescent plankton—from Leonardo DiCaprio and Virginie Ledoyen’s underwater kiss in The Beach,” says Jessica Wray of

Praia do Paraíso, the Algarve, Portugal: “This private cove just around the corner from the main Carvoeiro Beach on Portugal’s spectacular southern coast is often empty,” says Monica Stott of “Perfectly enclosed by tall cliffs, it’s paradise.”

Playa Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico: “Just past the Nude Bungalows and Spa—yep, that’s its real name—along the country’s rugged Pacific coast is a beautiful, secluded cove with just enough privacy to give you the courage to shed your swimsuit—it’s allowed!” says Andrew Sim, who blogs with girlfriend Emily Gough at

Wilderness Beach, Puerto Rico: “After a 20-minute walk along a trail through the jungle, you suddenly come to a rock-shielded beach so magical and windswept it feels like a mermaid could wash ashore at any moment,” says Christina Pérez of


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