Jesse, depending on the location, you may have rough conditions that challenge you and your gear with tide and surf conspiring against you getting to your intended targets.
Out here on the West Coast, I use a fast sinking line 90% of the time, due to typically rough conditions. I occasionally use an intermediate line if conditions allow for it.
Last summer, I was in Florida and used a floating line in the surf along the Gulf Coast and it worked great for the local conditions there.
As RipTide wrote, evaluating the conditions and locating likely holding spots can be difficult at first. The more time you spend doing it, like anything else, the better you will be at spotting the structure that the fish like.
Studying the beach at extreme low tides will reveal the troughs, holes, and rocks that attract fish. Another way of spotting the underwater structure is by looking at how the waves break. If a wave is breaking, but then disappears, and then breaks again closer to shore, there is a trough parallel to shore that is causing the wave to do that. That should be a target for your cast. Waves breaking unevenly can demonstrate where holes and troughs are located.
Also, rip tides can create troughs in the sand, but also are powerful currents that pull bait and debris out to deeper water. Fish will target the edges of rip tides to catch bait as it is pulled away from the beach.
Nervous water can indicate fish activity or small holes and troughs that cause irregular movement of the water. This is another form of structure at which you should aim your casts.
In addition to on-the-water conditions, check your tide charts to target times when fish will likely be feeding close to shore. Getting to the beach just after low tide and fishing an incoming or rising tide can yield some of the best results in my experience. This puts the current in your favor by driving both predator and prey toward the beach.
Here are a few photographic examples that illustrate gear, conditions, and fish.