Re: Help With Beach/Retouch
You listed off a set of tools rather than a strategy, and that is a significant part of your problem. I get that the footprints are ugly. Gather examples that are similar to your idea of a "pristine" beach, including at least some that are shot under similar lighting. Gather as many as you can, choosing the top 10 or so that fit best.
Now look at the reference images and try to imagine whether you could in fact achieve something similar. If it's not feasible from this image, you have other options. You could try to find a cleaner patch of sand and comp that in, matching all necessary details. You could give up. You could think about what would constitute an acceptable solution given your starting image.
It should be possible to get a cleaner look than what you have right now, but it would take a lot of work. Just do yourself a favor and stop thinking of things in terms of clone, burn and dodge, etc. That's too granular of a thought process. There isn't a software solution on the market today that will allow you to avoid putting any thought into this.