10 Magnificent Boardwalks of America

Photo by Jenny Sturm at Shutterstock

On June 26, 1870, the first boardwalk in the US opened in Atlantic City. A boardwalk stroll is one of ANY season’s greatest pleasures. Visitors can play games, have their fortunes told, hit up unique shops, or people-watch if they just want to relax. From the blinking Jersey Shore to the sublime West Coast, check out these 10 boardwalks where childhood lasts forever!

  1. Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
    Not all boardwalks are by the ocean. Along Lake Michigan in the Windy City, Navy Pier has a 150-foot-high Ferris wheel that lets you take in the skyline and lake, mini-golf, a carousel, wave swinger, and remote-control boats. And don’t skip “America’s Dog” hot dog with all the works!
  2. Sandwich Boardwalk, Sandwich, MA
    Okay, this isn’t a honky-tonk boardwalk, but you’ll have to bring your own funnel cakes! It’s a boardwalk made for a stroll and taking in the fresh air, unforgettable sky, and water which Cape Cod is known for.
  3. Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY
    Sure, the name may conjure images of early-20th-century couples strolling by the sea. But the revitalized Luna amusement park isn’t your grandfather’s Coney Island. The 3 -mile-long boardwalk mixes the tawdry, flame-jugglers, and knife-swallowers with classic beachfront scenes, making for a one-of-a-kind experience.
  4. Long Beach Boardwalk, WA
    You won’t find masses visiting the Long Beach Boardwalk. It’s not covered with carnival rides and hot dog vendors, but the boardwalk sits by the mighty Pacific and stretches through the rolling dunes for almost half a mile. It’s the perfect sunset spot to relax over the Pacific Ocean or watch the sunrise over the Willapa Hills.
  5. Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA
    The Ferris wheel here is so close to the water that you can almost see yourself dipping into the Pacific. There are gentle rides for your little ones, and you can take a ride on the beautifully carved and painted carousel that appeared in the Academy Award-winning motion picture “The Sting.”
  6. Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade, Myrtle Beach, SC
    Even though this opened just in 2010, it feels as if it’s been there forever. The Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade feature the Family Kingdom amusement park, welcoming crowds with its charm and hospitality, including the massive Skywheel and Slingshot and the Twist ‘n Shout steel roller coaster.
  7. Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach, DE
    This mid-Atlantic beauty offers a relaxing type of boardwalk experience. It’s not large, fancy, or loaded with thrilling rides. Instead, this place runs at a quiet, family-friendly speed that can be just what the doctor ordered. Kids will love the rides and snacks along the boardwalk. Meanwhile, the grown-ups will appreciate the clean, laid-back beach and charming town.
  8. Old Orchard Beach Boardwalk, Old Orchard Beach, ME
    We associate New England with peaceful stretches of beach, but the boardwalk in Old Orchard Beach makes an exception, with a full-out amusement park, Palace Playland, right by the ocean. You’ll find fun rides for the kids, family-friendly water slides, and the crazy adrenaline-junkie stuff, too, if that’s what you’re looking for.
  9. Virginia Beach Boardwalk, Virginia Beach, VA
    While there are many great beaches and boardwalks to choose from, what makes Virginia beach unique, besides a beautiful stretch of sand and attractions, is seeing dolphins right off the shore, and remarkable history just down the road.
  10. Kemah Boardwalk, Kemah, TX
    The Gulf Coast needed a boardwalk, and Kemah, just 20 miles from downtown Houston, fits the bill, having expanded from a popular dining spot to a full-blown family-travel destination.

Wooden roller coasters are rickety and fast. And the nostalgia-inducing sounds of classic arcade games make you feel like a kid again. The breeze carries the aroma of salty french fries. Foodies will relish treats such as saltwater taffy and hot dogs. But the great part about boardwalks is that you can also lay back and reminisce the early years, strolling around through your memories.

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1 thought on “10 Magnificent Boardwalks of America”

  1. You missed the great old Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California. There is still a funhouse there, though I haven’t checked it out in years. I used to be a champ at holding onto my spot in the center of of whirling “pancake” which twirls at increasing speeds as you hold tight, arms down at your sides. You can also walk in a constantly turning barrel and walk the “waves” . Then there is the long, wavey wooden slide, on which you sit on a burlap bag to slide down it.
    The roller coaster there is definitely not for sissys. It’s thrilling, to be sure.
    Yes, it’s on the Pacific Ocean beach. Lots of games, jukebox, fortune teller, etc.

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