40 Best Boardwalks in the Country

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happy man walking with woman on boardwalk in city
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SEASIDE STROLLS

Boardwalks are bastions of American culture and consumption, where prime beachside properties are used to cram in as many thrill rides, midway games, fast-food stands, and other attractions as physically possible. They have a lot to offer, in other words, but they don't all fit neatly into one definition. Take a stroll through our list to see what makes each of them unique.

Atlantic City Boardwalk, New Jersey
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ATLANTIC CITY BOARDWALK | NEW JERSEY

New Jersey boasts the most boardwalks of any state by a longshot, and it all started with Atlantic City, which erected the nation's first boardwalk in 1870. One of America's most iconic attractions, the boardwalk has become the main thoroughfare for many of Atlantic City's most popular resorts and tourist attractions, including the Boardwalk Hall convention center. Here a favorite pastime is riding the boardwalk's 4-mile length on a wicker-canopied rickshaw.
Santa Monica Pier, California
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SANTA MONICA PIER | CALIFORNIA

With its neon-lit Ferris wheel hanging over the ocean, the Santa Monica Pier is a bustling L.A. landmark. Aside from the roller coaster and other thrilling attractions of Pacific Park, the wooden pier is also home to an aquarium, pubs, food and ice cream shops, and a tackle shop for anglers fishing off the docks.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, California
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SANTA CRUZ BEACH BOARDWALK | CALIFORNIA

The other obvious choice for most iconic West Coast boardwalk, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk extends along California's Monterey Bay coast and is dominated by the state's oldest surviving theme park. With a $40 all-day wristband, visitors can enjoy a sandy beach, three roller coasters, and 35 total rides, two of which are on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk & Promenade, South Carolina
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MYRTLE BEACH OCEANFRONT BOARDWALK & PROMENADE | SOUTH CAROLINA

A newer contender for the nation's best boardwalk, Myrtle Beach finished its 1.2-mile oceanfront promenade in 2010 at a cost of more than $6 million. The northern portion is a prototypical boardwalk, featuring bars, restaurants, and arcades along a raised wooden pathway, while the southern is more park-like, meandering through verdant landscaping and sand dunes.
Ocean City Boardwalk, Maryland
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OCEAN CITY BOARDWALK | MARYLAND

Ocean City is one of the mid-Atlantic's most renowned seaside destinations, and the town's 3-mile boardwalk is at the heart of its shopping and entertainment offerings. Visitors here encounter all forms of iconic boardwalk attractions, from street performers and amusement park rides to saltwater taffy stands and a Life Saving Station Museum devoted to the men that once patrolled these Atlantic shores to rescue shipwreck survivors.
Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, Delaware
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REHOBOTH BEACH BOARDWALK | DELAWARE

Though not as popular as Ocean City to the south, Rehoboth Beach is another summer vacation hotspot centered around its beach-facing wooden boardwalk, first built in 1873. The vintage shops and general old-timey atmosphere will charm families, while Poodle Beach at the boardwalk's southern end is now a popular LGBT destination.
Kemah Boardwalk in Texas
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KEMAH BOARDWALK | TEXAS

The rare Gulf Coast entry, Kemah Boardwalk near Houston is a 60-acre theme park on Galveston Bay that's grown since 1988 into a worthy weekend destination. It's free to walk through and peruse the half-mile of carnival rides, restaurants, midway games, steam train replicas, and shops.

Oceanfront Boardwalk, San Diego
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OCEANFRONT BOARDWALK | SAN DIEGO

Walking, jogging, bicycling, and rollerblading are all popular along this 3½-mile stretch, spanning two of San Diego's best metropolitan beach communities, from South Mission to North Pacific. There are the requisite amusement park rides and carnival games at Belmont Park, which also offers an Olympic-size indoor pool for when the saltwater doesn't suit you.
Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, Florida
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HOLLYWOOD BEACH BROADWALK | FLORIDA

Not a boardwalk but a broadwalk, this 2.5-mile, terracotta-paved path was built ultrawide to accommodate more pedestrians, plus a bike lane and public trolley that runs during daytime. Dine on the restaurants' outdoor patios to enjoy the sea breeze and evening performers, or come for the Sunday organic farmers market to sample exotic fruit smoothies.
Huron Boardwalk, St. Ignace, Michigan
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HURON BOARDWALK | ST. IGNACE, MICHIGAN

As you might expect on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the lakeside Huron Boardwalk is not as lively as other entries on this list, but it is most certainly scenic. The tree-lined wooden boardwalk follows between the rocky shoreline and independent shops of downtown St. Ignace, also featuring tasty seafood restaurants and attractions like the Museum of Ojibwa Culture.
Navy Pier, Chicago
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NAVY PIER | CHICAGO

One of the Midwest's most popular and by all accounts best attractions, Navy Pier extends 3,300 feet into Lake Michigan, to encompass more than 50 acres that include hot dog stands, water taxi takeoff points, mini-golf holes, an IMAX theater, a 150-foot high Ferris wheel, a carousel, a funhouse maze, and the botanical garden event venue Crystal Gardens.
Coney Island, New York
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CONEY ISLAND | NEW YORK

Coney Island was home to three of the nation's most iconic theme parks around the turn of the century, and a new iteration of one – Luna Park – reopened in 2010. The Wonder Wheel, Cyclone, and Parachute Jump are all designated New York City landmarks, while newer attractions include the looping, corkscrewing Thunderbolt coaster, art displays, skeeball stands, and Nathan's Hot Dogs.
Rockaway Beach Boardwalk, New York
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ROCKAWAY BEACH BOARDWALK | NEW YORK

Not as flashy as nearby Coney Island, this far-East Queens neighborhood draws lots of beachgoers in the warm season for the scenery, concessions, and the city's only legal surfing. The 5.5-mile boardwalk winding along it all was heavily impacted by Hurricane Sandy, but finally fully reopened to the public, with sturdier materials, on Memorial Day 2017.
Long Beach, New York
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LONG BEACH | NEW YORK

Going a tad further north on Long Island, this boardwalk offers more of the same winning recipe, with miles of wooden pathway and park benches facing powder-white sand and Atlantic Ocean. There are also surf schools, sunbathers, ice cream shops, and diverse dining options a few blocks removed on E Park Avenue.
Long Beach, Washington
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LONG BEACH | WASHINGTON

Like most oceanside scenery in the Pacific Northwest, this boardwalk in Washington state offers something more rugged and remote than its counterparts in California. The elevated pathway runs a half-mile over coastal wetlands and a trail originally traced by Lewis and Clark, featuring picnic areas and interpretive displays within walking distance of downtown Long Beach.
Venice Beach Boardwalk, Los Angeles
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VENICE BEACH BOARDWALK | LOS ANGELES

Though not technically a boardwalk, this concrete promenade running parallel to Venice Beach ranks as one of L.A.'s liveliest areas for people-watching. This isn't the place for crystal clear waters or old-timey atmosphere, but a bustling metropolitan thoroughfare brimming with outrageous performers, art vendors, fast-food stands, and pot dispensaries.
Old Orchard Beach, Maine
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OLD ORCHARD BEACH | MAINE

Old Orchard Beach is like the Coney Island of Maine, with kitschy souvenir shops and fatty fast-food purveyors leading the way to Palace Playground, New England's last remaining oceanfront theme park. The wooden pier features saltwater taffy stands, carnival games, delicious seafood, and expansive views of the Atlantic.
Wailea Oceanfront Boardwalk, Maui, Hawaii
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WAILEA OCEANFRONT BOARDWALK | MAUI, HAWAII

Also called Wailea Beach Path, this palm-lined wooden pathway encompasses in 3 miles five white sand beaches, eight oceanfront resorts, and numerous chances for spotting wildlife like sea turtles or breaching humpbacks. It's a great resource for enjoying Maui's typically gorgeous scenery within one of its more appealing resort districts.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk, Virginia
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VIRGINIA BEACH BOARDWALK | VIRGINIA

Three miles long and 28-feet wide, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk pays tribute to marine environments like the adjacent Atlantic with a 12-ton statue of King Neptune, a historic Coast Guard Station, and the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum. Of course, there's also the Atlantic Fun Park, plus numerous resort hotels, dining options, and bike rental stations featuring four-seat surreys as a way for families to leisurely travel the extra-broad pathway.
Wildwood Boardwalk, New Jersey
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WILDWOOD BOARDWALK | NEW JERSEY

The population of Wildwood swells by the thousands in summertime, and the main draw is its classic Jersey Shore-style boardwalk featuring Morey's Piers amusement park and twin water parks. A tramcar runs along its 1.8-mile length, where flashy carnival games and great street food from pizza to gyros abounds.
Carolina Beach Boardwalk, North Carolina
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CAROLINA BEACH BOARDWALK | NORTH CAROLINA

Rocking wooden benches line the Carolina Beach boardwalk, bustling with live music, fireworks and out-of-towners in the warm seasons. All the standard beachside entertainment options are present, from bars and ice cream shops to surf schools and a seasonal amusement park.
Hampton Beach Boardwalk, New Hampshire
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HAMPTON BEACH BOARDWALK | NEW HAMPSHIRE

Often considered the best beach in its state, Hampton Beach is served by a 1.3-mile boardwalk along Ocean Boulevard, running between the North Atlantic coast and a host of seafood stands and casino resorts. Some beachgoers get competitive about volleyball tournaments and ornate sand-sculpting, while up to 100 free concerts are held at the waterfront Seashell Stage in season.
Sandwich Boardwalk, Massachusetts
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SANDWICH BOARDWALK | MASSACHUSETTS

More a nature walk than a metropolitan experience, this boardwalk begins in sleepy downtown Sandwich – near the start of the Cape Cod peninsula – and crosses over dunes and marshes to reach the north-facing town beach, where ice cream trucks are a regular fixture in summertime. The boardwalk's planks are also engraved with the names of local donors who helped fund the last repair.
Seaside Heights Boardwalk, New Jersey
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SEASIDE HEIGHTS BOARDWALK | NEW JERSEY

Aside from the beaches themselves, the boardwalk businesses are the main visitor draw in this Jersey town, as in many others. Two lengthy piers – one still undergoing repairs from a fire that followed the damage done by Hurricane Sandy, the other home to combo amusement-and-water park Casino Pier – bookend a 1-mile promenade of arcades, souvenir shops, pizzerias, ice cream parlors, and other sweets purveyors.
Jenkinson's Boardwalk, Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey
Photo credit: Jenkinson's Beach Boardwalk by Shinya Suzuki (CC BY-ND)

JENKINSON'S BOARDWALK | POINT PLEASANT BEACH, NEW JERSEY

Point Pleasant Beach is another Jersey Shore town that packs a lot of kitsch and family fun into just 1 mile of beachfront property. Jenkinson's Boardwalk is the amusement complex at the center of it all, managing thrill rides, mini golf courses, an aquarium, multiple arcades, and the Adventure Lookout ropes course.
Miami Beach Boardwalk, Florida
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MIAMI BEACH BOARDWALK | FLORIDA

This boardwalk won't take you through the trendy shops and vibrant nightlife scene of South Beach. Instead, it runs 2.5 miles through Mid-Beach, boasting a more secluded place for a morning jog or afternoon stroll, squarely between shimmering blue waters and palm-fringed resort towers.
Pleasure Pier, Galveston, Texas
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PLEASURE PIER | GALVESTON, TEXAS

The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is a recreation of the original, destroyed in 1961 by Hurricane Carla, which extends more than a 1,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico. Since opening in 2012, the pier has expanded to include a steel roller coaster and 14 additional thrill rides, plus the carnival games and fried-food offerings to rival its peers on either coast.
Pier 60, Clearwater, Florida
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PIER 60 | CLEARWATER, FLORIDA

From two hours before sunset until two hours after, artisans, street performers, shoppers, and more all come out to enjoy Sunsets at Pier 60, a year-round marketplace and event series also featuring select film screenings in summer. With a concession stand, children's playground, and bungee outfitter, the Pier 60 recreational park gives way to a 1,080-foot fishing pier renowned for its bounty of trout, redfish, and snapper depending on the season.
Seattle Waterfront, Washington
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SEATTLE WATERFRONT | WASHINGTON

Ferries take off regularly for remote Puget Sound islands from the southern end of Seattle's downtown waterfront, where the city's gold rush history shines through souvenir shops like Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe and old-fashioned midway games at Miner's Landing. A stroll northward will take you past multiple wooden piers, seafood eateries, a giant Ferris wheel and the city aquarium before ending at the striking Olympic Sculpture Park.
Daytona Beach Boardwalk, Florida
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DAYTONA BEACH BOARDWALK | FLORIDA

Constructed extra-wide and using concrete rather than wood, this "broadwalk" features all the usual amenities for visitors to enjoy, including an amusement park with Ferris Wheel and go-carts, two arcades, gift shops, and snack bars. Turn up in the summer for free nightly performers and live music at the beachside bandshell, as well as fireworks displays every Saturday until Labor Day.
Lake Charles Boardwalk, Louisiana
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LAKE CHARLES BOARDWALK | LOUISIANA

Brick pathways for walking and biking follow along the north shore of Lake Charles for a more laid-back, freshwater take on the boardwalk. The Boardwalk Park livens up at least for the first two weeks of May, when more than 200,000 attend Contraband Days, an annual celebration brimming with live entertainment and Cajun cuisine.
Newport Bayfront, Oregon
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NEWPORT BAYFRONT | OREGON

You're just as likely to hear sea lions as tourists while walking along the harbor in Newport, one of the Oregon coast's most trafficked towns. Sailboats and commercial fisheries still dominate the waterfront side of Bay Boulevard, while bars, restaurants, galleries, and artisan souvenir shops dominate the opposite side.
Pier 39, San Francisco
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PIER 39 | SAN FRANCISCO

Pier 39 is perhaps the most touristy part of San Francisco's tourist-clogged Fisherman's Wharf, and with good reason. Sea lions lounge on docks over the side, while shops, restaurants, street performers, a two-story carousel, and an arcade featuring virtual 3D rides occupy much of the wooden pier itself.
Cocoa Beach Pier, Florida
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COCOA BEACH PIER | FLORIDA

Rent fishing equipment and cast off up to 800 feet out in the Atlantic waters off Cocoa Beach Pier, the centerpiece of the town's sandy beachfront. There's also a surf school, an arcade, volleyball courts, souvenir and boutique shops, and several casual eateries right atop the pier.
Naples Pier, Florida
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NAPLES PIER | FLORIDA

The nearby beach has its share of bars and restaurants, but you won't find many businesses aside from a lone concession stand on the Naples Pier itself. Rather, the real attractions here are the spectacular Gulf Coast sunsets and frolicking dolphin pods often visible from the pier's end.
Big Bog Boardwalk, Waskish, Minnesota
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BIG BOG BOARDWALK | WASKISH, MINNESOTA

Far from any sort of beach, this relatively new raised boardwalk runs 1 mile through a portion of the largest peat bog in the lower 48 states, so now even wheelchair-bound visitors to Big Bog State Recreation Area can travel amongst the spruce forests and open wetlands.
Grand Haven Boardwalk, Michigan
Photo credit: Grand Haven Boardwalk by michiganseagrant (CC BY-NC-ND)

GRAND HAVEN BOARDWALK | MICHIGAN

A concrete boardwalk follows the Grand River out to Lake Michigan on Grand Haven's historic harbor lined with shops, restaurants, and charter fishing boats. From the fishing outfitter and mini golf holes near the Wharf Marina, it's a pleasant, 1.5-mile walk to the Grand Haven Lighthouse, at the end of a long pier where swimmers jump in the lake come summertime.
Crescent Beach Boardwalk, Algoma, Wisconsin
Photo credit: Crescent Beach Boardwalk, Algoma, Wisconsin by Ken Lund (CC BY-SA)

CRESCENT BEACH BOARDWALK | ALGOMA, WISCONSIN

Kayak Lake Michigan in summer or marvel at its imposing ice shelves in winter from Algoma's modest boardwalk, running a half-mile and made from recycled plastic lumber. Crescent Beach has its fair share of sandy shoreline leading toward a pierhead lighthouse and many options for drinking and dining near downtown Algoma.
Newport Beach Boardwalk, California
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NEWPORT BEACH BOARDWALK | CALIFORNIA

A 3-mile concrete boardwalk takes walkers, bikers, skaters, and rollerblader along the length of Newport Beach's Balboa Peninsula, home to some of southern California's most famous piers and beachside attractions, like the frozen bananas at Balboa Bar. Children will love the old-fashioned Fun Zone's timeless thrill rides, while families can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and powerboats to see the beach from another vantage point.
Disney World Boardwalk, Orlando, Florida
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DISNEY WORLD BOARDWALK | ORLANDO, FLORIDA

The lack of ocean nearby didn't stop Disney from building its own boardwalk at their theme park complex in Orlando. Outside the Boardwalk Inn, their version offers a quarter-mile of Coney Island-style wooden plankway through shops, restaurants, midway games, street performers, and nightlife spots.

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