Few things say summer like the sun, the beach, and a boardwalk. Lined with cotton candy vendors, arcades, and stores full of cheap trinkets, boardwalks are a fixture of the American ocean landscape. Every summer, thousands of people flock to boardwalks to experience the unique sights, sounds, and foods.
As a celebration and salute to all things boardwalk, here are the top 5 boardwalks scattered throughout the United States.
5. Atlantic City Boardwalk, New Jersey
First built in 1870 to reduce the amount of sand beachgoers brought into trains and hotels lobbies, the Atlantic City Boardwalk has become a true American icon. At four miles long, those who walk the wooden path will find themselves winding past brightly flashing casinos, large, elegant hotel towers, massive arcade halls, and a neon-lit amusement pier that sparkles in the night like a beacon on the sea.
- Getting pushed along the boardwalk in a wicker chair is a tradition dating all the way back to 1887 and a truly luxurious way to take in the sights and sounds.
- The Absecon Lighthouse is the third-largest lighthouse in America and those on the boardwalk can get a close view of this majestic tower.
4. Coney Island Boardwalk, Brooklyn, New York
Ahh, Coney Island. In the 19th century, this wooden walkway was called “Sodom by the Sea” due to the numerous gambling houses and brothels surrounding it, but in the 1980’s it began to make a comeback. Recently, New York City breathed new life into the iconic amusement park, Luna Park, by installing 19 new rides. Included in the revitalization was the much anticipated Air Race and entertainment shows full of magic and juggling. It is gaining in popularity so perhaps you should plan on waiting in line for these rides.
- Make sure to grab an ice cold lager at the Freak Bar, which is located directly next to the “freak show”. At the freak show you can take in the sword swallowers, fire eaters, and snake charmers.
3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Constructed in 2010, the 1.2 mile long Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk & Promenade revitalized the Grand Strand beachfront. The walkway is lined with souvenir shops and arcades, as well as beautiful oceanfront park near the 2nd Avenue Pier. Every summer evening, walkers will stumble upon live entertainment, including stilt walkers, jugglers, bagpipers, and a weekly fireworks display.
- If gift shops are your thing, you absolutely can’t miss the “Gay Dolphin Gift Cove” (yes the real name). At 30,000 square feet, this mammoth of a gift shop has 70,000 different items, allowing you to shop to your heart’s content.
2. Ocean Front Walk, Venice Beach, California
The Venice Boardwalk is at the center of the wild, loose, free culture that dominated the 1960’s and continues until this day. Along the three mile stretch, you will encounter fortune tellers, tattoo artists, weight lifters, jewelry peddlers, street performers, and a host of other sights and sounds. If you want a little more culture and class, you can visit many of the upscale boutiques and take in the beachfront properties, much of which is owned by Hollywood starlets.
- Make sure to bring plenty of dollar bills to tip the many street performers along the boardwalk. They work hard to make their living performing!
- If you want to see some massive bodybuilders, don’t miss the famed Venice Beach!
1. Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, Delaware
This boardwalk was built with the city 1873 as a place to for Methodist camp meetings, and now it serves as a prime attraction for those at the beach. Attempts have been made in recent years to give the mile-long boardwalk a bit of a facelift, with a yellow pine herringbone patterned walkway replacing the ugly concrete. Featuring open air concerts, quaint cottages, and gorgeous scenery, this boardwalk has a distinctly vintage feel.
- Visit Funland and Surfside Arcade for some good old fashioned family fun. Who’s best at skeeball?
- If you’re craving candy, make sure to pay a visit to Dolle’s Salt Water Taffy for some chewy, sticky goodness.
Your Next Vacation
Now that we have you craving funnel cake, boardwalks, beaches, and crashing surf, better make your reservations now, as they fill up fast. You can plan a boardwalk trip every year, taking you from coast to coast, giving you access to both beautiful scenes and garish carnivals, and some of the best deep fried treats on the planet!.