Best US Boardwalks

From beach shops to salt water taffy, here are the best US boardwalks.
By: K.C. Summers

Related To:

A day at the beach just isn't complete without a trip to the boardwalk. Whether you jog, saunter, roller-skate or bike, hanging out on the boardwalk is a time-honored way to experience classic seaside pleasures like vinegar fries, roller coasters and T-shirt shops. Of course, not all US boardwalks are shrines to kitsch. There are also genteel promenades lined with tasteful retail establishments, and rustic paths where the only sounds come from crashing waves. We love them all. Here are 6 of the best.

Some call it the Coney Island of the West, and that's an apt comparison -- if Coney Island had palm trees, balmy breezes and a setting on Monterey Bay. The half-mile-long Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk dates to 1907; its 1924 Giant Dipper roller coaster and 1911 Looff Carousel are National Historic Landmarks. More modern attractions include mini-golf, laser tag, pinball and bowling, as well as plenty of eateries and, of course, the beach. The nearby Municipal Wharf has more restaurants, shops and fishing.

New York City's legendary Coney Island has seen better days, but as long as Nathan's Famous is still serving up hot dogs and the Wonder Wheel still spins, the boardwalk deserves a visit. The 2.7-mile esplanade has been attracting freaks and fans since 1923, and with the 2010 reopening of its fabled Luna Park amusement park, some of the old glory has been restored. Three of its rides -- the 1927 Cyclone roller coaster, the 1918 Wonder Wheel and the now-defunct 1939 Parachute Jump  -- are National Historic Landmarks. With 2 new coasters opening this summer, the place is on a roll.

You didn't think we'd run a best-boardwalk list and leave out New Jersey, did you? Our only problem was deciding which of the state's legendary walks to include. Ocean City's 2.5-mile promenade wins our heart with its family-oriented attractions -- go-karts, movies, a water park, mini-golf and kiddie rides -- plus traditions like Thursday “Family Nights,” with free concerts, dancing and roving magicians.

Boardwalk? What boardwalk? In Hollywood, a vintage Florida beach town 10 miles south of Fort Lauderdale, they call their 2.5-mile coastal path the Broadwalk to emphasize the wide proportions that allow joggers, strollers, skaters and bikers to share the space with ease. The brick-paved promenade winds past dozens of restaurants, shops, hotels and parks. A weekend market features locally grown produce, and trolleys connect the beach to the historic downtown.

The Wailea boardwalk has no shops, arcades or rides -- just a panorama of the Pacific that goes on forever, with stunning sunsets and views of Molokini, Kahoolawe and Lanai islands in the distance. The 2-mile path follows the Pacific coastline past some of the finest resorts on the island, connecting 5 coves where you can stop to swim or snorkel. Save time for the Hawaiian Coastal Gardens along the way, with hiking trails and more than 60 native plant species.

A boardwalk with pedestrian crosswalks and its own bike path? That's what you get when you build a 3-mile-long coastal walkway in Virginia's most-populous city. The concrete path is lined with high-rise hotels, upscale shops, whimsical sculptures, even museums. There's also a fishing pier, and 4 outdoor stages for summer concerts.

Next Up

Why This Mexican Town You Probably Haven't Heard of Is Worth a Visit for Day of the Dead

Instead of experiencing the holiday in Mexico City, go a little further off the beaten path for more intimate Noche and Dia de Muertos celebrations in Erongaricuaro.

National Dive Bar Day: Is There a Portal To Hell In Memphis?

National Dive Bar Day is July 7, and a small Memphis joint may be pulling double duty as a dive bar and a portal for dark energy.

The 8 Best Places to See Bigfoot Right Now

If you’re dying to get a look at one of the most notorious cryptids, the Travel Channel consulted data from The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization and found eight places where you are most likely to catch a glimpse of one of the large, ape-like creatures said to roam the woods across North America.

The Terrifying History Of The Most Haunted Doll In The World

Robert the Doll’s terror is so widespread that his exhibit includes letters from visitors begging his forgiveness.

Ghost Adventures Star Zak Bagans and Filmmaker Eli Roth Join Forces For New Horror Anthology Series 'The Haunted Museum'

Bagans is opening the museum vaults, sharing the secrets and stories behind a curated selection of his most prized haunted items.

Florida’s East Coast Beaches

We share the best beaches on Florida's East Coast. Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.

7 Fun Things to Do on Your Fort Myers Vacation

From sunset kayaking to delicious eats, there is so much to explore in southwest Florida's island sanctuary.

Alien Sharks: The World’s Strangest Aquatic Creatures

These bizarre-looking fishes’ features are scarier than their bites.

Viral Video Of Audience Reactions To ‘The Exorcist’ Revives Conversation

“I saw it when it came out. I am 61 years old today and I still cannot watch it when it comes on,” recalled one commenter.

Everything You Need To Know About The Alaska Triangle

Experts and eyewitnesses have spent decades attempting to unlock the mystery of the Alaska Triangle, a remote area infamous for alien abductions, Bigfoot sightings, paranormal phenomena and vanishing airplanes.

More Creepy Content

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.

On TV

8am | 7c
8:30am | 7:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight
8pm | 7c

Haunted Towns

10pm | 9c

Haunted Towns

11pm | 10c
12am | 11c