If your idea of summer involves amusement park rides, great food, or strolling along with a cool ocean breeze in your face, a boardwalk seems like the ideal choice for you.
The United States is home to countless famous boardwalks that are worth a visit next time you’re in a city like Galveston or Chicago. Just because you’ve been to the Santa Monica pier a few times does not mean that you’ve had all your necessary boardwalk experience!
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
The city’s waterfront is legendary in its own right, but the Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade wasn’t actually built until 2010. The boardwalk hosts the Carolina Country Music Fest and offers all the typical attractions like a 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel.
Old Orchard Beach Boardwalk
You might picture a vacation in Maine as a relaxing visit to some quiet New England beach, but the Old Orchard Beach could be all the excitement you need with its full-on amusement park right by the ocean.
The town became known as a tourist destination back in the 19th century when railroads connected Orchard Beach to New England.
Venice Beach Boardwalk
Arguably one of the most famous boardwalks in the United States, the Venice Beach Boardwalk has everything from street vendors and performers, to Muscle Beach, and you’ll find colorful locals and colorful murals there.
The Wildwood Boardwalk is made up of three notable piers that are collectively known as Morey’s Piers, as well as several amusement parks and shops. It’s the 10th most popular boardwalk in the U.S. and is home to many sporting events, concerts, and even monster truck rallies.
Galveston Island Pleasure Pier
Not to be confused with the Santa Monica Pier and what used to be known as the Pleasure Pier, Galveston’s pier and boardwalk are still known by that name. The Texas pier was originally opened as a recreational facility for local military personnel in 1943 and cost around $1.5 million to build at the time (almost $22 million today).
Ocean City Boardwalk
Maryland’s Ocean City Boardwalk was the state’s first boardwalk, constructed in 1900. Back when it was first constructed, the boards of the actual walk were removed every winter, but they don’t go to that effort now.
Disney World’s Boardwalk
If you’re taking a trip to Disney World and want a more toned-down Disney experience than the full-on park, Disney’s Boardwalk is a short stroll from Epcot. The boardwalk is modeled after turn-of-the-century boardwalks like Coney Island and Atlantic City, and it has plenty of restaurants and stores for kids and adults.
Sandwich, Massachusetts, the oldest town on Cape Cod, is home to the Sandwich boardwalk or “plank walk” that spans 1,350 feet. Originally built in 1875, the Sandwich walk has been destroyed many times due to severe storms but has always been rebuilt using the original design.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
It began as a public bathhouse back in 1865, but bathing along the Santa Cruz boardwalk today would likely get you some funny looks. By the end of the 1800s, a casino and boardwalk were being planned for the area, and it eventually expanded to what it is today.
Santa Monica Pier
Opened at what was formerly Looff’s Pleasure Pier, Santa Monica Pier is known for being the symbolic endpoint of Route 66. The municipal Santa Monica pier opened in 1909, and in 1916 the adjacent pier, which features a Ferris wheel and an amusement park, was opened.
You might not think of boardwalks when you think of a state like Texas, but the Kemah Boardwalk, just 20 miles from downtown Houston, changes that. It was initially known as a popular dining spot outside of the city, but it’s expanded to a family destination spot.
Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk
Also known as the “Nation’s Summer Capital” due to its proximity to Washington, Delaware’s Rehoboth Beach has had a boardwalk since the late 1800s.
The Funland amusement park and arcade has been run by the same family since 1962, and the boardwalk in general offers a more relaxed experience than other boardwalks around the country.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk
You can’t pay a visit to Virginia Beach’s boardwalk without saying hello to the 34-foot-tall King Neptune statue that sits along the sandy coast. The original boardwalk was built for luxury hotel guests and only spanned four blocks, but the boardwalk has grown much larger than that since the 19th century.
Atlantic City Boardwalk
You might be going to Atlantic City to see if you can double your yearly salary at the roulette wheels, but when you’re looking for a break from the casinos, you can walk along the boardwalk.
The boardwalk was built in the 19th century to prevent sand from blowing into the area’s hotels, but now the Steel Pier amusement park and Garden Pier performing arts spot make it a destination on its own.
Mission Beach Boardwalk
Sometimes overshadowed by the various other boardwalks that dot the California coast, San Diego’s Mission Beach shouldn’t be skipped over. The longtime beachfront walk has plenty of shops and oceanside activities to visit.
Beginning as a private resort in the 1820s, Coney Island and its beach were opened to the public in the 1920s, which is also when the historic wooden roller coaster The Cyclone debuted.
While the site may be centuries old, Coney Island has seen plenty of revitalization since the days your grandparents visited Nathan’s Famous hot dogs.
Chicago’s Navy Pier proves that a boardwalk doesn’t have to be oceanfront to be considered impressive. Along the Windy City’s Lake Michigan shoreline, grab an America’s Dog Chicago-style hot dog while you ride the 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel to get the best view of the city skyline.
Hampton Beach Boardwalk
If you’re looking for the perfect place to bring some extra sand to the beach, the Hampton Beach Boardwalk hosts the Master Sand Sculpting Competition and will provide countless other forms of entertainment for the whole family.
Carolina Beach Boardwalk
Located on the appropriately named Pleasure Island, the Carolina Beach Boardwalk is a family-favorite for anyone visiting the North Carolina beach town. Cool off at night with the fresh ocean breeze that drifts through the various rides and vendor stalls.
Miami Beach Boardwalk
Stretching along a huge span of the Miami waterfront with multiple points of access, the Miami Beach Boardwalk is a great spot for getting a little outdoor relaxation, with plenty of shade to keep you cool in the Florida heat.