VACATION IDEAS

America's Most Awesome Boardwalks

If your idea of summer perfection involves roller coasters, funnel cakes, and Whac-A-Mole, we’ve got 19 little pieces of honky-tonk heaven—from Jersey to Cali—just waiting for you to pay a visit.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Santa Cruz, Calif.

Get your picture taken at the apex of the thrilling coaster here and you're almost certain to have a hilarious keepsake—it's a loooooooong way down! The boardwalk's vibrant party scene, fast-paced rides, and best-ever funnel cakes are just a few of the things to love about Santa Cruz, situated near the top of Monterey Bay on the central California coast about a 90-minute drive from San Francisco. The city is also home to barking sea lions, one of the world's best surfing scenes, and redwood forests just a short ride up into the mountains. beachboardwalk.com

Old Orchard Beach Boardwalk

Old Orchard Beach, Maine

We tend to associate New England with quiet stretches of beach, but the boardwalk in Old Orchard Beach is an exception, with a full-blown amusement park, Palace Playland, right by the ocean. You'll find easy rides for the kiddies, family-friendly water rides, and the crazy adrenaline-junkie stuff, too. palaceplayland.com

Wildwood

Wildwood, N.J.

A shore thing whether you want a perfect beach or rides that'll rattle your nerves, this is the place to soak up the spirit of the Jersey Shore. wildwoodsnj.com

Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Virginia Beach, Va.

Sure, there are lots of great beaches and boardwalks out there. But Virginia Beach not only boasts a beautiful stretch of sand and attractions but also dolphins right off shore, and unparalleled history just down the road. virginiabeach.com

Disney World Boardwalk

Walt Disney World, Fla.

No list of boardwalks would be complete without Disney. The ocean may be nowhere in sight, but the imaginative folks here have put together a fun family experience for guests that rivals the real thing. disneyworld.disney.go.com

Kemah Boardwalk

Kemah, Tex.

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. kemahboardwalk.com

Mission Beach Boardwalk

San Diego, Calif.

Often overshadowed by its flashier neighbors up the California coast, Mission Beach is one of San Diego's sweetest spots and should be on your SoCal to-do list. sandiego.com

Carolina Beach Boardwalk

Carolina Beach, N.C.

Appropriately located on Pleasure Island, Carolina Beach specializes in making you forget your cares. Mild breezes, gorgeous beach, and a sweet hospitality make this boardwalk a family favorite. visitcarolinabeachnc.com

Hampton Beach Boardwalk

Hampton Beach, N.H.

This low-key gem is great for relaxing, shopping, and pretending you never have to go back to your real life. hamptonbeach.org

Jenkinson's Boardwalk

Point Pleasant, N.J.

Admid the Jersey Shore's bigger, better-known boardwalks, Jenkinson's has a retro charm that can't be beat. Walk the boardwalk early in the morning as the shops open to beat the crowds. And grab a fresh-squeezed lemonade when the sun is high. jenkinsons.com

Sandwich Boardwalk

Sandwich, Mass.

Okay, this isn't a honky-tonk boardwalk. It's a boardwalk made for strolling and taking in the fresh air, unforgettable sky, and water that Cape Cod is known for. You'll have to bring your own funnel cakes! sanwichmass.org

SEE THE BOARDWALKS!

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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