SUMMER VACATION IDEAS

Photos: 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.

  1. Who says a boardwalk has to be by the ocean? Chicago's Navy Pier is on Lake Michigan.

    (Christian De Grandmaison/Dreamstime)
  2. Navy Pier's Ferris wheel has great views of the Chicago skyline.

    (Alexandre Fagundes De Fagundes/Dreamstime)
  3. There's more to Atlantic City than casinos. This boardwalk empire is one of the most historic in the U.S.

    (Courtesy Dreamstime)
  4. Atlantic City's boardwalk sparkles at night.

    (Gary718/Dreamstime)
  5. Nathan's has been on this spot on Coney Island for almost a century. It reopened this spring after repairing damage from Hurricane Sandy.

    (Zhukovsky/Dreamstime)
  6. Coney Island's iconic Wonder Wheel looms over the boardwalk and amusement park.

    (Zhukovsky/Dreamstime )
  7. The Santa Monica Pier hugs the Pacific coast.

    (Katja Šauperl/Dreamstime )
  8. On warm summer evenings, the Santa Monica Pier is a sweet spot to watch the sun go down.

    (trekandshoot/Dreamstime )
  9. Myrtle Beach's boardwalk is a relative newcomer but draws many happy guests each summer.

    (Shester171/Dreamstime )
  10. Myrtle Beach's long shoreline makes for long, happy afternoons.

    (Jkellyimaging/Dreamstime )
  11. The inviting entrance to the boardwalk in Ocean City, Md.

    (Richard Gunion/Dreamstime)
  12. Ocean City's boardwalk is a beauty day or night.

    (Richard Gunion/Dreamstime )
  13. The famous skate park at Venice Beach, Calif.

    (Juan Moyano/Dreamstime )
  14. The boardwalk at Venice Beach is officially named Ocean Front Walk, but nobody calls it that.

    (Juan Moyano/Dreamstime )
  15. Rehoboth Beach, Del., is renowned for its relaxed vibe and excellent taffy.

    (Richard Gunion/Dreamstime )
  16. Rehoboth Beach offers great shopping—window- or for-real.

    (Richard Gunion/Dreamstime )
  17. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is near the top of Monterey Bay in central California.

    (Mariusz Jurgielewicz/Dreamstime )
  18. Santa Cruz's boardwalk is often quiet in the early morning and evening.

    (Douglas Nelson/Dreamstime)
  19. Rides, shops, and seafood make Old Orchard Beach a popular, and unusual, Maine destination.

    (Bambi L. Dingman/Dreamstime)
  20. Old Orchard Beach Pier with rays through the pilings at low tide.

    (Jo Ann Snover/Dreamstime)
  21. The boardwalk heats up in more ways than one in summertime at Wildwood, N.J.

    (Anthony Aneese Totah Jr/Dreamstime)
  22. Wildwood is a classic "shore thing" in New Jersey.

    (Denise Rizza/Dreamstime )
  23. The Virginia Beach Boardwalk is a popular Fourth of July weekend getaway.

    (Mvogel/Dreamstime)
  24. The oceanfront in Virgina Beach.

    (Teresa Kenney/Dreamstime)
  25. Nobody welcomes guests like Disney, and its Disney World Boardwalk is no exception.

    (Daniel Padavona/Dreamstime)
  26. Resort guests can enjoy a classic boardwalk even though there's no ocean in sight.

    (David Watts Jr./Dreamstime )
  27. Kemah Boardwalk is just 20 miles from downtown Houston, on Texas's Gulf Coast.

    (Courtesy jimthompson/Wikimedia Commons)
  28. This vintage police car is one of Kemah Boardwalk's iconic sights.

    (Courtesy Geoff Sloan/Wikimedia Commons)
  29. A view of the seaside communities of northern San Diego, including Mission Beach.

    (Courtesy Microsome/Wikimedia Commons)
  30. Gorgeous Mission Beach is often overshadowed by its better-known, glitzier neighbors up the California coast.

    (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
  31. Carolina Beach is located, appropriately enough, on Pleasure Island.

    (Courtesy Wilmington and Beaches CVB)
  32. Carolina Beach is a popular family-friendly destination.

    (Courtesy Wilmington and Beaches CVB)
  33. Hampton Beach Boardwalk, in New Hampshire, is a low-key, relaxing spot that will make you wish you could stay a while longer.

    (johndphotos/Flickr)
  34. Hampton Beach doesn't scream at visitors but welcomes them to relax and stay a while.

    (johndphotos/Flickr)
  35. Jenkinson's is a retro classic amid the Jersey Shore's bigger amusement parks.

    (Courtesy www.jenkinsons.com)
  36. Jenkinson's Boardwalk draws a lively, family-focused crowd in summer.

    (Courtesy www.jenkinsons.com)
  37. A far cry from the thrill rides and arcade games, the "boardwalk" in Sandwich, Mass., is perfect for strolling by the water.

    (Courtesy Don Fleet, Fleetwood Photography, Sandwich)
  38. You don't need a ticket to enjoy this ride, at the boardwalk in Sandwich, Mass., on Cape Cod.

    (Courtesy Don Fleet, Fleetwood Photography, Sandwich)

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