Boardwalks occupy a special place in American culture. They preserve mainstays of classic Americana like ferris wheels and carnival food, and they provide a stage for street performers and pioneering in culinary experiences. Take a walk along any one of these Boardwalks and see all that they have to offer!

Best Boardwalks in the U.S.

1. Navy Pier, Chicago

If you can’t decide between the East and West coast, take a walk along the ‘third coast’ of Lake Michigan on Chicago’s Navy Pier. Featuring a 150 foot Ferris Wheel, Mini Golf, RC boats, and lets not forget the classic Chicago Hotdog which will give any New York frank a run for its money. Sip your favorite brew in the Landshark Beer Garden before catching your home team challenging the cubs or White Sox at Wrigley field!

2. Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York

Most of us have a soft spot for the golden age of American beaches and boardwalks, and no place embodies this like Coney Island. Visitors can munch on a Nathan’s hotdog where the famous weenie was born and try to keep it down riding the Cyclone. From snake charmers to barbershop quartets, there’s always something to captivate and titillate you as you walk between rides, microbreweries, and burlesque shows.

3. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Three miles of boardwalk beside a pristine and gorgeous beach makes for great walking, bicycling, rollerblading, and hiking. See a concert or have a picnic in King Neptune park, featuring the famous twelve ton bronze statue of the greek god. Eat some famous Chesapeake Bay oysters after an afternoon wind surfing and sun tanning.

4. Venice Beach, CA

For those more inclined to the West Coast, who prefer surf rock to barbershop music, Venice Beach is the place to be. The sun may rise in the East, but it rests in the West and you can too with the abundance of microbreweries, art galleries, street performers, and unique shopping opportunities. Venice beach is the perfect place to roll out a towel and contemplate your place in the universe, and its boardwalk is the perfect place to stroll along with someone doing the same.

5. Old Orchard Boardwalk, Maine

Do you need to beat the heat? Old Orchard boardwalk is the perfect place to let the cool breeze blow all your troubles away. Palace Playland is your one-stop destination for family fun. Chow down on chowder and lobster in any of the many restaurants that specialize in the New England Staple.

6. Kemah, Texas

Featuring roller coasters and other rides in addition it its ‘Pleasure Pier’ shopping center, this excellent family experience lies a mere twenty miles south of Houston. Themes events run year round, so be sure to visit around Halloween for the costume contests, and in December for the Holiday Boat Parade.

7. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Though less than a decade old, the Myrtle Beach boardwalk is quickly becoming one of the most sought after destinations in South Carolina. Free concerts are an almost daily occurrence, along with bouncy houses, face painting, and balloon artists.

8. Ocean City Boardwalk, Maryland

With a 1902 carousel, classic soft crab and fried chicken, Ocean City is a prime opportunity for a boardwalk experience like no other. The boardwalk arcade comes alive at night with games, food, entertainers, and rides. Shoppers can enjoy the Gold Coast Mall after an hour sampling local artisans on the Boardwalk.

9. Disney World Boardwalk, Florida

Always the masters of illusion, Disney creates a mesmerizing boardwalk experience without getting near the ocean. Take a break from the park and catch a game at the ESPN club, Boardwalk Bakery, or the Flying Fish Cafe. The boardwalk excellently complements the spectacular park, and is a testament to the creative magic of Disney.

10. Sandwich Boardwalk, Massachusetts

For a more minimalist experience, look no further than this sublime walking experience overlooking Cape Cod. Picnics are a must, and you can commemorate your experience while also preserving it for posterity by purchasing a commemorative Plank on the Walk.

This article was written by Nic Shipley. Image credit: Edan Cohen.