No visit to the beach is complete without indulging in some boardwalk fries, which can be flavored with salt and vinegar or even crab seasoning. (Photo by Coast-to-Coast/Getty Images)

According to the calendar, summer is winding down, although it doesn’t feel like it outside. Even if your kids are headed back to school, there’s still plenty of warm weather to enjoy at the beach. One of the great things about living in the Charlotte area is that it’s easy to jump in the car for a weekend getaway along the Carolina coastline. One of my family’s favorites things to do at beaches is visiting the boardwalks.

I grew up with beach boardwalks in New York and New Jersey. It was the same for my wife, who spent many of her childhood summers in Ocean City, New Jersey. In fact, we were there again this summer and it was exactly the same as we both remember. Nothing beats a boardwalk for a healthy dose of nostalgia from one’s youth.

Beach towns with boardwalks offer the perfect balance of sun, surf, sand, sugar, and salt. Oh, and silliness. Lots and lots of silliness. When you need a break from the beach, you can find all sorts of other ways to amuse yourself on the boardwalk, from putt-putt to Ferris wheels to skeeball to roller coasters. You can also just take a leisurely stroll or hop on your beach cruiser.

Study Finds has ranked America’s Top 5 Boardwalks. I mentioned my family’s fondness for the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey. While it’s certainly deserving of high honors, if only for the pizza and crab fries, another Ocean City actually landed on this list. So did one beloved boardwalk in South Carolina.

  • 5. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

    Built in 2010, the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & Promenade has been dubbed “America’s Boardwalk.” Highlights include a 1.2 mile walkway with terrific dining options, the 187-foot-tall Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, and weekly fireworks shows.

    Myrtle Beach Boardwalk

    Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (Photo by Larry Gibson/Getty Images)

  • 4. Santa Cruz, California

    The half-mile-long Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk dates back to 1907. The 1911 Looff Carousel and 1924 Giant Dipper roller coaster are National Historic Landmarks. Visitors can get a bird’s eye view of all the fun from the Sky Glider.

    Santa Cruz California Beaches and Boardwalk

    Santa Cruz, California (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

  • 3. Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Originally built as a wooden walkway in 1888, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk has been rebuilt several times. It is now a 28 ft-wide, three-mile-long concrete boardwalk, which is ideal for walkers, jogger, and bikers. The designated paths keep them all from running into one another. Visitors will enjoy the dozens of restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as taking selfies with the giant statue of King Neptune.

    Aerial view of the Virginia Beach oceanfront looking south at sunset.

    Virginia Beach, Virginia (Photo by Kyle Little/Getty Images)

  • 2. Ocean City, Maryland

    What started out as a removable wooden walkway in 1902 was completely rebuilt following a storm in 1962. The Herschel-Spellman carousel also dates back to 1902. According to Fodor’s, it’s America’s “oldest continuously operating carousel with two tiers of elaborately carved and painted animals.” And when in Maryland, you have to try the crab cakes.

    Ferris wheel in Ocean City, Maryland

    Ocean City, Maryland (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)


    Click here to find out which famous American boardwalk came in at #1. Here are a few hints: This boardwalk is located on the East Coast, it’s the longest boardwalk in the WORLD, and the city where it’s located was the basis for the original version of the board game Monopoly. I’m sure you’ve already figured it out, but click here for the full report to see which boardwalk came in at #1 and why it topped the list.

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