Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Named Best in the U.S.

Ocean City Boardwalk takes runner-up spot

Roller coasters, funnel cakes, Ferris wheels and ring-a-bottle – if these things say "summer" to you, then these 10 American boardwalks make for an ideal summer escape. Sea air, summer sun and a stroll-able walkway, combined with a dose of old fashioned kitsch, make boardwalks an iconic element of the American summer.

  • Atlantic City Beach and Boardwalk
    Atlanic City

    The boardwalk in Atlantic City ranks among the most famous in the nation. Built in 1870, the boardwalk is lined with everything form high end retailers to classic candy shops, all with ocean views.
    Photo courtesy of Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY

  • Seaside Heights Boardwalk
    Seaside Heights, N.J.

    The Seaside Heights Boardwalk is classic New Jersey shore, and even though the area was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, the boardwalk is recovering well with new features and changes in the works for the future.
    Photo courtesy of Hypnotica Studios Infinite / Flickr

  • Old Orchard Beach Pier
    Orchard Beach, Maine

    The Old Orchard Beach Pier opened in 1898, and while it's been through a lot over the years – storms and fires mostly – it remains a Maine summer icon. Visitors have their choice of five restaurants and five bars, as well as plentiful shopping opportunities.
    Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

  • Hampton Beach Boardwalk
    Hampton Beach, N.H.

    While Hampton Beach doesn't have a boardwalk in the strictest sense of the term, it does have an ultra-wide sidewalk with a serious boardwalk vibe. Smells of pizza, waffle cones and cotton candy mingle with the sounds of booming music as swimsuit-wearing pedestrians amble by.
    Photo courtesy of John DiRusso / Flickr

  • Jenkinson's Boardwalk
    Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.

    Located about 90 minutes from both New York and Philadelphia, Jenkinson's Boardwalk occupies a mile and a half of beachfront and is packed with classic Jersey Shore attractions, like arcade games, amusement park rides and sweet shops.
    Photo courtesy of Shinya Suzuki / Flickr

  • Virginia Beach Boardwalk
    Virginia Beach, Va.

    Measuring 28 feet wide and 3 miles long, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk offers many winning features, including a separate bike path and nightly live entertainment during the summers. Presiding over it all is a giant bronze statue of King Neptune – one of the most popular photo ops in town.
    Photo courtesy of Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • Wildwoods Boardwalk
    Wildwoods, N.J.

    The boardwalk in Wildwoods, N.J. stretches for 38 blocks and is packed with shops, restaurants, bars, water parks and an amusement pier with some 100 rides and attractions.
    Photo courtesy of Greater Wildwoods Tourism Authority

  • Carolina Beach Boardwalk
    Carolina Beach, N.C.

    The Carolina Beach Boardwalk bustles in summer, as families stroll past shops, restaurants and bars on the way to the seaside amusement park. Seasonal activities, like live concerts and weekly fireworks in the summer and a lights festival at Christmas, add to the appeal of this East Coast boardwalk.
    Photo courtesy of Town of Carolina Beach

  • Ocean City Boardwalk
    Ocean City, Md.

    Stretching for 3 miles, the Ocean City Boardwalk has become one of the most iconic on the East Coast. Popular with cyclists and dog-walkers, the boardwalk also boasts street performers, carnival rides, arcade games and sweet shops.
    Photo courtesy of Austin Kirk / Flickr

  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
    Santa Cruz, Calif.

    The admission-free Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has something for everyone. Opened in 1907, this family-owned boardwalk features rides, a 300-game arcade, mini golf, a laser maze, laser tag, a walk-through haunted house, climbing wall and bowling alley!
    Photo courtesy of Visit California/Carol Highsmith

The top 10 winners in the category Best Boardwalk are as follows:

  1. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk - Santa Cruz, Calif.
  2. Ocean City Boardwalk - Ocean City, Md.
  3. Carolina Beach Boardwalk - Carolina Beach, N.C.
  4. Wildwoods Boardwalk - Wildwoods, N.J.
  5. Virginia Beach Boardwalk - Virginia Beach, Va.
  6. Jenkinson's Boardwalk - Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.
  7. Hampton Beach Boardwalk - Hampton Beach, N.H.
  8. Old Orchard Beach Pier - Orchard Beach, Maine
  9. Seaside Heights Boardwalk - Seaside Heights, N.J.
  10. Atlantic City Beach and Boardwalk - Atlanic City

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts James Lilliefors (America’s Boardwalks) and Anna Hider (Roadtrippers) were chosen based on their knowledge of great American boardwalks.

Other nominees included Coney Island Boardwalk, Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, Kemah Boardwalk, Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & Promenade, Navy Pier, Newport Beach Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk, Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach Boardwalk.

Congratulations to all our winners!

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Alert The Experts

James Lilliefors

Anna Hider

Anna Hider