Nothing says summertime in the U.S. quite like strolling along a beachfront boardwalk in the morning watching the ocean begin to wake up or at night as fireworks sparkle in the distance. Boardwalks are tiny cities of their own with diverse activities such as souvenir shops, eateries, and fun-filled attractions like amusement parks and entertainment.
Vacationing to the coast? Look for these bright and loud galas whether you are biking, rollerblading, or simply enjoying an night stroll taking in the wonders of the promenade.
Where do you spend your summer strolls? Tell us in the comment section below or on Twitter.
Lauren Spiler is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia, but most call her Spiler.
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Atlantic City Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey
The wooden boardwalk's existence began in 1870 to keep sand out of snazzy beachfront hotels and the Atlantic and Camden Railroad passenger cars. While on the boardwalk, you can look to one side and see the Atlantic Ocean and on the other the shops and restaurants including Landshark Bar & Grill and Gallagher's Burger Bar. If shopping for saltwater taffy isn't your thing, there is surfing, kayaking, fishing and even windsurfing at Extreme Windsurfing.
Check out Steel Pier which extends 1,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. The pier is home to amusement rides like the Double Decker Carousel and the Slingshot.
Photo courtesy of SurFeRGiRL30
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Coney Island Boardwalk, Brooklyn, New York
While most know it simply as the Coney Island Boardwalk, its official name is Riegelmann Boardwalk named for Edward J. Riegelmann, a Democratic politician from Brooklyn. The two and a half mile boardwalk from West 37th Street to Brighton's 14th Street opened on May 15, 1923. Handball, volleyball, and basketball courts are available while fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. every Friday on the beach beginning the last weekend in June and ending before Labor Day.
If you'd rather be out of the sun instead of riding the thrilling rides at the two amusement parks, Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, explore the New York Aquarium. Before you head out, a visit to Nathan's, which has been serving hot dogs for 100 years and is the location of the annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, is a must.
Photo courtesy of Shinya Suzuki
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Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, Hollywood, Florida
This stretch of wood path is situated between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The Hollywood Boardwalk stretches almost two miles along the Atlantic Ocean with its inviting brick-paved road which is a bicyclist, jogger and visitor's delight.
The boardwalk has over 50 restaurants to grab a bite at including the tropical Sugar Reef Grill and the Mediterranean style Oasis by the Sea. You can rent jet skis or bikes but if you don't feel like mobilizing, there's a trolley that you can take to see the sites and get from Hollywood Beach to downtown and back.
Photo courtesy of Hollywood Tourism
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Kemah Boardwalk, Kemah, Texas
Kemah Boardwalk is full of family fun and excitement right off the shore and just 40 minutes away from Houston. With over only 16 amusement rides including the Drop Zone, a free-fall at 140-feet, and the wooden Boardwalk Bullet roller coaster, you'll be wanting to ride each one at least twice. The boardwalk also features the Stingray Reef where you can feed and touch sting rays before or after you check out the rainforest exhibit.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. serves up their legendary shrimp dishes like shrimp stack mac & cheese which pairs perfectly with Sweet Scoops to end the night.
Photo courtesy of Todd Carr
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Old Orchard Beach Pier & Boardwalk, Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Palace Playground is the only beachfront amusement park in New England. The amusement comes in the form of a classic Ferris wheel, two roller coasters, a carousel and other thrilling rides such as the Power Surge and Adrenalin.
Further up the beach, the historic pier first opened in 1898 and hosted dances, concerts, lectures and even a casino. After many hardships and rebuilds, the pier is now home to Hurricane Raw Bar, the Patio Pub, Hooligan's Steak & Ale, and others.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Morton
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Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, California
Santa Cruz Boardwalk is home to California's oldest amusement park and was founded in 1907. The boardwalk extends over the Monterey Bay and offers many free attractions like the movies on the beach on Wednesday nights, Friday night bands on the beach and other forms of entertainment. Popular and historic rides include the 1911 Looff Carousel and the Giant Dipper, with over 60 million visitors experiencing the Giant Dipper since it opened in 1924.
Aside from the rides, Neptune's Kingdom offers mini golf, air hockey, and ping pong; Surf City Grill is popular for dinner; the Beach Shack has everything a swimmer or surfer could need; and Boardwalk Magic engages kids with its gag gifts, trick and novelties.
Photo courtesy of Josta Photo