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5 Top Boardwalk Foods

Updated on September 19, 2012

What’s it like to stroll the boardwalk? Well, it depends on which boardwalk you happen to be walking down. Some boardwalks have appeal because they are constructed along marshes and bird sanctuaries. An example of this would be the boardwalk in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

Then, there are boardwalks in which the only reason you are going to go is to people watch. Whether you sit and observe what people are doing or make up stories about them people watching if fun. The Venice Beach Boardwalk is known for its outlandishly bizarre beach folks.

Some boardwalks have amusement rides, such as the Coney Island Boardwalk, in Brooklyn, New York or the Wildwoods, New Jersey boardwalk. Atlantic City, also in NJ, boasts both rides and casinos. There is as much of a draw for adults visiting that city than there is for kids.

No matter what interests you when you visit the beach and want to take a walk along the shore via the boardwalk, there is nothing you will experience quite like the boardwalk food smells. Wafts of caramel popcorn and cotton candy will hit your nostrils as soon as you near the area. Other foods, like French fries and pizza will soon follow. You can’t miss the long lines waiting for a morsel of one of the scrumptious foods that look, smell, and taste so much better down on the boardwalk

Saltwater Taffy and Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs

Salt Water Taffy-did you know that Atlantic City is the ‘salt water taffy capital’ of the world? Apparently, Joseph Fralinger boxed the bits of candy up for tourists to take home as souvenirs in the late 1800’s. By the 1920’s salt water taffy manufacturers had increased to 450 making Atlantic City the dominant producers of the sweet treat.

Hot Dogs-there are hot dogs and then, there is Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs on Coney Island. Back in 1916 Nathan Handwerker, a Polish immigrant, found work at a well known German restaurant in Brooklyn where frankfurters were being sold for ten cents. Nathan took a dare given by two co-workers and opened his own hot dog stand selling the dogs for five cents each. Joey Chestnut is the current reigning champion of the annual Independence Day ‘Hot dog eating contest’ and has won five consecutive years.

Fries, Custard and Chocolate

Thrasher’s Fries-one of the odors that is sure to catch your attention on the boardwalk in Ocean City is the smell of hot French fries. And, when it comes to this all-American food, Thrasher’s is the name that is most associated with this boardwalk food. They are served in three sizes, (one is by bucket), with vinegar and salt. Thrasher’s have been selling their special fries since 1929.

Kohr Bros Frozen Custard-If you have never tasted frozen custard you are missing a delicious treat. Back in 1919 no one had to be convinced that the Kohr brothers frozen dessert was nothing more than sensational. On the opening weekend at the shore Archie Kohr, and his brother Elton, set up a stand in 1919 and sold over 18,000 cones at 5 cents each.

Chocolate Covered Bacon-when it comes to chocolate I like mine unadulterated. However, folks on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk find Joe Marini’s chocolate covered bacon a real treat. His sweet shop, ‘Marini’s on the Beach’, has been popular since 1915. The sweet and salty treat of hickory smoked bacon dipped in chocolate is a fairly new addition. And, since James Durbin of ‘American Idol’ fame hails from Santa Cruz, Marini’s has named their root beer flavored saltwater taffy ‘James Durbin Rockin’ Root Beer’ flavor.


Other Tasty Treats

Here are some other foods that can be found on the boardwalk:

Corn dogs




Deep fried Oreos


Philly steak sandwiches

Funnel Cake

Cotton Candy

Ice Cream


Corn on the cob

Elephant ears

Whatever your particular choice is when you’re at the boardwalk indulge, you can always diet tomorrow.


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    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Suzette-my favorite boardwalks were in California. :) Thanks for your comments.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      I can almost smell the popcorn, hot dogs and cotton candy of the Wildwood boardwalk. I lived in NJ as a kid and we always went to Wildwood at the shore. The boardwalk in the evening was always so fun and we never left without taking home some salt water taffy. That is the one thing I miss in Florida - no boardwalks - but many other amentities.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Carolina Muscle-thanks for reading and commenting-long time no see. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Hurricane hit? I was caught up in it-stuck in my car overnight and couldn't get up the road to my town due to trees blocking all routes. It was an interesting experience.

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I always loved Kohr Brothers... they did away with their cherry vanilla though. LOL

      Oh well.

      Nicely done hub, Denise.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading, Nell. I believe your seagull story-they are so bold!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, thats part of the fun walking on a pier, I always head for the hot dog stand! lol there's nothing nicer than eating a hot dog and watching the sea, mind you last year I turned my head away to look at something for a second, and I felt a great big thing drop on my hand, I turned around just in time to see the seagull fly down, and believe it or not, steal the whole thing!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Credence2. It does stir up the memories, doesn't it?

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      I will confess this was a fun article, I have had the memorable pleasure of visiting the Santa Monica boardwalk. Cred2

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for the tip about Emmas-man she must be ancient right now, LOL Thanks for your comments.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Ok so now I'm hungry and it's the middle of the night. Certainly can't go and eat now! Yes, Ermmas is still there! Great job on this tasty hub.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Simone. Thanks for your comments. It was making me HUNGRY writing it! Especially since I popped the popcorn and had my nephew pose holding the bowls! LOL

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Ah, boardwalk food. My first thought was "FRIED EVERYTHING," but then I had completely forgotten about the all important ice creams and saltwater taffies! This was a fun read.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      emichael-that's funny-now I will be thinking 'tunnel pies' whenever I see them again, LOL

      Kath-your comment made me chuckle. Of course he didn't have any kids yet, LOL What a great uncle. Glad they were good memories.

      Flora-I know what you mean! It was hard not to snack during the writing of this hub. LOL

      Hi K9-thanks. I loved last week's topic. I had so many ideas and not enough time to write them all! Cheers.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

      I have to admit, saltwater taffy has been a weakness of mine. What a great idea for a hub, boardwalk delicacies!

      Another good one HD!



    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Note to self: Do not read about food when you are hungry for lunch!

      I love salt water taffy, popcorn, pizza, nachos and ice cream.

      Chocolate covered bacon! No thanks.

      I've heard about Nathen's Famous Hot dogs but have never had one. same with the Frozen Custard. I must try these some day.

      11am. hmmm. lunch.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Fond memories Denise. I love the salt water taffy, it doesn't taste as good though if you don't eat on the boardwalk. I think it's probably best to eat a meal first, my Uncle took my brother & I to Santa Cruz when we were about 4 & 5 yrs. old, & we got so sick! I think he bought us one of everything! (of course he didn't have kids yet :)

    • emichael profile image

      emichael 6 years ago from New Orleans

      I was about to turn my nose up at chocolate covered bacon. But then I remembered that one of my favorite things to do with bacon is dip it in maple syrup. So I bet that is pretty good!

      Funnel cakes are my absolute favorite! When I was little I used to call them tunnel pies. Sometimes it still slips :)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Dahoglund, It is a fun place to visit at least once.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Carlness-glad you enjoyed the walk down memory lane. Thanks for the vote

      Sally-LOL I was getting hungry writing the hub. YUM! Thanks for stopping by.

      Hi Phil-it's so good, but so bad, LOL Thanks for your comments.

      Gail-I'm glad you mentioned that tidbit in your comment. I didn't include it but was fascinated with that info. Makes me want to devour only frozen custard. Where I grew up (in the Detroit suburbs) there was a frozen custard stand nearby called Ermas. It may still be standing. :) I know what you mean about the chocolate covered bacon...not sure about that one. Thanks for your comments. :)

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Vanilla Kohr Bros Frozen Custard is my favorite boardwalk food and the best thing about it is that it has less fat, calories and sugar than regular ice cream.

      This hub was very interesting and the only food I couldn't imagine ever eating was the chocolate covered bacon.

      Rated up, useful, awesome and interesting.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Yep, mostly junk but always delicious. I don't have a lot of boardwalk-walking in my experience, but for sure this is the kind of food I'd be most likely to consume.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Everything sounds delicious. When our rodeo comes to town -- so does decadent foods -- deep fried oreos, caramel apples, sausage on a stick . . There are others that I have never tried -- fried Pepsi, turkey legs . . . Ok, I am officially hungry now!

    • carlness profile image

      carlness 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh man I love Thrashers fries. I grew up eating them as a kid when my parents took me the Ocean City. The funnel cake was always great too. Thanks for bringing back some good memories. AWESOME + VOTEUP

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I've never been where there is a boardwalk but it sounds really fun.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Bud, like you I am trying to limit my sugar intake which takes me out of the scene for these snacks. Thanks for commenting.

    • Bud Gallant profile image

      Bud Gallant 6 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

      Mmmm... These sure sound good to me. I'd like to try a little of everything mentioned here, especially that frozen custard and chocolate bacon. I avoid sugar for the most part, but that probably just makes me crave it more. Very good ideas for snacks here. I enjoyed this insightful hub, and learned a lot.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Annie-yes, there are a few piers here also. Fisherman's Wharf is very popular. Thanks for your vote.

      Dexter-I know what you mean. I was getting hungry writing it! LOL Thanks for the vote. BTW-I love your morning chats with the obama's Hilarious!

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 6 years ago from United States

      Hi Denise! My only problem with this wonderfully written and informative hub is that I read it while hungry! But I guess that means it's my problem! Voted up, up and away!

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 6 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      nice one - we have piers rather than broadwalks, ice cream and candy floss bring back so many memories.

      voted up and stuff