2011 Top 10 Boardwalks in the U.S.
What is summer without beaches and boardwalks, and what justifies a boardwalk to be rated ‘best’? Is it its length, its age, or the attractions around the location? For those of us who have experienced a jaunt along the beach boardwalk style I believe it is personal preference. However, when enough folks have the same consensus the surveyors sit up and take notice. Although the selections may vary slightly each year, what makes these boardwalks stand the test of time is what got them rated in the top of their category in the first place: a great experience.
A comparison between National Geographic’s list for the top 2011 boardwalks and that of other travel agencies, like ‘IgoUgo’, are similar in many ways. First, everyone seems to agree that Atlantic City Boardwalk is the number one pick for all time favorites. Second, more than half of the other selections between National Geographic’s choices and other ratings matched. Third, many of the same boardwalks show up year after year. An exception this year is the newly constructed Myrtle Beach, South Carolina boardwalk: Oceanfront, opened in the spring of 2010.
There are a number of factors that rate a boardwalk as being one of the favorite places to visit. First, the history of the original structure is a key factor. For example: Atlantic City Boardwalk is recognized for being both the oldest, (built in 1870), and the longest, (5.75 miles long).
Second, the ambience will push one boardwalk on the list of favorites above others. This brings to mind the pristine South Carolina coast at Oceanfront. Divided into three areas, the boardwalk may not be the longest; is certainly not the oldest; but, it offers a distinctly Southern touch. One way it does this is by providing the strolling Dixieland band.
Third, it provides something unique to the area that will bring people coming back for more. In most cases the advantages of a boardwalk is that everything is within a short stroll, is full of a promise for excitement, i.e. rollercoaster rides or other amusements, and may have tempting foods that you won’t find elsewhere.
A healthy dose of summer fun!
First Five 'Top Boardwalks'
1. Atlantic City, New Jersey was rated the ‘Best Boardwalk for Partying’ according to IgoUgo Travel Agency. It’s easy to understand why-it has all of the casinos!
2. Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, has the most famous wooden amusement ride: the Cyclone, built in 1927. It travels at speeds up to 60 mph and completes the circuit in less than two minutes. Wow! That’s some speed.
3. Oceanfront, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was opened May 15, 2010. It’s the new kid on the beach boasting a music festival and promenade. IgoUgo awarded this the ‘Best boardwalk for a new attraction”.
4. Ocean City, Maryland was built in 1902 and Gillian’s Wonderland Pier is the home of the 140 foot Ferris wheel and the Trimper’s Carousel-the oldest running carousel in the U.S. According to IgoUgo’s polls this boardwalk gets the award for the ‘Best Boardwalk Food’, and Thrasher’s French fries tops the list.
5. Ocean Front, Venice Beach, California, has the reputation for the ‘Best Boardwalk for people watching’. It takes all sorts of people and the famed ‘Muscle Beach’ where Arnold Schwarzenegger used to work out is one of the popular areas for tourists to observe the guys and gals pumping iron in the outdoor gym.
Second Five 'Top Boardwalks'
1. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware has acquired the nickname, “the Nation’s Summer Capital” because of the frequent visits from residents of Washington D.C. It has a small town atmosphere with an eclectic flair, and the exciting nightlife is filled with festivals and music.
2. Santa Cruz, California was rated the “Best Boardwalk for History” by the IgoUgo judges. This is because Santa Cruz is the oldest surviving amusement park in California. The park itself is a State Historic Landmark; and the rollercoaster and Looff Carousel are National Historic Landmarks. In 1924 it was the location for the Miss California Beauty Pageant.
3. Sandwich, Massachusetts is decidedly different from the other boardwalks that have found themselves on the National Geographic list of ‘Top Ten’. It doesn’t offer carnie rides or amusements; no loud music is heard along its 1,000 feet of rebuilt planks, nor is there concession stands enticing the traveler to taste its wares. No, the appeal of this boardwalk is the natural beauty and simplicity with views of the marshes and public beach.
4. Virginia Beach, Virginia, built the three mile boardwalk in 1888.Now it is one of the East Coast’s most popular vacation destinations. It has even been part of the Guinness Book of World Records for being ‘The world’s longest pleasure beach”.
5. Wildwoods, New Jersey boasts more rides than any N.J. boardwalk, and it may be right. It has five amusement piers, two water parks, and the best roller coasters, including, ‘The Great Nor’easter’, which has over 2100 feet of looped tracks. Additionally, it has numerous other outdoor water activities including parasailing and speedboat rentals.
A stroll along the boardwalk
If you’ve never strolled a boardwalk put it on your bucket list. For those who are experienced ‘board walkers’ take a trip to visit one you are unfamiliar with and see how it compares to your favorite one. You may be pleasantly surprised. On the other hand-you may be more convinced when you return that your boardwalk is by far the best, no matter what the experts say.