Myrtle Beach boardwalk views from the SkyWheel

Nothing says summer quite like a lively oceanfront boardwalk. With amusement park rides, walking and biking paths, beautiful coastal views, and plenty of entertainment, you can’t go wrong. Vacationing in a beach town with a great boardwalk gives you so many more opportunities for entertainment, recreation, and photography.

Each of the boardwalks listed below are located in fun beach cities which also offer a host of additional amenities. Aside from fun-filled boardwalks, you will find waterfront resorts, tourist attractions, and many dining and shopping opportunities. Take a look at the list and be sure to share some of your favorites!

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach boardwalk

Virginia Beach is home to one of the top boardwalks in the country. Not only is the boardwalk clean and well-maintained, it’s also lit up at night for enhanced safety. The highlight is a 3 mile long walking and biking path, each conveniently separated for less congestion. The flat route is an absolute breeze, especially with gorgeous coastal views the entire journey. As you stroll or bike along, you will pass several unique attractions including a giant bronze statue of Neptune.

On any given day, you will see bikers, runners, walkers, photographers, and tourists out enjoying the beautiful weather. Summertime, the boardwalk livens up with free shows and entertainment all season long. handful of waterfront hotels and restaurants conveniently line the boardwalk. Stay at a hotel with direct access and great views like the Best Western Oceanfront Plus.

Virginia Beach is a great summer vacation destination with lots to do. In addition to the boardwalk, you will find the Virginia Aquarium, First Landing State Park, and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Relaxation, entertainment, and recreation – you have it all in a Virginia Beach vacation.

San Diego

Biking along the Mission Beach boardwalk in San Diego CA

The Mission/Pacific Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk in San Diego is definitely a must-see during your visit to this gorgeous city. A ride or walk on the 3 mile shared pedestrian/biking path will give you a tour of 2 of San Diego’s most popular beach cities: Mission and Pacific Beach. Along the way, you’ll take in gorgeous views of the Pacific, enjoy near perfect (year-round mild summer) temperatures, take in the sights of eclectic beachfront homes & vacation rentals, and enjoy endless people watching opportunities.

The course is very flat and scenic with never ending views of the water. There is always something to watch, whether it be a volleyball games in action, surfers attempting to catch the perfect wave, or simply tourists and locals enjoying some fun-in-the-sun.

The entire boardwalk path is about 3 miles each way, making for a leisurely 6 mile round-trip. Bike it, walk it, skate it, or run it – it doesn’t matter, the views are fabulous no matter the activity. Visit on mornings for a less congested experience, especially if biking as it tends to get a bit too busy to bike later in the day with the big groups of walkers.

A few sights of interest include the Pier at Pacific Beach, the historic Belmont Amusement Park, and waterfront restaurants & bars.

In addition to the boardwalk, other great San Diego attractions include the world-famous San Diego Zoo featuring the Great Panda, Torrey Pines State Reserve, and La Jolla Cove beach (known for its’ large sea lion population).

Ocean City

Ocean City Maryland boardwalk

Ocean City’s historic wooden boardwalk is often rated amongst the best in the country. The 2.5 mile length is perfect for long strolls or leisurely bike rides. The beautiful coastal views run the entire length. Tourist attractions along the route include the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, historic Trimper’s Carousel (built in 1912), carnival games, and the Jolly Roger pier amusement park.

Treat yourself to some classic fries from Thrashers. Or pick one of the numerous oceanfront restaurants to dine alongside spectacular beach scenery. If you want to pick up a souvenir, you will find plenty of shops to do so.

During the summer months, be on the lookout for live entertainment & events such as firework displays, movies on the beach, and concerts. There is always something to do whether you are looking to watch a unique street performance or enjoy a summer treat while taking in amazing views of the Atlantic coast.

Dozens of hotels are located directly on the boardwalk, most moderately priced.

Other popular Ocean City tourist attractions include cruises, miniature golf courses, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and water sports.

Myrtle Beach

View of the Myrtle Beach boardwalk - South Carolina

Recently opened in 2010, Myrtle Beach’s gorgeous 6.5 million dollar boardwalk is a must visit for beach lovers. The short 1.2 mile stroll offers beautiful views of the amazing South Carolina coast. Myrtle Beach is part of the Grand Strand, a 60 mile stretch of uninterrupted beaches along the South Carolina coast.

The boardwalk is clean, maintained, and nicely landscaped. Summer brings about a diverse entertainment lineup including concerts and fireworks shows. There are a handful of restaurants and souvenir shops, but not too many, so the area does not feel overly congested.

The 2 main attractions are the SkyWheel, one of the largest Ferris Wheels in the country and Pier 14, a restaurant and fishing/sightseeing pier. The 187 foot tall Ferris Wheel is the shining star of the boardwalk, providing some fabulous views of the beach. Take in breathtaking views of the Atlantic via a climate controlled gondola. Some tourist attractions are not worth it – the SkyWheel, on the other hand, is definitely worth the small admission fee! Don’t miss out on this one!

For just a buck, you can walk out onto Pier 14 and take in the beautiful sights around you. This is a beautiful location for photography, both of the beaches and boardwalk. Also plan an evening visit to take in the views of the SkyWheel lit up at night. In addition, the pier is a hotspot for fishing.

Great oceanfront lodging choices include: Bay View Resort, Island Vista Resort, and Anderson Ocean Club.

Myrtle Beach is a fun beach town with plenty of attractions outside of the boardwalk. Top rated tourist attractions include Myrtle Beach State Park, The Carolina Opry, Broadway at the Beach (a dining, shopping, & entertainment complex), Ripley’s Aquarium, mini golf courses, cruises, watersports, and dozens of shows.

More to do in Myrtle Beach

Venice Beach

Venice Beach boardwalk - Southern California

Venice Beach is the most interesting of all the boardwalks, and well known due to its’ presence in the media. Along this eclectic boardwalk, you will be able to take in interesting street performances, browse all different sorts of crazy tourist shops, and try out diverse treats at various food stands.

This is definitely a people watching paradise. You will never see so many weird sights again after a visit to Venice Beach. Jugglers, glass walkers, fortune tellers, tattoo artists, magicians…you will find it all here!

Venice Beach is also home to iconic Muscle Beach, home to the Southern California bodybuilding competitions. Did you know that Arnold Schwarzenegger once trained here? In addition, you will find the famous basketball courts featured in various movies and TV shows like “White Men Can’t Jump.”

Amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is another must visit on your trip. Here, you can ride the iconic roller-coaster while taking in gorgeous panoramic views of the Pacific! Also be sure to check out The Strand, a 22 mile bike ride stretching from Torrance to Pacific Palisades. A portion of the path rides right pass the Venice Beach boardwalk, thus making a bike ride the most fun & easiest way to get to Venice.

While in L.A., be sure to check out the Griffith Observatory, Universal Studios, The Getty Center, Runyon Canyon park, and of course all the gorgeous beaches! My favorite thing to do in L.A. is hiking in the Santa Monica mountains with Los Liones being my top pick.

There are plenty of budget and luxury hotel options in the area. The Inn at Venice Beach and Venice on the Beach Hotel are 2 moderately priced options in the area. If you want something a bit fancier, you can check out Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica or the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.

Have you visited any of these boardwalks? What are some of your favorite beach cities?