Under the Boardwalk ~ Popular Boardwalks and Waterfronts in Every State

Under the Boardwalk ~ Popular Boardwalks and Waterfronts in Every State

I hear the lyrics and melody running through my head as I write… “From the park you hear the happy sound of a carousel. Mm-mm, you can almost taste the hot dogs and French fries they sell. Under the boardwalk, down by the sea, On a blanket with my baby is where I’ll be.”

If there’s anything possibly more iconic and nostalgic in the summer than a drive-in, it might be the boardwalk. After all, while they both had songs written about them, The Drifters’ “Under the Boardwalk” is much more well known than the Beach Boys’ “Drive-In.”

Just the word alone can conjure up a multitude of sensory memories, from the sounds of the games and rides, to the smell of the ocean air, the taste of popcorn, ice cream, and salt water taffy, the feel of the air in your hair as you ride the roller coaster, and the sight of whirling and flashing lights all around.

But like the drive-in, many boardwalks are disappearing to the ravages of time, nature, and a change in lifestyles or entertainment interests. Thankfully, if you’ve never been to a boardwalk, it isn’t too late.

Most of us, when we think of boardwalks, do imagine the scene described above, usually along a beach planked with worn wood, but that’s not always the case. Some “boardwalks” like the one described above are actually built on piers or on cement, while other wooden walkways lead people through nature preserves instead of carnival midways. Some are on the ocean, while others line rivers, lakefronts, or forests. 

Below, I’ve collected a list of some of the more popular remaining boardwalks, wharves, piers, river walks, lakefronts, harbor walks, and boardwalk trails in each of the 50 states to enjoy this summer. Whether you go for the rides or for a nice walk, I hope you find a few that interest you!


Under the Boardwalk ~ Popular Boardwalks and Waterfronts in Every State


Popular Boardwalks and Waterfronts in Every State


Alabama – The Wharf (Orange Beach), Gulf Shores, Russell Cave Boardwalk (Bridgeport)

Alaska – The Spit Boardwalk (Homer), Creek Street Boardwalk (Ketchikan), Seward Boardwalk, Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), Gavin Hill (Sitka), Alaska Raptor Center (Sitka), Halibut Cove

Arizona – Allen Street Boardwalk (Tombstone), Chandler Downtown Boardwalk, Arivaca Cienega Trail

Arkansas – Boardwalk Bridge (Scott), Arkansas River Trail (Little Rock)

California – Santa Monica Pier, Oceanfront Boardwalk Mission Beach/Belmont Park, Oceanfront Walk Venice Beach, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Paradise Pier at Disneyland’s California Adventure, Newport Beach Boardwalk/Balboa Fun Zone, Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39, Long Beach/The Pike, Sausalito Boardwalk, Avalon (Catalina), The Strand (Hermosa Beach), Coronado, Marina Del Rey, Cook’s Meadow Loop (Yosemite), Moonstone Beach Boardwalk (Cambria), Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Muir Woods

Colorado – Main Street Boardwalk of Grand Lake, Niedrach Nature Trail and Gazebo Boardwalk (Commerce City), Wilderness on Wheels (Kenosha Pass)

Connecticut – Ocean Beach Park (New London), Chelsea Piers (Stamford), Niantic Boardwalk, Silver Sands State Park (Milford), Captain’s Cove Seaport (Bridgeport), Poquonnock River Walkway (Groton), Savin Rock Boardwalk (West Haven)

Delaware – Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, Bethany Beach, Fenwick Boardwalk

Florida – Daytona Beach, Disney World Boardwalk, Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk, Times Square, Miami Beach Boardwalk, Mallory Square (Key West), Key West Historic Seaport, Village of Baytowne Wharf, Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (Naples), Destin Harbor Boardwalk, Cocoa Beach Pier, Indialantic Boardwalk, Pier Park (Panama City Beach)

Georgia – River Street (Savannah), Glory Beach (Jekyll Island), Coastal Georgia Greenway, Georgia Coast Rail-Trail

Hawaii – Wailea Oceanfront Boardwalk, Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Front Street (Lahaina), Climb Works at Keana Farms, Fort Derussy Boardwalk

Idaho – Lolo Pass Visitor Center, Upper Mesa Falls, Coeur d’Alene Marina

Illinois – Navy Pier (Chicago), The Grove (Glenview), North Park Nature Center (Chicago), Makanda Boardwalk, Nelson Park Boardwalk (Decatur)

Indiana – Indiana Beach Boardwalk, Pisgah Marsh Boardwalk (Pierceton), Portage Beach/Riverwalk

Iowa – Little Storm Lake Discovery Center, Yellow River Boardwalk Trail, Mississippi River Walk (Dubuque)

Kansas – Cowtown Boardwalk, Antioch Park, Boot Hill Boardwalk

Kentucky – Harlan County Black Mountain Thunder, Waterfront Park (Louisville), Cub Run, Paducah Riverwalk

Louisiana – Louisiana Boardwalk (Bossier City), Lake Martin, Lake Charles, New Orleans Riverwalk, Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, Chicot State Park (Ville Platte), Baton Rouge Riverfront

Maine – Old Orchard Beach Boardwalk, Orono Bog Boardwalk, Quoddy Head State Park, Jordan Pond Trail in Acadia National Park, York Beach, Harborwalk (Belfast)

Maryland – Ocean City Boardwalk, Assateague Island’s Elevated Boardwalk, Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, Havre de Grace Promenade, North Beach Boardwalk

Massachusetts – Sandwich Boardwalk, Cruiseport Boston & the Waterfront, Nantasket Beach (Hull), Gray’s Beach/Bass Hole Boardwalk (Yarmouthport), Pickering Wharf/Salem Willows (Salem), MacMillan Wharf (Provincetown)

Michigan – Huron Boardwalk, Detroit Riverwalk, Grand Haven Boardwalk, Tahquamenon Falls, Mt. Clemens Riverwalk, Historic Bridge Park (Battle Creek), Manistee Riverwalk

Minnesota – Big Bog Boardwalk, Can Can Wonderland (St. Paul), Theodore Wirth Park (Golden Valley), Duluth Boardwalk on Lake Superior, Boardwalk Building (East Grand Forks)

Mississippi – Chautauqua Park (Crystal Springs), Greenville Cypress Preserve, Crosby Arboretum (Picayune), Tanglefoot Trail, Biloxi Beach Boardwalk

Missouri – Boardwalk Nature Trail (Puxico), Locust Creek Boardwalk, Branson Landing Riverwalk, Pershing State Park

Montana – Trail of the Cedars at Glacier National Park, Mammoth Hot Springs (Yellowstone), Virginia City


Under the Boardwalk ~ Popular Boardwalks and Waterfronts in Every State


Nebraska – Fontenelle Forest Boardwalk (Bellevue), Smith Falls Boardwalk, Heartland of America Park, Lewis and Clark Landing

Nevada – Sand Harbor Boardwalk, Treasure Island Boardwalk, Laughlin Riverwalk, Virginia City Boardwalk, Crystal Spring Boardwalk, Red Rock Canyon Boardwalk

New Hampshire – Hampton Beach Boardwalk, Winnipesaukee Pier at Weirs Beach, The Flume (Lincoln), Meredith Bay Boardwalk, Cranberry Bog Boardwalk (Walpole)

New Jersey – Atlantic City, Wildwood, Jenkinson’s (Point Pleasant), Seaside Heights Boardwalk, Asbury Park, Keansburg, Ocean City, Avon by the Sea, Long Branch Boardwalk, Cape May

New Mexico – Interdune Boardwalk at White Sands National Monument, The Boardwalk at Clayton Lake State Park, The Catwalk Trail in Glenwood, Santa Fe Shopping Boardwalk,

New York – Coney Island, Chelsea Pier, Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk, Jones Beach, Long Beach, South Beach (Staten Island), Empire Fulton Ferry State Park (Brooklyn), High Falls Gorge (Wilmington), Sapsucker Woods (Ithaca), Sunken Forest (Fire Island)

North Carolina – Carolina Beach Boardwalk (Pleasure Island), Duck Town Boardwalk, Beaufort Boardwalk, Wilmington Riverwalk, Washington Waterfront

North Dakota – Statue of Liberty Park (Fargo), Riverwalk of Minot, Bismarck Riverwalk

Ohio – Cedar Point Amusement Park, Flats East Bank Boardwalk (Cleveland), Magee Marsh Boardwalk, Boardwalk Trail at Maumee Bay State Park, The Boardwalk in Put-in-Bay, Geneva-on-the-Lake, Cypress Swamp Boardwalk at the Dawes Arboretum

Oklahoma – Bricktown (OKC), Cussetah Bottoms Boardwalk Trail (Okmulgee), Tulsa Riverwalk, Carlton Landing, Pathfinder Parkway Trail

Oregon – Elizabeth Caruthers Park, Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Eastbank Esplanade, Siuslaw River Port Boardwalk (Florence), Newport Harbor Boardwalk, Boardwalk at the Port of Brookings Harbor, Port of Bandon Boardwalk

Pennsylvania – Wildwood Park Nature Trails, Conneaut Lake Park Boardwalk, Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, Hersheypark’s Boardwalk, Waldemeer Park (Erie)

Rhode Island – Bannister’s Wharf, Bowen’s Wharf, Cliff Walk, Atlantic Beach Park, Watch Hill, Perrotti Park Promenade

South Carolina – Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade (Myrtle Beach), The Marshwalk in Murrells Inlet, Georgetown Harborwalk, Conway Riverwalk, Harbour Town Promenade, Coligny Beach Boardwalk, North Charleston’s Riverfront Park

South Dakota – Keystone, Door Trail in Badlands National Park, Belle Fourche River Walk, Big Sioux River Recreation Trail

Tennessee – Ten Ton Greenway Trail, Cypress Grove Nature Park (Jackson), Boardwalk in Nashville, Chattanooga Riverwalk, Mud Island Riverwalk (Memphis)

Texas – Kemah Boardwalk, Riverwalk (San Antonio), Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, Six Flags Fiesta Texas Boardwalk, Big Thicket National Preserve, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

Utah – Big Cottonwood Canyon/Silver Lake Boardwalk, Cascade Springs, Garden City Boardwalk, Provo Beach Resort

Vermont – Waterfront Park (Burlington), Chickering Bog Natural Area Trail, Thundering Falls Trail, Mollie Beattie Bog Boardwalk

Virginia – Virginia Beach Boardwalk, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Boardwalk to Historic Jamestown, Ragged Island Boardwalk, Alexandria’s Old Town Waterfront

Washington – Long Beach Boardwalk, Bell Harbor Marina at Pier 66 (Seattle), Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail (Olympia), Cape Flattery, The Boardwalk at Boulevard Park

West Virginia – Beartown State Park, Sandstone Falls, Stonewall Resort, Cranesville Swamp Preserve, Blackwater Falls

Wisconsin – Sheboygan Riverway, Crescent Beach Boardwalk (Algoma), Spruce Lake Bog, Big Bay State Park, Horicon Marsh

Wyoming – West Thumb Boardwalk, Upper Geyser Basin Boardwalk, Fort Bridger State Historic Site Boardwalk, Lower Yellowstone Falls Boardwalk

Tell me: What is your favorite boardwalk memory? What is your favorite boardwalk in your area?

8 thoughts on “Under the Boardwalk ~ Popular Boardwalks and Waterfronts in Every State

  • You know, what’s hilarious (sad) is that I grew up less than an hour from the Wilmington Riverwalk and I’ve still never seen it. We went to Wilmington occasionally when I was growing up, but it was always for doctors appointments and shopping. lol

    • Paula Bernal

      I, too, am going to save this for future travels I have already been to two.
      I taught in Coney Island, Brooklyn for centuries, and though the boardwalk was worn (talking twenty years ago), the rides were closed,the Nathans stand was boarded up, and the neighborhood was downright seedy, before I left, I got to enjoy the beginning of new life on the boardwalk. Many Russian immigrants found their way to that part of Brooklyn, and they began to open lovely restaurants on the boardwalk. I spent many afternoons with friends and colleagues drinking “grams” of vodka while enjoying dishes like pelmeni and bowls of borscht. It was a delight to eat alfresco, feeling the salt in the ocean air and people-watching. I have a feeling that since I’ve been, the Russians have continued to make Coney Island Boardwalk a destination once again.
      I’ve also had the pleasure of hiking the flume in Lincoln, NH for many years. We go up that way every Columbus Day weekend, and the flume is always a favorite destination. It is a place, I believe, that God created to rejuvenate our souls and to remind us of the grandeur of his creation.
      Thanks for giving me a chance to remember.
      Ok, I’ll shut up now!!!

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