From the fried food, to the crazy rides, kids games, and a gorgeous beach, a great boardwalk has something for everyone. “They appeal to different people for different reasons," explains James Lilliefors, author of America's Boardwalks: From Coney Island to California. "A great boardwalk is one that is nostalgic, but keeps its nostalgia current." These wooden walkways are an important part of Americana that dates all the way to 1870 in Atlantic City, when hotels didn't want sand spilling into their lobbies. But nearly 150 years later, they’re still the perfect spot for summer, whether you're on a trip with the kids or looking to have a good time with your friends. We asked Lilliefors to take us on a tour of the top ten boardwalks in America.
Santa Cruz, California
Also known as the "Coney Island of the West," Santa Cruz is the perfect carnival-style family destination. "It's one of the only boardwalks left that truly captures the nostalgia," Lilliefors explains. The ocean views are unbeatable, and the crowd is young and lively. Make sure you ride the carousel. It may be the only one left that still lets you grab a ring and toss it onto a clown's head while riding.
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