Spring and summer are prime times for boardwalk lovers. Our favorite East Coast boardwalks—and beaches—are in Virginia Beach, VA; Rehoboth, DE; and North Beach in Miami Beach, FL. A walk along all three brings ocean breezes, a whiff of salt spray, and breaking surf to punctuate morning walks, but each of these three seaside paths charms with its own special character.
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Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach’s “boardwalk” consistently makes all the top boardwalk lists, including National Geographic Traveler’s and Travel and Leisure’s. The paved walkway stretches for three miles along the ocean from 2nd to 39th streets, serving as a major focus for the town’s bustling beach life. An impressive 28 feet wide, the boardwalk provides lots of space. Strollers take the lanes closest to the ocean and on the other side of a divider of plants, trees, and flowers, rollerbladers and cyclists cruise.
The 24-foot Neptune statue at 31st Street, a Virginia Beach landmark, marks Neptune Festival Park, the site of summer outdoor concerts and events. Mimes, magic shows, jugglers, and guitarists also perform in several smaller areas. You can enjoy a sea breeze with your meal at the restaurants and cafes that front the boardwalk. Since most souvenir, T-shirt, and sundry shops are a block away, the boardwalk remains a place for ambling, sitting, gathering, cycling, and, with all the entertainment, partying.
North Beach, Miami Beach, Florida
North Beach in Miami Beach, NoBe for short, stretches from 63rd Street to 87th Street. This area differs from inland North Miami Beach. In NoBe, between the oceanfront hotels along Collins Avenue and the neighborhood’s sand beaches, is a miles-long trail that locals refer to as the “boardwalk.” It’s actually a wide path, concrete in most places, dirt in other spots, that extends about 4.4 miles to Surfside, the next community.
Because only a few blocks offer direct access to shops and cafes across the street, a boardwalk stroll is relatively peaceful. On one side sand dunes and sea grape bushes edge the beach and on the other are the condominiums’ and hotels’ pool patios. There are bicyclists, dog-walkers, kids on scooters, and strolling couples. The path runs behind the North Shore Band Shell Park, a concert venue, and along the North Shore Open Space Park. At Bark Park, oceanfront between 80th and 81st streets, you can swim with your dog all season long. Just bring cash: $5 for residents; $25 for non-residents.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
At the heart of Rehoboth Beach is its mile-long boardwalk, an old-fashioned stretch of wooden planks. Eateries serving french fries, pizza, and sandwiches line the path as do T-shirt and souvenir shops plus Funland. The indoor-outdoor amusement park has been captivating young kids and grade-schoolers for more than 50 years with its bumper boats, Merry-Go-Round, Ferris Wheel, arcade games, and a not-too-scary Haunted House. The Funland area tends to be the noisiest section of the boardwalk. Quieter sections are at either end of the promenade.
What is your favorite East Coast boardwalk? Comment below or connect with me on Twitter, @familyitrips.