Soaking up all the summertime fun of the ocean is much more than splashing around in the water or building a sand castle with your family. But don’t get me wrong, those are also great ways to spend a summer day. But then the night strikes, it’s time to hit the boardwalk for all your nightlife fixes, such as bars on the wharf DC, amusement parks, greasy food and drink options, and more.
Boardwalks began gaining popularity as far back as the 1890s when temporary structures made their permanent home along the Atlantic City beachfront. The boardwalk quickly became an important centerpiece and prominent figure in “America’s playground”, as it provided fun eating, shopping options, and other tourist attractions that flocked in thousands.
But boardwalks have evolved immensely since then, and have exploded in popularity across America’s beaches from coast to coast. Goers can expect face-painting, ice cream cones, shopping for knick-knacks like boogie boards and sandcastle equipment, and countless other rides and attractions.
Below, we’re going to take a look at some of the more essential features of a modern, successful boardwalk today. Keep in mind this is a subjective list, and what you’re looking for might be on it! That’s one of the best things about boardwalks though: they always have something for everyone. Without further ado, here are five necessary features of a successful boardwalk.
A Ferris Wheel
Ferris wheels provide fun for the entire family or provide romance for a night out with your partner. These allow you to have a spectacular view of the beach, boardwalk, ocean, and horizon line and are a low-risk way to take it all in at once (unless you’re afraid of heights). Ferris wheels provide lasting memories and have been responsible for many first kisses among young lovers.
Having a system of rides and attractions, or having an entire amusement park on the boardwalk, is ideal. But in the event they can only choose one ride or attraction, a ferris wheel is a safe bet and popular choice. The famous Pacific Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier is nine stories tall and first debuted in 1996, later to be converted into the first solar-powered ferris wheel in the world in 1998. This attraction is iconic to California and brings in countless tourists per season.
An Ice Cream Stand
A successful boardwalk will have a variety of junk food options, but maybe the chief among them is an ice cream stand or shop. This one is obvious. C’mon, summertime sun, heat, salty water, and warm sand? Ice cream (and water) is the only cure to escape the heat. This is a guaranteed money-maker and crowd-pleaser for families, couples on dates, or a sweet treat for parents as a reward for taking their kids to the boardwalk.
Other essential food stands include a french fry shop, candy store, burger joint (with milkshakes), funnel cake stand, and hot dog cart. But ice cream is just what the doctor ordered on a long, hot summer day.
Take a break from the sun and stroll into a fun and crowded boardwalk arcade. This will help you break up your day and ensure you make the most of a summer day off. Wake up the child inside you by breaking your PacMan score, humbling your children at skee ball or hoops, and beating your partner at Dance Dance Revolution.
If you rack up enough tickets, you’ll be walking home with a souvenir for yourself or as a gift to improve your lady or child. Plus, many modern arcades also have bars attached, so you can suck down a few frozen margaritas or ice-cold beers that hit the spot on a hot day.
If you don’t want to spend your day indoors, most successful boardwalks also have outdoor gaming booths, where you can hit a basketball shot for a stuffed animal, shoot water at a target, catch a horseshoe on a glass bottle—you get it. These are easily approachable booths to utilize after or while waiting in line for the ferris wheel or other rides. This state-fair-like environment screams “good time” on a summer day, and lights up the night when the sun goes down with several flashing, neon lights around the boardwalk.
These games allow you to show off your arm strength or accuracy in front of your friends or date and can provide a fun, competitive atmosphere for your night’s company.
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A Pet-Friendly and Alcohol-Friendly Environment
The only thing better than enjoying the boardwalk with your friends on vacation is enjoying the boardwalk with your friends on vacation—with your dog and an alcoholic beverage. Pet-friendly beaches are the best and allow for boosted moods and happiness due to the increased presence of dogs. Take your furry best friends on a walk along the beach or boardwalk to let them enjoy the vacation as much as you can.
The best boardwalks allow for open containers in designated areas. This may be the enjoy carnival games and rides section, a specific bar arcade along the boardwalk, or beer gardens or picnic areas.
Boardwalks are one of the most fun ways to enjoy the summer in America, no matter what coast you’re residing on. They provide fun for everyone, including families, couples, retirees, pet owners, spring breakers, and more. As beacons of nostalgia and good old-fashioned fun, boardwalks fill in the gaps on your beach day, so you don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to eat later, or what the move for the night is.
With arcades, carnival games, rides, food and drink stands, and shops, and the ocean is right next to you the entire night, a boardwalk has everything you could ever want in celebrating a summer vacation. Get a henna tattoo, a new piercing, or a real tattoo, or have your portrait drawn to make lasting memories this summer.
The beach isn’t the beach without a fun boardwalk to attend when the sun goes down. A boardwalk that has all of these fun features is sure to wow you and add an extra layer of fun to your summer vacation.
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