America's Best Beach Boardwalks
STAY AT HOTEL BPM BROOKLYN: This hipster haven embodies the Brooklyn renaissance with edgy decor and Frette linens; hotelbpmbrooklyn.com.
STAY AT LAMIE'S INN: A five-minute drive from the boardwalk, this family-run (and pet- friendly) inn has been around since the late 1950s; lamiesinn.com.
STAY AT WALKABOUT BEACH RESORT: This throwback to the 1940s flaunts Florida Art Moderne architecture on the shore; walkaboutbeachresort.com.
STAY AT THE BELLMOOR INN & SPA: Two blocks from the beach, The Bellmoor’s European decor lends the place a bygone feel; thebellmoor.com.
Long before Disney, there was Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk—California’s original amusement park and still one of the best. Launched in 1907, the boardwalk has meticulously preserved its bygone ways. Whether it’s corn dogs and cotton candy or wooden roller coasters and screechy bumper cars, this stretch of sand 90 minutes south of San Francisco is like stepping into one of those old Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello movies. Must-stops along the path include Momo’s Beach Shack, and Olitas Cantina & Grill for a margarita and fish tacos. As daylight fades, the Giant Dipper roller coaster offers an unforgettable view of the sunset over Monterey Bay.
STAY AT DREAM INN: This swank property sits right on the beach at one end of the boardwalk, with mod rooms and bay views; jdvhotels.com.
STAY AT CRYSTAL PIER HOTEL & COTTAGES: The newly refurbished cottages at this 1936 Pacific Beach landmark offer a rare chance to sleep above the waves on the wooden pier; crystalpier.com.
STAY AT THE HILTON VIRGINIA BEACH OCEANFRONT: One of the few full-service hotels along the boardwalk, the Hilton boasts oceanview rooms and a spa; hilton.com.