Enjoy the ocean and a multitude of attractions at these locales
Whether it’s relaxing on a beach to take in some sun, or strolling along a boardwalk for shopping and dining, states along the Atlantic coastline have plenty to offer each member of the family. Focus your trip on one spot if you’re short on time, or plan a drive from Maryland to Maine to take in each unique experience.
Ocean City Boardwalk
Located along a narrow strip of land between the Atlantic and the Isle of Wight and Assawoman Bay, Maryland’s Ocean City provides everything one would expect from a boardwalk visit with its sweet and salty offerings, bars and a variety of entertainment.
While out walking or biking the three-mile long boardwalk, stopping at Thrasher’s French Fries or Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard will certainly hit the spot. For the beer enthusiast, local craft brewer Backshore Brewing Co. shines with its colorful décor and inside and outside seating for great views of the beach. For those looking for a bite to eat with their drink, or perhaps a family-friendly experience, Harrison’s Harbor Watch is located at the southernmost point of Ocean City. Famous for its seafood, Harrison’s is also renowned for its spectacular views.
The colorful lights projecting from the boardwalk during the evening hours attract visitors to a multitude of entertainment options. In addition to the arcades, Jolly Roger Amusement Park and Trimper’s Rides offer amusement park rides for all ages. For those seeking to stay outside to enjoy their surroundings, there are plenty of free entertainment options as well, namely from the various street performers including acrobats and musicians. There is also a Life-Saving Station Museum with an aquarium that can be toured to gain insight into Ocean City’s unique history. ococean.com/location/ocean-city-cvb-dept-of-tourism
One hour north of Ocean City is Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. Casual swimmers and keen surfers alike can rejoice as the state’s beaches are famous for being clean, with Rehoboth in particular having earned a five-star rating from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Other visitors and shoppers are also attracted by the quaint and charming feel that the town exudes—not to mention the absence of sales tax—its mile-long boardwalk, as well as major shops, restaurants, and bars all located along one main road, Rehoboth Avenue. The city is also famous for being LGBT friendly with CAMP Rehoboth Community Center offering information about exciting things to do in the area. visitdelaware.com/beaches/rehoboth-beach/
Atlantic City Boardwalk
Atlantic City, New Jersey not only shines with its beachfront and natural ocean views but also with its grandiose entertainment options. There are several casinos to choose from for a nice mix of gaming and relaxation, with MGM Borgata and its popular spa at the top of the list. If gaming is not on the agenda, the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, renamed in 2017 in honor of the former state senator, is a historic arena often hosting concerts for major music acts such as Beyoncé and, more recently, Twenty One Pilots. The arena is also capable of hosting sporting events and is famous for Mike Tyson having fought there during the 1980s. Of course, some visitors may be keen to just relax on the beach, go fishing or even surf and are more than welcome to do so with a wide stretch of sand and ocean waves. atlanticcitynj.com/
Riegelmann Boardwalk and Coney Island Beach
Originating as a seaside resort since the mid-19th century, the Riegelmann Boardwalk and Coney Island Beach that is located along the Brooklyn borough’s peninsula is a legendary place—one that everyone should experience in their lifetime. Prior to the Second World War, Coney Island was the largest amusement area in the United States. Though it has lost this claim since then, strong redevelopment in the 2000s brought an abundance of playgrounds and amusement rides for visitors to enjoy once again, including the famous city landmarks Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster and the century-old Wonder Wheel.
Also located along the boardwalk is the New York Aquarium—the oldest continually operating aquarium in the country. Its Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit features an underwater room with glass ceiling and walls to provide visitors the experience of being completely surrounded by the magnificent marine life that can be found in the New York Bight. The aquarium not only strives to educate visitors but to also protect local waters and its marine life population. coneyisland.com/tourist-information
Between Hull Bay and Massachusetts Bay lies Nantasket Beach in the town of Hull, Massachusetts. Along with a wealth of beaches, it’s also well-known for acres of tide pools during low tide. Many adaptable animals call these tide pools home and can be appreciated up close. Aside from the salty treats and seafood, specifically the tasty fried clams, the historic Paragon Carousel can also be found at Nantasket Beach. Operating for over 90 years, this intricately wood carved and painted marvel is one of now less than 100 grand carousels remaining the United States. mass.gov/locations/nantasket-beach-reservation
New Hampshire’s Hampton Beach offers visitors miniature golf, an arcade and a casino which plays host to over 70 live music and comedy acts from April to November. The boardwalk offers plenty of shopping and dining experiences, but most notably is a quality spot for year-round walks to take in the scenic views. Those looking to jump in the water for a swim or some surfing will be happy to know that the water quality at Hampton is among the highest rated in the entire country. hamptonbeach.org/
Facing Meredith Bay in New Hampshire, Weirs Beach takes a detour from the Atlantic Ocean views to enjoy the picturesque Lake Winnipesaukee as well as the surrounding area’s forests with their deep, beautiful greens. The Weirs, as the locals refer to it, is located next to Endicott Rock State Historic Site, which has a stone engraved by surveyors of the area dating back to 1652. Standard boardwalk fare is on hand at The Weirs with fried dough, pizza, ice cream stands, shopping, and arcades. Grab a beer and a bite to eat at Winnipesaukee Pier and enjoy excellent views of the lake during a warm summer evening. weirsbeach.com/
Old Orchard Beach
Just a half hour drive south of the city of Portland, Old Orchard Beach, Maine is a resort town offering up seven miles of sandy beach. While this wide stretch of beachfront is an excellent getaway for relaxation there are plenty of activities on offer as well.
For live music, bars, and restaurants, it’s difficult to beat the Old Orchard Beach Pier with its elevated views of the Atlantic and beautiful sunsets. The Palace Playland amusement park that is located just a short walk away has plenty of kid-friendly fun. There are also various water activities available such as fishing and parasailing. Be sure to plan your visit ahead so that you do not miss out on the weekly fireworks show. oldorchardbeachmaine.com/
By Christopher Silbernagel