From the thrilling rides and the laughter at the midway to the soft serve ice cream, corn dogs, and saltwater taffy, there’s a reason why families flock to beaches boasting wooden planks and non-stop excitement, year after year. Take a stroll through the gallery below to discover our picks for best boardwalks to visit with kids of any age.

Jenkinson’s Boardwalk – Point Pleasant Beach, Nj

Atlantic City may reign supreme in the Boardwalk Empire, but with laid-back charm, and the pristine, 1.5 mile-long stretch known as Point Pleasant beach, Jenkinson’s Boardwalk has been attracting East Coast families for generations. There’s an aquarium for would-be underwater adventurers (don’t miss the penguins!), Adventure Lookout—the brand new ropes course for the active set, and if whirls and twirls are your thing, the central part of the boardwalk offers rides for kids of all ages. Of course, a trip to the boardwalk wouldn’t be complete without a little fishing, and the best (& most popular) spot is Manasquan Inlet, at the end of the boardwalk.

Where to eat: You can pick up just about anything your little crew is craving at the Pavilion: sushi, pizza, salads, boardwalk classics, seafood and more.

Good to know: Ride passes can get pricey; be sure to check out the wristband specials, like Wristband Days (Tues.) and Wristband Nights (Fri.).

Online: jenksinsons.com

photo: courtesy Jenkinson’s Boardwalk

Which boardwalk is your favorite? Share with us in a Comment below. 

—Gabby Cullen