Oceanfront cities have an incredible appeal … the breezes off the water, the smell of salt air and the hustle and bustle of the waterfront are all positive assaults on the senses. It seems no matter where you go in the world where there’s an ocean or lake, there’s a promenade or a boardwalk or a pier to while away the day.
Not surprisingly, the one thing these places all have in common is restaurants … well … maybe I should say “places to eat.” On the east coast, many places feature “Boardwalk Fries” for instance. The chain began in 1981 in, where else, Ocean City, Maryland and now boasts stores in six states. Of course, OC, as it’s known locally, also features the famous “salt water taffy” stores with giant taffy pullers in the window and dozens of colors of ooey, gooey, stick-to-your-teeth flavors of taffy.
Further north, you find the Jersey shore and New York City’s Coney Island. Both locations are so popular they show up often in movies and TV shows. Rides, souvenirs and, of course, more taffy. Another food that owes its origins to the waterfront is the Coney Island hot dog. Todroff’s claims to be where the famous treat was invented.
No discussion of oceanside attractions would be complete without bringing up seafood. From fresh Gulf Coast shrimp to Alaskan King Crab to Boston lobster rolls to “catch of the day” in Hawaii … this list goes on. But it’s not all about the food.
Art is a feature on many boardwalks and promenades. You can spot galleries and exhibits, local artisans selling their wares, or just wander along the pathway or through a park and take in the sculptures or street artwork on display. Or, head a block or two inland and marvel at the architecture in a town like Cape May, New Jersey.
I’ve snapped pics of funky totem poles and fish skeletons along the promenade in San Diego.
We’ve admired the mosaic fountain outside the aquarium at Long Beach, California.
We’ve marveled at sun rises and sunsets from Florida to California and Hawaii.
We’ve grabbed a table, a drink and a nosh, chatting away afternoons on the Chesapeake and in Key West … watching the boats, birds and people. A trip to the beach can certainly include some time playing in the sand, but dry off your feet and wander a bit among the crowds for some local flavor.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Let some salty air keep you cool while you’re exploring.
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