A boardwalk in spirit if not in composition — it's concrete — this path runs 3 miles past beachfront hotels, restaurants, stores, museums, bike-rental shops and street performers. Three stages present free summer entertainment, and two small museums belly up to the boardwalk: the Atlantic Waterfowl Heritage Museum (decoys) and The Old Coast Guard Station with nifty 'tower cam' ocean views.

The Kemah Boardwalk draws 4 million visitors a year to this once-sleepy town on Galveston Bay near Houston. In addition to showcasing overpriced, tourist-oriented restaurants, the boardwalk also includes amusement rides, shops, an unpredictably programmed water-jet fountain (a definite kid favorite), and a surprisingly nice boutique hotel called the Boardwalk Inn.