A boardwalk (board walk, boarded path, promenade) is a constructed pedestrian walkway along or overlooking beaches, usually built with wood boards; or as walking paths and trails over bogs and wetlands and above fragile ecosystems.
Boardwalks along intertidal zones are known as foreshoreways in Australia. A boardwalk along a river is often known as a riverwalk and a boardwalk along an oceanfront is often known as an oceanway. Aside from their obvious pedestrian usage, boardwalks have been used to create commercial districts and enable commerce along waterfronts where conventional streets would have been more expensive because of a beach or other waterfront feature. Although boardwalks can be found around the world, they are especially common along the East Coast of the United States.
Many of the original boardwalks in the United States have developed to be so successful as commercial districts and tourist attractions that the simple wooden pathways have been replaced by esplanades made of concrete, brick or other construction, sometimes with a wooden facade on the surface and sometimes not. Indeed, in many parts of the U.S. today the term Boardwalk often carries more the connotation of a waterfront, pedestrian, entertainment district than the original meaning of a wooden path. One of the earliest such boardwalks was designed in New Jersey and opened June 26, 1870, in Atlantic City.
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