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Sandy Bottom Nature Trail boardwalk

18 Beautiful Boardwalks

When I initially think of walking on a boardwalk, the Eastern Seaboard comes to mind with the great beach boardwalks in Atlantic City, Wildwood, Ocean City, Myrtle Beach, Coney Island, and Virginia Beach. Boardwalks lined with seaside shops, bars, casinos and entertainment that draw massive crowds throughout the summer.

Alas, this is Rochester. So when I think of boardwalks here, my mind goes to trail systems where boardwalks are incorporated along the pathway to help people meander through wetlands, or to help preserve wildlife from the footsteps of human explorers.

Either way, I do love boardwalks wherever they appear! Here are some of my favorites.

Boardwalks as Part of Trail Systems

Tinker Park Nature Center
Tinker Nature Park
Tinker Park
Tinker Park boardwalk

1. Tinker Nature Park

Henrietta

Tinker Nature Park comprises 68-acres in Henrietta with a 1.2 mile flat perimeter trail for jogging, biking, skiing, snowshoeing or walking.

Channing H Philbrick Linear Park
Channing H Philbrick
Channing Philbrick Park
Channing H Philbrick Park PKA Linear Park

2. Channing H. Philbrick Park

Penfield

As Irondequoit Creek passes through Channing H Philbrick Park, it drops 90 feet over one mile giving us the cascades that make this park so special.

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

3. Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

Basom

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is the largest in New York State at 10,828 acres, not even including the surrounding Oak Orchard and Tonawanda WMAs. The 1.3-mile Swallow Hollow Nature loop trail is located on Knowlesville Road. It was created using a series of ramps, gravel pathways and boardwalks making it accessible for all to enjoy this unique ecosystem.

Sandy Bottom Nature Trail boardwalk
Sandy Bottom
Sandy Bottom Park Nature Trail boardwalk no rails
Sandy Bottom Park Nature Trail boardwalk Honeoye Creek

4. Sandy Bottom Park & Nature Trails

Honeoye

Sandy Bottom Park is located at the north end of Honeoye Lake. There you will find Sandy Bottom Beach, the Honeoye Creek Outlet, and a trail system that combines raised boardwalks and a mowed grass path through agricultural land along Mill Creek.

Turning Point Park boardwalk
turning point
Turning Point Park Rochester NY

5. Turning Point Park

City of Rochester

Turning Point Park’s most striking feature is a 3,572 ft-long boardwalk over the Genesee River Turning Basin, part of the greater Genesee Riverway Trail.

christine sevilla cover
Christine Sevilla
Christine Sevilla Wetlands Reserve sunfilled boardwalk
Christine Sevilla boardwalk

6. Christine Sevilla Wetlands Preserve

Caledonia

This cattail and wooded wetland preserve is part of a much larger (1,000+ acres) wetland targeted by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for protection. The juxtaposition of the Christine Sevilla Wetlands Preserve’s wetlands including wet meadow, cattail wetland, and swampy woods make it an excellent habitat for dragonflies, butterflies, and other unique wildlife.

Take a stroll along the boardwalk to see what you can find hidden among the many species of grasses, ferns, and sedges lining the trail.

Yanty Creek Nature Trail
Hamlin Beach – Yanty Marsh
Hamlin Beach State Park Yanty Creek Marsh viewing platform
Hamlin Beach State Park Yanty Creek Marsh end boardwalk

7. Yanty Creek Nature Trail & Marsh

Hamlin Beach State Park

Yanty Marsh is a lake shore wetland that provides habitat for various marsh-nesting birds, amphibians and turtles. The observation platform is a great place for wildlife watching.

For a closer look, paddle into the marsh from one of the boat launches on the lake.

Helmer Nature Center boardwalk
Helmer Nature Center boardwalk
Helmer Nature Center bog
Helmer Nature Center boardwalk

8. Helmer Nature Center

Irondequoit

The paths at Helmer Nature Center, made primarily of wood chip, boardwalk, and hard-pack gravel, are easy to navigate and clearly marked.

Mendon Ponds Park Devils Bathtub boardwalk
Mendon Ponds – Devil’s Bathtub
Mendon Ponds Devils Bathtub boardwalk
Mendon Ponds devils bathtub stairs
Mendon Ponds Park Davids Nature Trail sign
Mendon Ponds – David’s Nature Trail
Mendon Ponds Park Davids Nature Trail swamp
Mendon Ponds Park Davids Nature Trail swamp

9. Mendon Ponds Park

Mendon

There are several boardwalks in the park. Pictured above are the boardwalks on the green Devil’s Bathtub Trail and in the bog at David’s Nature Trail off the yellow Birdsong Trail.

Devil’s Bathtub is one of New York’s rare meromictic lakes, similar to Green Lakes. It’s so deep, and so protected by the geologic features around it, that the layers in the water do not mix, or “turn over”.

Thomas Creek Wetlands Walk cover
Thomas Creek Boardwalk
30 Day Trips within 30 Minutes of Rochester: Erie Canal Fairport Thomas Creek Boardwalk
Thomas Creek Watlands boardwalk

10. Thomas Creek Wetland Walk

Fairport

Many folks when visiting Fairport walk along the canal path not knowing that the Thomas Creek Wetland Walk is running parallel to them. 

The Wetland Walk is actually two separate paths. One is paved yet rustic. The other is a boardwalk with a seasonal viewing platform. They both connect to each other and with the Erie Canal Trail.

Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area
Braddock Bay boardwalk
braddock bay wildlife management area
Braddock Bay Park

11. Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area

Greece

The Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area is a shallow water bay-marsh complex existing in five units along the Lake Ontario shoreline, ranging from two to six miles west of Rochester.

Meridian Centre
Meridian Centre Park
Meridian Centre Park
Meridian Centre Park

12. Meridian Centre Park

Brighton

The trails are primarily flat. Some are gravel, others wood chip, with a section of beautiful boardwalk. There are nature paths & an arboretum in the western part of the park with plantings and wooden arches making this a popular destination for bird watchers.

13. Huckleberry Swamp

North Rose

Huckleberry Swamp is a unique nature preserve and wildlife observation area. It has 79 acres of diverse, high quality wetlands for bird and wildlife habitat conservation. A wildlife observation deck and boardwalk meanders through a variety of wetland habitats including emergent marsh, Green Ash Wetland, and Red Maple Wetland. Springtime heron rookery.

14. Thousand Acre Swamp

Penfield

Thousand Acre Swamp is full of unique habitats ranging from marshy lowlands to forested upland tracts. An extensive boardwalk and trail system winds through the preserve, one of Monroe County’s largest wetland systems. Ten trails on the property show you a world of wildflowers, animals, birds and other natural wonders.

Lakeside Boardwalks

Lakeville Shoppes Olcott Beach
Olcott Beach Lakeview Village Shoppes
Olcott Lakeview Village Shoppes
Olcott Beach Lakeside VIllage Shops
Olcott Beach Carousel
Olcott Beach Carousel

15. Lakeview Village Shoppes

Olcott Beach

The shoppes are a quaint collection of gift, specialty and food shoppes on a boardwalk overlooking Lake Ontario.

And right down the street is the Olcott Beach Carousel Park (closed during the pandemic). It features a 1928 style Hershell-Spillman two row carousel, five vintage kiddie rides, and a 1931 Wurlitzer band organ.

ontario beach park boardwalk
Ontario Beach Park boardwalk
Ontario Beach Park gazebo boardwalk
Ontario Beach Park volleyball

16. Ontario Beach Park

In the City’s Charlotte neighborhood you’ll find a long walking pier extending out into the lake, the original Abbott’s Frozen Custard, the original 1905 Dentzel Carousel, restaurants with waterfront seating, a couple of beloved “greasy spoons”, bars, the Port of Rochester and marina, a boardwalk, and plenty of lot and street parking. There is a free public swimming beach.

Geneva cover
Geneva waterfront
Seneca Lake Geneva I Love NY
Geneva Visitor Center

17. Seneca Lake

Geneva

Enjoy a walk through Lakefront Park, part of which is boardwalk, by the Finger Lakes Welcome Center, and ice cream on Long Pier. Take an even longer walk along the north shore through Seneca Lake State Park to the marina.

Monroe County Parks Durand Eastman
Durand Lake
Durand Eastman Park Lakeside Trail
Lakeside Trail
Durand Eastman boardwalk lakeside trail
Lakeside Trail

18. Durand-Eastman Lakeside Trail

Irondequoit

Enjoy a walk along the 5,000 feet of Lake Ontario shoreline, and along the boardwalk leading up to Seabreeze. Or find several smaller ones around Durand and Eastman Lakes.

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Where are your favorite boardwalk trails?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!

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COVID-19 NOTE: Please follow the most current recommendations from the CDC and New York State for spending time away from your home.

The great outdoors can provide a well needed respite & escape during stressful times. Please move quickly through parking lots, trail heads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. Please day trip responsibly and locally—seek solitude!