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 fabulous beach boardwalks in Atlantic City, Wildwood, Ocean City, Myrtle Beach, Coney Island, and Virginia Beach. Featuring shops, bars, casinos, and entertainment, ocean-side boardwalks 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 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

Beautiful Boardwalks - Tinker Park Nature Center
Tinker Park
Tinker Park boardwalk

1. Tinker Nature Park


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

Beautiful Boardwalks - Channing H Philbrick Linear Park
Channing Philbrick Park
Channing H Philbrick Park PKA Linear Park

2. Channing H. Philbrick Park


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

Beautiful Boardwalks - Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge autumn boardwalk
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

3. Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge


At 10,828 acres, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is the largest wildlife refuge in New York State, not including the surrounding Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas. Together, the Alabama Swaps amass a 19,000-acre complex designated for wildlife.

Located on Knowlesville Road, the 1.3-mile Swallow Hollow Nature loop trail offers ramps, gravel pathways, and boardwalks, making it accessible for all to enjoy this unique ecosystem.

Beautiful Boardwalks - Sandy Bottom Nature Trail boardwalk
Sandy Bottom Park Nature Trail boardwalk no rails
Sandy Bottom Park Nature Trail boardwalk Honeoye Creek

4. Sandy Bottom Park & Nature Trails


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

Note: As of April 2022, there are reports that the boardwalk is under construction and may not be accessible this year.

Beautiful Boardwalks - Turning Point
Turning Point Park
Turning Point Park

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 Genesee Riverway Trail.

Beautiful Boardwalks - christine sevilla
Christine Sevilla Wetlands Reserve sunfilled boardwalk
Christine Sevilla boardwalk

6. Christine Sevilla Wetlands Preserve


This cattail and wooded wetland preserve is part of a much larger (1,000+ acres) wetland targeted by the 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.

Beautiful Boardwalks - Yanty Creek Nature Trail
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 lakeshore wetland that provides a habitat for various marsh-nesting birds, amphibians, and turtles. An observation platform is an excellent place for wildlife watching.

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

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

8. Helmer Nature Center


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

Beautiful Boardwalks - Mendon Ponds Park Devils Bathtub
Mendon Ponds Devils Bathtub boardwalk
Mendon Ponds devils bathtub stairs
Beautiful Boardwalks - Mendon Ponds Park Davids Nature Trail sign
Mendon Ponds Park Davids Nature Trail swamp
Mendon Ponds Park Davids Nature Trail swamp

9. Mendon Ponds Park


There are several boardwalks in the park. The boardwalks along the green Devil’s Bathtub Trail and through the bog at David’s Nature Trail off of the yellow Birdsong Trail are shown above.

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.”

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

10. Thomas Creek Wetland Walk


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

Thomas Creek Wetland Walk is two separate paths—one is gravel, the other boardwalk with a seasonal viewing platform. They both connect with the Erie Canal Trail.

Beautiful Boardwalks - Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area
braddock bay wildlife management area
Braddock Bay Park

11. Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area


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.

Beautiful Boardwalks - Meridian Centre
Meridian Centre Park
Meridian Centre Park

12. Meridian Centre Park


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 various wetland habitats, including emergent marsh, Green Ash Wetland, and Red Maple Wetland. Springtime heron rookery.

14. Thousand Acre Swamp


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

Beautiful Boardwalks - Lakeville Shoppes Olcott Beach
Olcott Lakeview Village Shoppes
Olcott Beach Lakeside VIllage Shops
Olcott Beach Carousel
Olcott Beach Carousel

15. Lakeview Village Shoppes

Olcott Beach

The stores are a quaint collection of gift, specialty, and food shops 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.

Beautiful Boardwalks - ontario beach park
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.

Beautiful Boardwalks - Geneva Seneca Lake
Seneca Lake Geneva I Love NY
Geneva Visitor Center
Geneva Seneca Lake boardwalk

17. Seneca Lake


Enjoy a walk through Lakefront Park, part of which is a 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.

Beautiful Boardwalks - Monroe County Parks Durand Eastman
Durand Eastman Park Lakeside Trail
Lakeside Trail
Durand Eastman boardwalk lakeside trail
Lakeside Trail

18. Durand-Eastman Lakeside Trail


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

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Where are your favorite boardwalk trails?

Please share your thoughts and stories with us in the comments. Your insight and experience are invaluable!

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Author Debi Bower is the Founder and Chief Day Tripper for Day Trips Around Rochester, NY. Happy trails!


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