Carolina Beach Boardwalk places third in nationwide contest

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People gather outside the boardwalk's anchor shop, Britt's Donut Shop. Port City Daily file photo.
People gather outside the boardwalk’s anchor shop, Britt’s Donut Shop. Port City Daily file photo.

The Carolina Beach Boardwalk has been named the third best boardwalk in the country for 2016, according to a reader’s poll put out by USA Today.

Readers had a month to vote in the contest, which closed Monday, on the national publication’s 10best website. They chose from a list of 20 different boardwalks, which were nominated by travel experts, and had to narrow it down to a Top 10 list. Out of all the entries, Carolina Beach garnered the third highest number of votes, behind only overall winner Santa Cruz, CA and second-place finisher Ocean City, MD.

“It’s definitely bragging rights,” said Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Greg Reynolds. “We beat Myrtle Beach, which is what we wanted, and also Navy Pier in Chicago.”

The two boardwalks mentioned by Reynolds were nominated on the list of 20, but neither made the top 10. Carolina Beach also beat out bigger attractions with higher profiles, such as the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and the Atlantic City Boardwalk, which placed fifth and tenth, respectively.

“We’re such a small area compared to the others, so it’s nice to place ahead of them,” Reynolds said, noting the Carolina Beach Boardwalk is just a couple of blocks compared to several blocks in other areas.

Reynolds said the Chamber hasn’t quite decided how they’ll incorporate the new honor into their marketing campaigns, but they do plan to use it extensively.

“We haven’t really figured it out yet,” said Reynolds. “We’ll probably smear it all over everything and get it into as many places as we can.”

According to Reynolds, the honor is a reflection of the sense of pride the town has rather than just the attractions that fill the small part of oceanfront land between Harper Avenue and Cape Fear Boulevard.

“We think it’s more about our attitude, our quality of life, our community more than anything else,” said Reynolds, who said Carolina Beach got as high as second place during the voting but wasn’t able to hold that spot. “Our boardwalk is nice, and we take pride in it, but it’s really about the people. Everyone really got behind this and helped us place well.”