When I was a child spending summers in Powers Lake, Wisconsin, piers were simple wooden structures. Piers were boat docks; the standard starting point for a day of water skiing. They were the place you could find kids fishing for the family’s evening meal. Piers were the jumping off point for an afternoon spent swimming and splashing at the lake.
Amusement Piers are another story! The earliest evidence of Pleasure Piers dates back to the early 1800’s, in England. According to Wikipedia: “Pleasure piers were first built in England, during the 19th century. The earliest structures were Ryde Pier, built in 1813/4, Leith Trinity Chain Pier, built in 1821, and Brighton Chain Pier, built in 1823. Only the oldest of these piers still remains.”
Post Card of Chelsea Piers, circa 1910 (author: Americasroof, from Wikimedia Commons)
Head for a seaside pier today, and you’ll be able to enjoy everything from maritime museums to ice skating. Of course, good old-fashioned strolling and shore breezes are still available.
In an article by Steve Millburg of Coastal Living Magazine, somehow the author was able to pick the “Top 10 Piers”. All of the top 10 “piers” on this list are located within the USA, and all of them are on the ocean. Here’s a rundown of just a few of his choices.
If you’re in New York City, you can go bowling, play basketball or hit golf balls at Chelsea Piers on Manhattan’s Lower West Side. Chelsea Piers, originally a luxury liner passenger terminal, is actually a four-pier sports and recreation complex that even includes spa services. (In all my life, I’ve never heard a single soul say: “Let’s head to the pier for facials today”!)
Chelsea Piers, 2006, New York City (Photo by Marcel René Kalt, from Wikimedia Commons)
Crystal Pier, in Pacific Beach (San Diego) California, is actually a hotel! This really is a beautiful place! Twenty nine blue and white cottages are perched past the pier’s gated entrance. The Crystal Pier Hotel recommends 8 – 11 months notice for summertime reservations. This Top 10 Pier is open during the daylight hours to those not fortunate enough to have made their reservations far enough in advance.
Crystal Pier at Sunset, Pacific Beach, California (Photo by Phuoc Le, from Wikipedia)
At The Pier, in St. Petersburg, Florida, you’ll find dining, shopping, special events, and live entertainment all week long. Of course, pelican watching is still an everyday choice.
The Pier, St. Petersburg, Florida (Photo by Texx Smith, Wikmedia Commons)
Rounding out the “Top 10 Piers” are Morey’s Piers (Wildwood, New Jersey), Ocean City Pier (Ocean City, Maryland), Cocoa Beach Pier (Cocoa Beach, Florida), Santa Monica Pier (Santa Monica, California), Santa Cruz Wharf (Santa Cruz, California), Pier 7 (San Francisco, California), and Bell Street Pier (Seattle, Washington).
Now, where can I just set a spell and dangle my feet in the water? -J-
Click here for more on all of the “Top 10 Piers” and links to their websites.
Feel free to leave us a comment & let us know what your favorite US pier is! I’m casting my vote for Navy Pier (Chicago, Illinois)! Please remember to share us with your friends and “Like” us on Facebook. Thank you!