A beachside Las Vegas, Atlantic City has long been famous for the four-mile boardwalk that hugs the coast and the casinos that are dotted throughout. Found in the state of New Jersey in the northeast of the United States, it became one of the first tourist hotspots in the United States when the boardwalk opened in June 1870.
After gambling was legalised in the 1970s, it soon added casinos to the hospitality and tourism draw to become a popular destination for travellers from inside and outside the country. Get a glimpse of how big – quite literally – it has grown by going up Absecon Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey, for a wonderful view out across the city.
The east coast Sin City, it has elegant hotels, extravagant shopping and a beautiful beach to enjoy. Often used as a weekend break for New Yorkers and added onto a trip to the United States for a few days when visiting the country, it is a grand, unique spot to enjoy. Don’t forget to try some saltwater taffy – it is part of the history of Atlantic City and has been a specialty here for more than a century!
Prohibition is over but it is the iconic boardwalk that keeps Atlantic City in the minds of people across the globe. The hit television series is centred around the city and how it worked in the 20s, and the first thing you should do is hit the boardwalk. So named because of Alexander Boardman who came up with the idea – to cut down on the amount of sand that made its way into hotel lobbies – it is the heart of the city. The place where you can find great shopping, action-packed piers and a plethora of gambling options, it’s no wonder that the original Monopoly was inspired by Atlantic City.
Just off the boardwalk is the historic Steel Pier. Once famed for its ballroom and attracting bands like the Beatles and the Rat Pack, a fire decimated it in the 70s. Now it is an amusement park where The Mix is the main attraction as it sends you out over the Atlantic Ocean. Developers are planning to bring a wax museum, ballroom and a London Eye type wheel to the area in the near future.
One of, if not the, biggest draw to Atlantic City is the casinos. The place to go for high-stakes poker, there are 12 themed casinos throughout the city that go from the Wild West style to black tie.
You don’t have to spend all day inside Atlantic City’s attractions and the wide soft sandy beach is a tempting option in the afternoons. In the summer it is lovely and warm with a nice ocean breeze, the surf is quite enticing too so be sure to give yourself time to enjoy this part of the city.
Looking for an adrenaline rush? Get out on the water for some sport and try your hand at parasailing or surfing. Alternatively get out fishing or head out on a dolphin/whale watching tour.
Aside from the beach, there are other outdoor activities to get you active on your trip to Atlantic City. Bike rental is available as you explore, the County Parks at Weymouth and Lake Lenape are beautiful, the Bass River State Forest offers hiking and camping while the Cape May national wildlife refuge is one of the top ten North American hot spots for bird watching.
Also, there are an array of wonderful golf courses and academies to practice your drive, wineries to have a taste of the local tipple, sight-seeing flights and the New Jersey motorsports park all on your doorstep as you enjoy an action packed stay.
Just an hour from Philadelphia and two hours from New York, it’s easy to see how Atlantic City, on the United States’ east coast became such a popular tourist destination. Initially it was fellow Americans who headed over to enjoy the sandy beaches but when gambling took over then the lavish hotels attracted visitors from far and wide.
Whether you are rolling at the top table or taking a stroll down the iconic boardwalk, there is plenty to enjoy in the city. Whilst it is on a similar level to Las Vegas, it brings in more than plucky punters with activities for all ages and a popular destination for families.
An excellent destination for families in particular, Atlantic City features a large, sandy beach, while a number of leading shopping centres and restaurants ensures there is something to entertain visitors of all ages.
Things to do in Atlantic City
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Make sure that you get a nice mix of style and functionality for your trip to Atlantic City. Heading to the New Jersey coastline will be an unforgettable experience but you need to be comfortable.
The majority of travellers head here in the summer and at this time, while it is cooler than inland thanks to a sea breeze, you will need easy to wear shorts, t-shirts and comfortable shoes – or flip flops – for the daytime. These dress down clothes will serve you well during the day when gambling, eating or getting down the boardwalk to the beach.
In the evening, things get quite a bit dressier. You will want smart casual clothing for restaurants, shows and clubs with smart shoes and a light sweater because it does cool off in the evenings.
All toiletries and medical supplies are readily available in the city but always be sure to pack anything you can’t do without and bring sunscreen for the summer. In the winter it is cold so a warm jacket, hat and gloves are all needed.
There are some good nature areas and great architecture in the area so a camera is useful for getting a few snaps.
Atlantic City enjoys warm summers with cool winters and no dry season. It is classed as having a humid subtropical climate.
The sea breeze that you enjoy in the city leads to temperatures not reaching the highs that they would do inland during the summer. An average July day will see the temperature average at just over 24ºC but you can get highs up to 30ºC during the summer months of June through September. This makes Atlantic City nice and warm but not sweltering like nearby locations.
In the winter, the temperature drops off and January averages just 2ºC as you hit the season between November and March. Rain is fairly common throughout the year but snow is more rare than in the rest of the state of New Jersey. Spring and autumn can be erratic but they are generally mild and the best time to do a lot of walking.
Check out our Blog to see some of the amazing experiences Atlantic City has to offer
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