Originally the inspiration for the ever-popular board game Monopoly, Atlantic City, New Jersey offers much more than the 2-D cardboard version could ever do justice. Sometimes referred to as the East Coast Las Vegas, this top beach resort presents Atlantic City hotel deals that will place you in the heart of all the action; the beach, boardwalk, and casinos.
The hotels in Atlantic City, NJ sitting along the nation’s first boardwalk place vacationers just steps away from the various piers, such as the Garden Pier celebrating the Atlantic City Historical Society and Arts Center, The Pier Shops at Caesars offering shopping galore, and the Steel Pier featuring amusement rides and games. The best hotel in Atlantic City offers vacationers accommodations near these piers with ocean views and beach access. Many of these resorts also feature spas, restaurants, and even casinos.
And to keep on par with its west coast counterpart, many Atlantic City hotels present concerts and performances inside the resorts as well. Splash around in the ocean waves all day and then spend the evening playing poker and watching live entertainment at the alluring hotels in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Travelers booking flights to Atlantic City on Expedia conveniently land in the city’s very own airport, Atlantic City International Airport. The terminal is a short 20-minute ride away from all the boardwalk action. At this airport, travelers can book shuttles, taxis, or rental cars to transport them to their hotels near the airport or their hotels on the beach.
The NJ transit is another form of transportation, which offers train service to Atlantic City goers traveling from other areas in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Greyhound also provides direct rides from major cities such as New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.
Additionally, it’s simple to arrive in Atlantic City by car, as major highways in the north, south, and west connect to the Atlantic City Expressway. From Philadelphia, Atlantic City is only around a one-hour drive, while it takes around 2 hours in the car from New York City, and three hours from Washington, DC, depending on traffic.
Because the boardwalk is the hub for many of the best attractions in Atlantic City, most often vacationers simply walk the 4-mile stretch to get around. The sand and surf, hotels, casinos, and shops are all within walking distance of one another. However, some visitors prefer to take a back seat in the famous boardwalk rolling chairs. For a fee, an operator will push guests along the boardwalk in one of these Atlantic City staples. Additionally, the boardwalk features bike rentals for faster boardwalk transportation.
Other means of transportation in Atlantic City include taxis and the popular Jitney service. The Jitney shuttle service provides affordable access to the train stations, airport, convention center, and casinos at all hours. There are several different Jitney shuttle lines though, so check the schedule and routes before boarding.
Things to Do
A stroll along the country’s first boardwalk is a can’t-miss activity while vacationing in this seaside resort. Built in 1870, the boardwalk features Atlantic City hotels, restaurants, and casinos, along with a number of piers, including the ever-popular Steel Pier. For an experience reminiscent of Coney Island in its heyday, treat your whole family to a day of laughs and thrills at Steel Pier. The pier presents more than 25 theme park rides, an amusement arcade, and fair food, while catering to all ages with rides such as Beach Buggies for the little ones and the Slingshot for the more adventurous.
The Absecon Lighthouse is another alluring attraction every Atlantic City vacationer won’t want to miss. Climb to the top of New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse and count all 228 steps along the way. Towering high above the beach town, this lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in the country dating back to 1857. Book tickets to ascend to the tippy top of the black and white structure for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean shoreline and city skyline. With admission, guests also receive access to the Keeper’s House Museum and the Fresnel Lens Exhibit for an educational Atlantic City vacation.
Don’t limit trying out your luck responsibly at the casinos on the boardwalk and around the lighthouse, head to the waters and test your hand at fishing on your Atlantic City vacation. Countless fishing charters offer deep sea fishing tours off the coast. These tours provide vacationers with the excitement of catching their first striped bass, along with a riveting ride in the Atlantic Ocean with views of the New Jersey coastline. Whether you’re a seasoned angler looking to wrangle dinner or a first-time fisherman eagerly awaiting your first bite, deep sea fishing is a fantastic thing to do while vacationing in America’s Favorite Playground.
To round out an unforgettable trip to Atlantic City, indulge in some salt water taffy in the city where it all started. As the story goes, a storm in 1883 flooded David Bradley’s candy store in Atlantic City, soaking his confection with saltwater from the Atlantic Ocean, including his taffy supply. As a joke, a customer tasted the saltwater-infused taffy and the accidental recipe became an instant hit. While walking along the boardwalk, stop in any of the candy shops and spoil yourself to the taffy treat.
Arts & Entertainment
Atlantic City isn’t just casinos and hotels on the beach; in fact, the coastal city features several museums celebrating the city’s art and culture. The boardwalk community is the only one in the nation claiming a museum on a municipal pier in the Atlantic Ocean. This art museum, the Atlantic City Art Center, is located on the Garden Pier, where visitors can view both regional and national artwork. The Atlantic City Historical Museum, which is dedicated to the heritage of the city, is also located on the Garden Pier; however as of fall 2013, the museum is temporarily closed to storm destruction. The city hopes to reopen the museum after reconstruction.
Atlantic City also welcomes touring shows, concerts, and comedy acts at a number of the city’s hotels and casinos. Some of the top venues in Atlantic City include the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall, House of Blues, and Revel. Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall, which can accommodate nearly 15,000 guests, has presented some of the world’s most famous performers, from Jimmy Buffet and Bruce Springsteen to The Who, Madonna, and The Rolling Stones.
The combination of the first hotels built in Atlantic City in the 1850s and the completion of the Camden and Atlantic Railroad created major tourist interest in this growing seaside resort. The first boardwalk soon followed in 1870, as it was built as a solution to the annoyances of sand tracked into the hotel lobbies along the shore. This beach resort continued to gain popularity and turned into a hot spot for entertainers to perform and for tourists to indulge in the relaxed Prohibition laws during the 1920s and 1930s. Crowds of tourists also flocked to the famous Diving Horse at the Steel Pier act, in which horses and their trainers would leap 60 feet in the air from the pier into a pool of water!
Unfortunately, Myrtle Beach had to hold its horses on entertainment, as World War II affected the coastal city, declining the economy and temporarily deterring vacationers from visiting the once popular seaside playground. However, the passing of the Casino Gambling Referendum in 1976 sparked resurgence in Atlantic City, boosting both business and tourist interest in the beach town. While the addition of casinos certainly helped with the city’s popularity in the recent years, Atlantic City further revived its title as “The World’s Playground,” with its countless appealing attractions, entertainment, and even 4-star hotels.
Atlantic City isn’t exactly a haven for sports teams. In fact, the seaside community does not host any professional teams of its own. While there aren’t any sports teams to root for or watch on T.V., there is a vast range of sports vacationers can take part in during a trip to the New Jersey resort. For runners, Atlantic City presents the Atlantic City Marathon and Half Marathon, Shore Medical Center 5K and 10K, along with the REVEL April Fools Half Marathon each year. Challenge yourself to one of these runs and then kick back, relax, and reward yourself with a stay at one of the many inviting three-star hotels and four-star hotels with views of the Atlantic Ocean.
If a leisurely bike ride along the boardwalk is more your sports style, Atlantic City offers a variety of bike rental shops. Other sports activities include fishing, diving, kayaking, and boating. The beach resort also offers surf lessons for vacationers in the mood for learning how to hang ten, while it also presents parasailing trips for those brave enough to take to the skies.
A day spent lounging on the beach and floating through lazy rivers calls for a night out on the town in Atlantic City. Though this city shares the same coastline and state as the infamous Seaside Heights, where the MTV hits series “Jersey Shore” took place, you probably won’t see Snooki and the gang partying here. But just because Atlantic City doesn’t have a TV show dedicated to it, doesn’t mean it’s not a hot nightlife spot.
On the contrary, Atlantic City features live music venues, beach bars, and karaoke lounges for an unforgettable night. If VIP treatment and bottle service strike your fancy, the coastal resort presents plenty of spots to treat you like royalty. Bring your trunks and bikinis for the after-hour pool parties or indulge in a risqué burlesque show. Meanwhile, if the kids are in tow, Atlantic City features concerts and family shows at Boardwalk Hall, while visitors can also book hotels near the Atlantic City Convention Center for further evening entertainment.
When your hunger hits in Atlantic City, your taste buds are in for a treat. Indulge in authentic Spanish tapas in the company of dancing flamenco dancers, invite the kids along for some traditional family-style Italian cooking, or crack open some fresh clams with an ocean view. From all-you-can-eat buffets to around-the-clock diners, this beach community cooks up a little something for every appetite.
For a bona fide Atlantic City dining experience, grab some boardwalk grub, such as the famous hot dogs and pretzels, and find a good view of the water. For a slightly more elegant meal, dine at the various upscale steakhouses for tender carne or the gourmet restaurants for the finest delicacies. But what if you’re having trouble deciding between Cuban or Mexican food? Seafood or BBQ? Don’t stress about making choices, have it all and more at any one of the countless buffets scattered around Atlantic City.
When it comes to shopping, Atlantic City has it all, from brand-name discount outlets and souvenir shops to high-end boutiques. Sometimes referred to as one of the best shopping spots on the East Coast, Atlantic City features tax-free clothing and shoes, along with the hottest deals for affordable shopping sprees within your vacation budget. Stop by the Tanger Outlets, the Pier Shops at Caesars, and the Quarter at Tropicana to fulfill your shopping quests.
The Tanger Outlets are the place for bargain hunters to find exclusive special offers on designer goods and brand names, meanwhile the Pier Shops at Caesars provide luxury seaside shopping on the pier. The Pier Shops feature world-class shopping with views of the Atlantic Ocean; the perfect setting for shopaholic beach goers. And for those compulsive shoppers looking for additional window shopping and shop browsing, the Quarter in Tropicana Casino and Resort presents more than 30 chic indoor shops with the latest trends and designer collections. What’s more, many of the Atlantic City boutique hotels are conveniently located near these malls, so vacationers don’t need to venture far to shop till they drop.
Pet Friendly Travel Basics
For those vacationers looking to book a getaway with man’s best friend, fortunately there are various pet friendly hotels in Atlantic City where you can have a slumber party with your fur ball in New Jersey. As exciting as it is to bring your pup along on your trip, do keep in mind dogs are prohibited from the shore and boardwalk in Atlantic City. Though Fido cannot frolic on the beach, there are other areas where he roam in Atlantic City, such as the Historic Gardner’s Basin and the nearby Ocean City Dog Park of Cape May County, which permits him to run leash free.
Before you plan on spending your entire vacation barbecuing on the beach and skateboarding on the boardwalk, first familiarize yourself with some of Atlantic City’s beach and boardwalk regulations. For one, visitors are only permitted to use charcoal grills on the beach during Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day, and alcohol is prohibited at all times. Meanwhile skateboarding and roller skating is not allowed on the boardwalk, but vacationers can ride their bicycles along the stretch between 6:30 am and 10:00 am. While there may be several laws in place to keep visitors safe, there are plenty of activities and destinations to keep everyone entertained during their stay at Atlantic City hotels.
Personalities & Culture
Though the Miss America Pageant temporarily relocated to Las Vegas, the competition has long been associated with Atlantic City. The New Jersey coastal town hosted the first pageant back in 1921 as an attempt to encourage tourists to stick around on the boardwalk and at the Atlantic City hotels past Labor Day. The ploy succeeded as the pageant continued to evolve over the years and has since become a staple in Atlantic City. This famous pageant is a big aspect of the Atlantic City culture as it continues to take place in the city to this day.
Atlantic City is also known for its focus on casinos, which very much contributes to the nature and culture of this tourist town. However, just because it seems as though there’s a black jack table and slot machine in every Atlantic City hotel lobby, it doesn’t mean tourists must engage in gambling. Atlantic City is a vivacious spot offering plenty of activities to do aside from throwing dice and pulling slots. For those vacationers set on testing their luck in this gambling culture, remember to play responsibility!
Weather & Climate
While Atlantic City may be a coastal resort spot, it doesn’t boast year-round beach weather. For the warmest temperatures, book reservations at Atlantic City hotels anytime between mid-May and early September. This time of the year is usually the busiest, as it provides the ideal weather for spending time on the beach and swimming in the ocean. Even in the summer, the evenings tend to cool down though, so pack a sweater to remain comfortable after the sun sets.
If you decide to visit Atlantic City during the off season, expect wind and much cooler temperatures. Some of the attractions and restaurants may close during the winter months, but the hotels and casinos stay open. During the holiday season, though the weather may be bleak, visitors flock to this destination to spend their days off away from home. Take advantage of the indoor attractions during these winter months, and save the outdoor activities for the spring and summer seasons. However, a trip to this East Coast Las Vegas counterpart is never a gamble, as there’s always excitement and entertainment available regardless of the season.
Need some more ideas for your next trip here? Our Expedia Viewfinder bloggers have recommendations for your next visit. See some of their latest blog posts below about what to eat, where to drink, what to see, and what to do.