ATLANTIC CITY — Atlantic City, birthplace of the world-famous Boardwalk and inspiration for the board game Monopoly, and where salt water taffy got its start, is no stranger to reinvention.
For decades, this seaside New Jersey city has continually revitalized itself, giving us plenty of reason to stay and play. And happily for the destination, 2022 is shaping up to be one for the books.
Following the recent end to the U.S.’s pre-arrival COVID-19 testing requirements for inbound fully vaccinated travellers, the summer is quickly shaping up to become an incredibly enticing and more accessible time to visit destinations like Atlantic City, for all those who put their delayed U.S. summer-bound fly and road tripping vacations on hold during the pandemic.
As travel ramps up, the vacation options become endless. Here are a few fun facts and activity must-dos that will help inspire and perhaps tickle your fancy when considering an east coast getaway.
With so much to see and do, it’s just about guaranteed that Atlantic City will have something for everyone to enjoy on their list and the opportunity to create some unique, memorable experiences.
THE BOARDWALK & BEYOND
The Instagrammable boardwalk, built in 1870, is the backbone of the seaside city and covers over an 8-kilometre stretch hugging the Atlantic Ocean with expansive soft, white sandy beaches, perfect for those seeking beach downtime.
Moreover, the boardwalk is also chock full of nostalgic finds, such as the White House Sub Shop, founded in 1946, famous for its true Jersey submarine sandwiches. And on the sweeter side, Fralinger’s, where you can sample the ultimate best salt water taffy – or who can resist the whiff of a hot funnel cake? It’s a boardwalk staple while strolling and people-watching along the way. For travellers, these small, sometimes quirky eateries and one-of-a-kind shops are part of the experience and are fun to explore.
Another item to add to the list is a ride on the famous Boardwalk tram offering all-day hop-on and off access passes. Or, for the more active-minded, a bicycle rental where you can experience the Boardwalk at your own speed.
The landmark entertainment area, the Steel Pier Amusement Park, is just steps from the casino resorts and beautiful miles of beach. This compact park offers a variety of rides for all ages, games, and even a helicopter tour. However, the iconic Ferris wheel, hands-down, is the old-time favourite. Open year round, you can catch top-notch views of the beaches during the day and city lights at night while sitting in the comfort of a climate-controlled gondola.
The east coast shorelines are brimming with their renowned lighthouses, and Atlantic City is no exception. Located at the city’s north end is one the oldest and tallest, the Absecon Lighthouse, built in 1856. While it’s a fun visit for history buffs, you can also claim bragging rights by ascending the 228 steps to the watch tower to take in breathtaking views of the A.C. skyline. You won’t be disappointed.
The city’s marinas and back bay area are just a short drive away from the boardwalk. The site is perfect for unwinding and enjoying a meal al fresco or hopping on one of Atlantic City Cruises’ excursions for an unforgettable boat cruise. There’s a boat cruise for everyone, ranging from morning skyline vistas to sunsets to getting up close and personal with a group of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins on a dolphin-watch sailing. And don’t forget to bring your camera – you may even get lucky enough to spot a breaching whale.
Beyond the Boardwalk, the Atlantic City region offers a nonstop, exciting lineup of entertainment, from concerts to sporting events. And for those who love shopping, Tanger Outlets is within walking distance, with 109 stores spanning a three-block area.
NEW HOTELS & REFURBISHMENTS
As we seek to leave pandemic-related fears and restrictions in the rearview mirror, Atlantic City looks to maintain its status as a gaming and entertainment heavyweight through hotel room makeovers, casino floor redesigns and creative food and beverage options.
Although the better part of a two-year pandemic lull prompted a construction slowdown, we can look forward to 2022 as a game-changer for the destination, with exciting multi-renovation projects underway.
Ocean Resort and Casino Hotel – This month Ocean Resort and Casino Hotel is unveiling a US$72 million update, including 460 new rooms and suites. Previously known as Revel, the property changed hands in 2021 and has further plans for renovation upgrades.
Bally’s Hotel & Casino – This resort completed a multi-million dollar renovation of 750 tower rooms this year. Updates include new carpets and beds, plus some bathrooms now offer tubs with ocean views. There’s also a new restaurant called The Yard, an indoor/outdoor beer hall featuring excellent food and live music. https://www.ballys.com/atlantic-city/
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Formerly the Trump Taj Mahal, this 17-acre Boardwalk property enjoys a prime location. Last year brought a $20 million makeover project that included suite renovations. The hotel now boasts 20+ food and beverage offerings, including the favoured Council Oak Steaks & Seafood.
Main gateway airports include Atlantic City Airport and Philadelphia International Airport (A.C. is a 60 – 90 minute drive from PHL).
For more information, visit atlanticcitynj.com.