If not the entire East Coast of the United States, Atlantic City, New Jersey, is certainly the most well-known seaside resort in the state. Atlantic City, which has been attracting tourists since its founding in the 1850s, is known for its miles of sandy beaches and a wide variety of fun activities.
Many people refer to it as “Las Vegas of the East” because of all the cabaret and revue shows that can be seen here. These frequently crowded areas feature dazzling stage shows constantly, as well as occasional special events like rock and pop concerts, boxing matches, and beauty pageants.
The Boardwalk in Atlantic City is where you’ll find the majority of the city’s best dining, shopping, and nightlife. The seafront promenade stretches for 5.5 miles, is 60 feet wide, and is a great place to take a stroll and people-watch. Since the addition of the boardwalk in 1870, the city’s population has exploded, and nowadays an annual average of 27 million people visit, spending many millions of dollars at the city’s top attractions.
Best Places to Visit in Atlantic City
The sleepy fishing village of Atlantic City was transformed into one of the most popular American seaside resorts by the end of the nineteenth century. Water sports like surfing, swimming, and sailing have drawn visitors there for decades.
Atlantic City, New Jersey is one of the best places to go in the United States for a relaxing beach vacation, and this article will tell you all about the best things to do there.
1. Have Fun on the Boardwalk and the Beach
The Boardwalk is Atlantic City’s most well-known landmark and is home to many exciting attractions. Everything of note in the city is clustered along the four-mile-long wooden stretch from 1870, most of which survived Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
It’s a great place to people-watch while enjoying a breezy sea breeze and it’s compact enough to explore on foot. The famous “rolling chairs,” large wicker chairs pushed like rickshaws, and the city’s iconic electric tram are two more exciting ways to see the boardwalk.
2. Visit the World-Famous Steel Pier and Ride the Rides
Similar to New York’s Coney Island, Atlantic City has the Steel Pier. This beautiful vintage amusement pier opened in 1898 and has been a popular tourist destination ever since. It still enjoys tremendous popularity despite a devastating fire that occurred there in 1983; the structure extends out into the Atlantic by 1,000 feet and was rebuilt from the ground up in 1993.
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Young children can enjoy the teacups and miniature trains, while older children and adults can thrill to the swing carousel and roller coasters. Rides like the Flyer, MIX, and Slingshot will excite even the most adrenaline-seeking guests.
3. Visit the Absecon Lighthouse
The 228-foot-tall Absecon Lighthouse, which stands at the northernmost tip of Atlantic City, is notable for still housing the First-Order Fresnel lens with which it was originally equipped in 1857. It is the third tallest lighthouse in the United States and the tallest in New Jersey at 171 feet.
The granite blocks, bricks, and iron lighthouse were remodeled and repainted in its original black and yellow to celebrate New Jersey’s 300th anniversary in 1964. The breathtaking panoramas of the Atlantic Ocean make the ascent worthwhile.
4. Get out to Ocean City
Ocean City, located only 11 miles south of Atlantic City, is a favorite destination for families on vacation. This Atlantic coast beach town has been dry since it was founded by ministers in 1879, and it has some of the best beaches in the region.
Ocean City’s boardwalk is just as good as its more famous sibling to the north. This one is only 2.5 miles long, but it still boasts a diverse array of stores and restaurants in a picture-perfect central business district. There are a number of theaters and amusement parks to visit.
5. Get on board the Margate Elephant, Lucy
Lucy, a 65-foot, 6-story-high wood and tin elephant, was constructed in the tiny coastal town of Margate in 1881 to promote the sale of seasonal homes. Since then, Lucy has been a tavern, a summer home, and an observation deck.
After being rescued from near demise in the 1960s, today Lucy stands proud in Josephine Harron Park and has been listed on the National Park Registry of Historical Landmarks. Highlights of a visit to the oldest surviving novelty architecture in the US include climbing the spiral staircase up to the “howdah,” the small cabin-like structure on her back, with its wonderful panoramic views. Fun guided tours are available.
6. The Boardwalk in Memory of Jim Whelan
Check out the lineup for the legendary Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall’s upcoming concerts if you’re planning a trip to Atlantic City. It opened in 1929 and has since remained the city’s premier concert and event venue, becoming especially well-known as the site of the Miss America pageant.
The world’s largest pipe organ can be found in this historic building; it features 33,000 pipes, eight chambers, and 1,000 stop keys. Every weekday at noon, there will be a free concert featuring this newly refurbished organ.
7. Bring the Kids to the Aquarium in Atlantic City
You can learn about marine life from all over the world and have a great time doing it at the Atlantic City Aquarium. Sea bass, sand tiger sharks, northern stingrays, and predatory fish are just a few of the notable marine animals found off the coast of New Jersey.
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The many species of reptiles and amphibians on display, as well as the tropical shark and stingray touch tanks, are big hits with younger visitors. There are two daily shows featuring the aquarium’s exotic animals, during which visitors can learn about the animals’ diets, habitats, and more.
8. Atlantic City Historical Museum to Dig into the City
The Atlantic City Historical Museum, housed in the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, tells the story of the city’s evolution from a sleepy fishing village to one of the busiest resort destinations in the United States.
Various items of Miss America memorabilia and historical artifacts are on display. Other highlights include vintage clips of the Miss America Pageant and the high-diving horse of Steel Pier, as well as beach scenes shot by Thomas Edison.
9. Visit the Atlantic City War Memorials to pay your respects
Even though it’s known as a party town, Atlantic City actually has two very moving war memorials. The oldest memorial honors those who died in World War I, which lasted from 1914 to 1918, and was constructed in 1922. It has a rotunda with a nine-foot bronze statue of Liberty in Distress.
The New Jersey Korean War Veterans Memorial is another significant structure in the state. It was built as a memorial to the South Korean soldiers who gave their lives defending democracy on the Korean peninsula between 1950 and 1953. Their sacrifice ensured a brighter future for the people of South Korea.
10. The Museum of Southern New Jersey’s African American Heritage
There is no better place to learn about the history of African Americans’ fight for freedom than at the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey. More than 11,000 artifacts from different cultures and time periods are on display.
The museum also features an extensive collection of artifacts from Atlantic County soldiers who served in conflicts from World War I right up to the present day. One of the permanent exhibits explores the detrimental effects of media and marketing stereotypes on African Americans.
Atlantic City, New Jersey has a ton of attractions that are sure to keep tourists entertained and eager to return. Everything from world-famous casinos to beautiful beaches that glow as the sun rises over the Atlantic makes Atlantic City a must-visit destination.