Here are two things tour groups need to pack for a trip to Atlantic City: good walking shoes and multivitamins. New Jersey’s top tourist destination keeps people on the go, and not all the action is at its nine glittering casino resorts.
Of course, each of those mammoth properties has plenty of entertainment, much of it free. Window shopping — or shopping for real — at fanciful shops. Live music, often by local talents, in lobby bars. Elaborate, deeply landscaped pools for tranquil gatherings.
The resorts also bring in high-powered acts and shows well-worth the required ticket. Diana Ross has played at the Hard Rock. The Fifth Dimension have performed at Resorts. Gladys Knight took the stage at the Borgata. Laughter always pours from the Atlantic City Comedy Club at the Claridge Hotel, which doesn’t have a casino.
Five miles of fun on the boardwalk
Step out of the resorts and find five miles of fun — restaurants, bars, live music, shops
— on the city’s famed wooden boardwalk. The Wheel, at 227-foot-tall is easy to spot at The Steel Pier, which juts out from the boardwalk to the sea. Six people fit in each of the 40 climate-controlled gondolas. At night, The Wheel and its 14,500 lights put on a show. Amusement park rides on the pier entertain kids and adults. Who can resist a turn on carousel horses, a rough ride in bumper cars or a dizzying spin in giant teacups?
Down the way, the 13,000-seat arena at the historic Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, once home to the Miss American Pageant, brings in Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga and other legends as well as events like the Atlantic City Comedy Festival.
Outdoors rocks spring to fall
From May through October, Atlantic City is busiest, with outdoor activities on the beach, bay and beyond. Fireworks sponsored by the Tropicana launch from the beachfront each Saturday evening during the summer. Thirty area golf courses, including the Atlantic City Country Club, host to six USGA championships, attract golfers. Surfing lessons, beachfront yoga, parasailing, deep-sea and calm-water fishing and sunset cruises and dolphin boat tours get people out on the beach and bay. Groups of 25 or fewer can book the Atlantic City Tiki Boat for a private cruise around the bay with drinks served from its bar.
And Atlantic City is always adding new adventures. On June 30, Spiegelworld, a live entertainment company with shows that combine adult comedy, acrobatics and music, opened a new production called The Hook in the resurrected Warner Theatre at Caesars. Groups can have dinner on-site at Superfrico before or after the show, which is staged every day. On July 4, the largest beachfront waterpark in the world opened at the Showboat Hotel with a dozen slides, a lazy river and a surf simulator as well as an adults-only enclave with a swim-up bar, cabanas and manicure stations. It’s just one more item to add to a nonstop itinerary in Atlantic City.