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Atlantic City, New Jersey is one of the most iconic cities in America and made especially famous by the hit television show, Boardwalk Empire. As its name suggests, this is a city right along the ocean with lots of fun activities to keep both kids and adults entertained. From novelty attractions to casinos and of course, the beach, here are some of the top things to do in Atlantic City.
Hang Out at the Beach and Dunes
A great place to start your exploration of Atlantic City is right at the beach and in the sand. This is an ideal destination to simply lay a towel out on the sand to get some sun, go for a swim, or watch the tourists go by. Kayaking and windsurfing are popular at the Jackson Avenue beach, while surfers head to the Downtown Beach at Raleigh Avenue. Other surf spots are the Delaware Avenue Beach and Crystal Beach at Hampton Avenue. During the summer, beach patrol is on site each day from 10am to 6pm, so these are the safest times to go for a swim. Other fun things to do at the beach in Atlantic City are going treasure hunting with a metal detector, playing a game of beach volleyball, or building a sand castle.
Enjoy the Steel Pier
The Steel Pier is a top Atlantic City attraction and extends out from the beach into the Atlantic Ocean. Here you’ll find amusement park rides, food stands, street vendors, and lots more. Bring the kids to this fun spot or relive your own childhood with a few fun arcade games. The Slingshot, the Freedom Flyer, and the double-decker carousel are top attractions here to experience. Also, there are some great pubs here for enjoying brews and burgers with oceanfront views.
Savor the Classic Treats
Atlantic City is also known for its iconic treats that are sticky, sugary, and delicious. Make sure to stop by Vanina’s for an Atlantic City favorite: funnel cake. This delicious fried dough is coated in powdered sugar and tastes better than any other funnel cake you’ve had at a carnival. They also come with fun flavors and toppings. Another must-visit spot is Fralinger’s Salt Water Taffy, which is right on the boardwalk. This classic spot has been around since the late-1800s and serves us amazing taffy in a wide array of flavors. To also tempt your sweet tooth, Fralinger’s sells fudge, macaroons, and other tasty treats.
Walk Up and Down the Famous Boardwalk
The Atlantic City boardwalk is a historic attraction that has been part of American culture since the late 1800s, and it’s still fun to visit today. Take some time to simply go for a walk along the boardwalk here and check out the shops, restaurants, and overall vibe. There are some great places to grab cocktails or a bite to eat in this area, and it’s also an awesome people-watching spot to enjoy this touristy place. To get active in this area, you can give surfing, windsurfing, or kayaking a try. While on the boardwalk, remember to see the Entrance to the Stars, which is similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and features the handprints of famous celebrities.
See the Absecon Lighthouse
For something unique in Atlantic City, plan to visit the Absecon Lighthouse. This lighthouse dates back to 1857 and is the tallest lighthouse in the state. You can climb the 228 steps to the top of it for awesome views of the city and ocean. It’s near the boardwalk and one of the most iconic landmarks in town. Designed by George Meade, this lighthouse operated between 1857 to 1933. The National Historic Landmark no longer guides boats to shore, but it still lights up each night. At this site, you can see a replica of a lightkeeper’s dwelling place, learn about the lighthouse at the small museum, and browse the gift shop for souvenirs.
Visit Lucy the Margate Elephant
It’s also absolutely essential that you check out Lucy the Elephant when you’re in the Atlantic City area. Just outside of town, this elephant structure is one of the most photographed spots in the region, and you can actually climb inside of it! It is a historic roadside attraction that stands about 65 feet tall. The elephant was built in 1881 and has been used as a gimmick to attract beachfront property buyers, as an office, and as a bar over the years. The elephant landmark is open in the summer and guided tours are led every 30 minutes.
Try Your Luck at a Casino
Casinos are a big part of the Atlantic City culture, so it’s fun to visit a few and try your luck while you’re in town. One popular spot is the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa, which is a lavish resort with modern guest rooms, table games, and immersive experiences all around. Other top casinos in town are the Tropicana Atlantic City, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, and the Golden Nugget.
Experience the Local Aquarium
Atlantic City has a great aquarium as well that’s fun to visit with kids, on a rainy day, or just for something different. The Atlantic City Aquarium is at the Ocean Life Center complex and has over 100 types of fish and marine animals to see. There’s a shark touch tank, habitats for seahorses and eels, and much more. When you stop by, you may also be able to watch a show or daily feeding.
For something a little more out of the ordinary, why not go parasailing while you’re in Atlantic City? It’s an entirely different experience to see the city from the sky as you soar above all of these popular attractions and the ocean. A local guide company called Atlantic City Parasail has been offering local watersport opportunities since 2010.