With relaxed COVID-19 restrictions allowing the reopening of casinos, restaurants, and tourist hot spots, Atlantic City may be the perfect place to set your sights for a weekend getaway. The resort city boasts nine major casinos making it the “Gaming Capital of the East”, but there’s more than just sports betting and casino games to be found here on the Jersey shore.
Whether you’re traveling alone, with a companion, or with the whole family, there is plenty to entertain in the over 160-year-old city. Take a stroll on the historic Boardwalk, enjoy the shops and services at the Borgata, or grab a bite to eat at one of the many local hidden gems!
Something New, Something Old
While some of Atlantic City’s attractions and resorts are new fixtures, the coastal city has always been a resort town. At its incorporation in 1854, there was already a popular resort operating in the city! So it’s no wonder that AC continues to draw millions of people every year for the total resort experience.
One of the newest resort casinos on the scene is the Borgata, a Tuscan-themed hotel, casino, and spa. The main tower of the Borgata stands at 431 feet tall and is attached to The Water Club, a $400 million hotel and boutique with five pools and a two-story spa. For those who aren’t keen on gambling, the Borgata is still quite the visit because of the spas which have become their own destination over the years.
Down by the Boardwalk
The Tropicana has a great spot right off the beach, making it the largest resort casino on the Boardwalk and a choice place to stay in the summer. Formerly the famously historic Ambassador Hotel and then The Phoenix, Tropicana has seen some renovations over the years but now has an Old Havana style. There’s plenty of distractions aside from the slots and live table games in the casino, like the IMAX theater, tons of restaurants, and nightlife entertainment that all converge in the Quarter area.
Beaches, the Boardwalk, and Bars
Even in the “off” season, which in AC is usually sometime after September, the Boardwalk is a fantastic place to go and experience the real charm Atlantic City has to offer. That fun, carnival feel might be a little corny, but it’s a glimmer of the heart of AC. This is a city that has been a playground for the rich and influential, surviving booms, busts, and severe economic inequality. Still, foundations like the Boardwalk remain, first opening in 1870 as a temporary attraction.
The Steel Pier amusement park extends off the Boardwalk with a Ferris wheel, slingshot ride, and helicopter tours where you can get a much better view of the shoreline. Ripley’s Believe it or Not, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and the Tanger Outlet shopping center can all be found along the walk, as well as beach bars, restaurants, and sweet-shops. Some of the best advice you’d never expect for a day at the Boardwalk: don’t underestimate the seagulls! Tourists are nothing new to them, and they won’t be shy about swooping in for an unguarded fry.
Not far from the Boardwalk is another slice of AC history, the Absecon lighthouse. First lit in 1857, it is one of the oldest lighthouses in the country and still has its original first-order Fresnel lens. Although the lighthouse isn’t active anymore, visitors can see a recreation of the keeper’s quarters, the watch room, and a museum on the grounds. Bring enough for a small donation and lunch nearby at Tony Baloney’s or Teik Lee Kitchen!
Make it a Staycation
Even though some restrictions have lifted, it’s still important to be conscientious of local laws and guidelines in place to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Business has reopened in Atlantic City, but restaurants and casinos are still required to close up shop after 10 p.m., and those traveling to New Jersey from states with increasing rates of COVID-19 are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Traveling for vacation isn’t the most convenient thing to do during a pandemic, but it’s not the end of the world to plan a holiday at home. Borgata and Tropicana both partner with online casinos to bring slots, online poker, sports betting, and more to specific regions that allow access to online gambling. So if your favorite part of the resorts in Atlantic City is the casinos, a staycation could be the perfect solution for you this season.