As you saw in my last post about Philadelphia, I recently took a trip to the east coast of the United States. In between visiting family in Philly and New York City, I decided to stop in for a day in Atlantic City. So first off to be clear, I am not a gambler and I since I was on a trip with my kids so this was not about seeing Atlantic City as most people would, but instead as a family getaway location.
With booking in advance, one of the great things about going to Atlantic City, at least in October would appear to be the extremely cheap accommodations. We stayed at the Tropicana and there were rooms for all budgets. You should note that the Tropicana is at the southern end of the boardwalk so travelling to all of the other destinations along here by foot can be a bit of a walk but that is also kind of the point.
For me the biggest surprise about Atlantic City was just how amazing the beach was. The sand was pristine clean, there were showers near the boardwalk for cleaning off your feet and the water was unbelievably warm. It was hot out, about 27 Celsius, but still the water was the temperature you would expect in Mexico, not New Jersey. I could easily have spent the day sitting on the beach with a book but we didn’t have that kind of time.
To keep the kids entertained, we did a walk north along the boardwalk to Ripley’s Believe or Not, this was one of the highlights of the trip for my kids. Unfortunately, due to it being a weekday and the beginning of the shoulder season, the nearby Steel Pier Amusement Park wasn’t open. Given the weather, you would think that the shoulder season wouldn’t begin until at least mid-October. In any event we missed out on that fun. While you walk along the boardwalk there are lots of stores, restaurants and tourist shops as you would expect. The casinos were much more extravagant than I had pictured for Atlantic City in my head. They had a little bit of the Las Vegas wonderland to them. Certainly the interior of the Tropicana was quite a surprise in that the lobby was a large mall laid out like a part of Old Havana, with fountains and false facades. While it didn’t really look like Havana, it was neat nonetheless.
In the evening we went out to the huge buffet at Caesar’s Palace, called the Palace Court Buffet. I hadn’t been to a gambling city buffet since my childhood but it certainly seemed a lot better than my memories. After dinner we took in the light show at the Atlantic City Convention Center. This was cool with a music video projected onto the arches and alcoves of the building.
I am sure that off the boardwalk there are some better local restaurants to search out but with the limited time we had, we just walked along the boardwalk. Despite getting to see Philadelphia, Manhattan and Brooklyn, it was actually Atlantic City that my kids keep bringing up. I would definitely recommend it for family, though you have to be aware that even if you are not gambling, it is still the main reason Atlantic City exists as a destination, so you will at times have to walk through parts of casinos to eat or go to the swimming pool. My main regret about our visit to Atlantic City was that I didn’t stay two nights so that I could have had a full day at the beach with the kids.