The Greater Atlantic City area is recognized for its world-class casino resorts, but in addition to black jack, slot machines, live entertainment and world-class shopping, the surrounding area is stocked with beachfront condos and homes for rent during the summer season. In Brigantine Beach, Ventnor and Margate – all a short distance from the casinos – summertime residents have access to golf courses, beaches, world-class shopping and the historic Atlantic City boardwalk, featuring The Pier, restaurants amusement rides and theatres.

boardwalkfacadeAtlantic City CVB

Ah, the Boardwalk.

Atlantic City hosts the world’s first and longest Boardwalk, packed with plenty of people to watch and things to do. There is mini-golf, an arcade, even a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Art-lovers and history buffs head to Garden Pier and the Atlantic City Art Center and Atlantic City Historical Museum. You can always take a rolling chair ride, just to see the sights.

Originally built to keep the sand out of fancy beachfront hotels and railway cars, the Boardwalk was dedicated in 1870, and was three metres wide. Growing numbers of visitors and natural disasters saw the Boardwalk rebuilt three times, growing in length with each incarnation. And in the 1950s and 60s it attracted the stars. Famous feet to tread the boards include Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Durante, Ed Sullivan, Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle, Dean Martin and Bing Crosby. The Beatles ate the city’s famous subs here, and Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon opened a bowling alley.

oceanlifeAtlantic City CVBThe beach at Atlantic City is free, guarded and handicapped accessible. It’s also a great place for sunbathing, people-watching, walking, surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, even volleyball.

Sunbathing and people watching are always a favourite past time of beach goers, but you can also practice your architectural skills building sandcastles, or lounge in a beach chair engaged in a good book, or start up a volleyball or touch football game in the sand.

kayakingAtlantic City CVBThere are many other ways to stay active on the beach, too. Walks along the waters edge, a light jog or maybe even a full-out run on either the Boardwalk or the beach can burn off those extra few pounds. There are even designated beaches for water sports. Surfers show off their skills as well as their boards on Crystal Beach at New Hampshire Avenue, Delaware Avenue Beach and Downtown Beach at Raleigh Avenue. Kayaking and windsurfing enthusiasts hit the water at Jackson Avenue beach. And volleyball players can also start a game with other beach goers at nets located in front of several hotels along the beach.

Atlantic City’s sandy beaches and rolling Boardwalk chairs reflect the neon brightness of the casinos. But nearby, within the coastal wetlands of Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, clients can visit the watery habitats and flyways of waterfowl, wading and shore birds, attracting naturalists from around the world.

On the city’s waterfront, board a whale or dolphin-watching cruise in Historic Gardner’s Basin, once a haven for rumrunners and commercial fishing fleets. There are also morning skyline cruises, a harbour tour and a cocktail cruise. There are also educational tours offered through the Marine Education Program at Gardner’s Basin. While there, check out the Atlantic City Aquarium. This aquarium and ocean life education centre features eight tanks of aquariums, exhibiting more than 100 varieties of fish and marine animals, plus interactive exhibits featuring themes on the maritime environment. It’s a great place to see live jellyfish and poisonous and venomous species – behind the safety of a glass wall, of course. There are also fish from local waters and from tropical climates, plus touch tanks where you can “pet” the fish.