Atlantic City

Atlantic City

Atlantic City is near New York City and Philadelphia

Atlantic City is located in southern New Jersey along the Atlantic coast. It is just 60 miles east of Philadelphia, PA and 115 miles south of New York City. You can easily drive from New York City to Atlantic City in about two hours. It is less than one hour from Philadelphia and only three hours drive from Baltimore or Washington DC.

One hundred years ago, Atlantic City was a fashionable summer retreat for the affluent residents of nearby cities. The wives and daughters of the social elite would escape the summer heat in the city by moving to their summer homes on the beach. You can still see their elegant Victorian mansions and beach cottages in the southern suburbs of Atlantic city.

Gambling is the main attraction

Today, Atlantic City's main attraction is gambling. The oceanfront is now lined with grand casino hotels. It has become the little Las Vegas of the east coast. At least a dozen glitzy hotel casinos are located along the beachside boardwalk. Some of them are quite spectacular, although on a smaller scale than Las Vegas. They offer entertainment, fine dining and naturally, gambling.

Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City © Mike Leco /
The oceanfront is now lined with grand casino hotels. It has become the little Las Vegas of the east coast.

Most of the casinos offer musical variety shows similar to those found in Las Vegas but at more reasonable prices. Tickets usually cost about $10 to $25 or about half the price charged in Las Vegas. Often, the Atlantic City casinos also offer famous name entertainment. Many big-name stars appear at the Atlantic City casinos for a few shows on the weekends. Tickets to these shows cost a bit more. (about $25 to $50). It is still much cheaper than Las Vegas or Broadway.

Every year, Atlantic City hosts the Miss America pageant and frequently, the major casinos hold world-class sporting events such as championship boxing matches. Tickets may be difficult to find for the really big events.

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Mike's Atlantic City Tip: If you do any gambling at all, be sure to register for a player's card at the casino. Use your card every time you play the slot machines or gamble at the tables. You will earn points that can be used for free meals, discounted entertainment and free prizes. The casino employees call these "comps" or compensation gifts. After you lose all of your vacation money gambling, you will at least get a free meal and maybe even a free tee shirt.

Even non-gamblers will enjoy Atlantic City

If you are not a gambler, Atlantic City is still worth visiting. It has a nice sandy beach for sunbathing and swimming with a broad boardwalk stretching several miles. The boardwalk includes the usual assortment of restaurants, souvenir stands, amusement arcades and quaint shops.

The Atlantic City casinos are worth seeing. Their overdone glitzy architecture and massive scale are truly incredible. You will have no problem finding a nice restaurant and the entertainment opportunities are excellent.

Atlantic City is a great day trip from New York City

If you are visiting New York City, you can easily take a day trip or an overnight jaunt to Atlantic City. Excursion buses depart from the big apple to Atlantic City every day. Many of the major tour bus operators offer regularly scheduled excursions to Atlantic City for about $25 per round trip. For a real bargain, find a gambler's excursion bus or van tour. They usually provide a round trip ticket which includes a free meal at one of the casinos and a rebate of gambling tokens for nearly the value of your ticket. It is like getting a free trip!

New Jersey Transit, Greyhound and Academy Bus Lines provide scheduled service to Atlantic City from the NY/NJ Port Authority terminal at 41st Street and 8th Avenue in New York City. Grayline Tours also provides regular service. Here are the telephone numbers:

Information: 800-582-5946
Information: 800-231-2222
Information: 800-992-0451
Information: 800-669-0051
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Mike's Atlantic City Tip: When playing slot machines or gambling at the tables, hostesses in skimpy costumes will offer you free coffee and free soft drinks. They will not offer you alcohol. If you ask for it, they will bring you free beer or alcoholic drinks as well. Be sure to give them a nice tip. If you don't, they will probably disappear and never come back.

It is a pleasant drive from New York City

If you rent a car, you can easily drive to Atlantic City in less than three hours. It will be a bit longer if you take the scenic route along the ocean, but that will allow you to visit many of the northern Jersey Shore communities. These seaside resort towns are favorite weekend destinations for many young people from the big city. They tend to be quiet villages most of the week, but turn into great party towns on summer weekends. Bruce Springsteen began his career in the honky tonk bars of the Jersey Shore.

You can also visit some of the beachside resort towns of southern New Jersey like Cape May and Stone Harbor. These pleasant little resorts with their restored Victorian homes and smooth sandy beaches provide quiet refuges for sun basking, swimming and surfing.

Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © Mike Leco /
Photo Description: Atlantic City is located in southern New Jersey along the Atlantic coast.