Things to Do in the Area of Atlantic City, New Jersey

Overview

Atlantic City is on the New Jersey coast on Absecon Island. It’s located in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic region, roughly 100 miles from New York City and 50 miles from Philadelphia. The town is best known today for its casinos and nightlife. In the late 19th century Atlantic City, was a resort destination for the wealthy. Atlantic City fell out of favor by the early 1960s until gambling was introduced in 1976. Today it’s once again a vibrant coastal city that brings in many vacationers looking to relax and gamblers seeking to change their fortune. The Atlantic City area also offers many recreational activities for your entire family, including fishing, biking and hiking.

History

Native American tribes were the first inhabitants of Atlantic City, particularly the Lenni-Lenape Indians. Around 1850, Dr. Jonathan Pitney decided while traveling by boat that the island would make for an ideal location for a respite for patients. Dr. Pitney and other early investors obtained a railroad charter that ran from just across the river from Philadelphia down the coast to Atlantic City. The city was soon incorporated and accessible by residents of New York and Philadelphia.
By 1875, the renowned Atlantic City Boardwalk was built where it remains today and the town quickly earned its nickname as the “Queen of the Coast.”

Walking the Boardwalk

Atlantic City’s famous boardwalk runs along the beach and has been in continuous operation for over 125 years. While walking the boardwalk, you will encounter small shops and boadwalk performers. Each morning bicyclists are permitted on the boardwalk and it’s filled with exercisers of all ages. Perhaps the highlight of the summer is the annual Atlantic City Summer Solstice Parade. During a healthy seven-mile walk, you will be treated to colorfully painted cyclists, lavish floats and many people in costumes. The parade is free and open to all.

Kayaking and windsurfing

The bays and ocean waters surrounding Atlantic City offer the ideal conditions for you to go kayaking and surfing. There are rentals from spots right on the water and you can take your vehicle directly to the beach in some areas. There are also surfing lessons available as well as guided tours of the coastline. Kayaking and windsurfing are permitted at the Jackson Avenue beach and vehicles are permitted. You are able to surf on three beaches in Atlantic City: Crystal Beach, Delaware Avenue Beach and Downtown Beach.

Wildlife refuge

The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is located just outside Atlantic City and offers you more than 40,000 acres of coastal habitats to explore and over 250 species of birds to see. Here you can walk four different nature trails geared to all skill levels. The Leeds EcoTrail is a five-mile loop through a salt marsh where you will see rare birds including the piper and great egret. There are also kayak rentals available from the refuge.

Fishing

You can go fishing on the jetties along the Maine Avenue. Boardwalk and in the inlet off of that Boardwalk area of Atlantic City. Additionally, you won’t need a fishing license to go salt-water fishing in these areas. If catching sharks are more your speed, register for the annual South Jersey Shark Tournament, held each June with up to 200 boats participating. This event is the largest shark tournament in the Mid-Atlantic region. A registration fee– which was $525 as of 2010–is required and cash prizes are awarded to the winners.

About this Author

Darren Hunter is an independent writer and entertainer. His articles are featured nationally, and he also is an infommercial host. He has been featured on C-Span, NPR, The Bulletin and The Big Talker to name a few. Hunter currently writes for Demand Studios. Hunter graduated from Philadelphia University.