See This, Skip That: Atlantic City

PHOTO: From world class dining to top notch spas, the Atlantic City offers something for everyone.

Atlantic City is a unique city paradise located along the Atlantic Ocean, just hours away from New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore. World-class casinos line miles of sandy beaches filled with visitors from around the globe. But don’t let the bright lights and buzzing slot machines fool you--there is more to do in Atlantic City than spin the roulette wheel or double down.

From world-class dining to top notch spas, the city offers something for everyone. Here are some of our favorite ways to ensure your experience is a winning hand while visiting one of America’s favorite playgrounds.

Skip the Traffic, Take to the Skies There are many ways of getting to Atlantic City - most of which often result in sitting in hours of traffic on the Garden State Parkway. If you’re not lucky enough to live along the rail line--take to the skies! Visitors to New York City can be in Atlantic City in less than an hour via private helicopter charter. For those visiting from further destinations, Atlantic City International Airport welcomes non-stop flights to Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Houston, Myrtle Beach, Orlando and more.

Skip Lounging Oceanside, Take a Deep Sea Fishing Trip Atlantic City beaches are nice enough to spend the day just lounging in the warm sunshine and contemplating your next application of sunscreen. But if relaxing isn’t your speed, you can try your hand at deep sea fishing. In just about 30 minutes you can be in Sea Isle, New Jersey, and embark on a half-day deep sea fishing charter with Starfish Fishing & Cruising. Starfish offers two charters per day, and provides guests with poles and bait. If you go during the summer months, you can expect to catch fish such as striped bass and flounder. Just remember to make a reservation, as voyage slots can fill up quickly.

Skip Casino Dining, Eat Out in Style Many Atlantic City casinos offer visitors an array of deals, from free gambling incentives to discounts and comps for food and lodging. While a standard casino buffet is sure to fill you up, kick it up a notch and venture out of the hotel to discover the city’s unique, top-quality restaurants that are sure to please your palate. One of our favorite fine-dining destinations is The Continental at The Pier Shops at Caesars. This Starr Restaurant-owned property offers an array of menu options in a comfortable sit-down atmosphere. After dining, be sure to check out the incredible ocean views The Pier Shops at Caesars have to offer.

Skip Ground Transportation, Walk on the Boardwalk Taking in the sights and sounds of Atlantic City is an adventure in and of itself. When visiting boardwalk casinos, walk instead of taking a cab to your next oceanfront destination. There are so many exciting finds along the waterfront stretch that you may miss out on if you take another mode of transportation. If the summer heat is a concern, there are plenty of resorts you can stop in to cool off (and maybe try your hand at hold’em).

Skip Mini Golf, See a Show There is always a show, concert or event happening in Atlantic City (this becomes ever the more apparent as you drive down Atlantic City Expressway, a boulevard flooded with casino promotion and event billboards). Before booking your next visit, check to see what performances are happening at your hotel or nearby venues. “Be mindful that these events can get expensive, so it is important to book early,” says Gillian Small, a marketing executive based in New York City who routinely makes time for a bit of cultural immersion in Atlantic City. “You may also want to check with the hotel you’re staying at to see if they offer any deals for guests, such as buy-one-get-one-free show tickets.”

Skip the Museum, See Lucy the Elephant Just miles from Atlantic City, families can visit Lucy the Elephant in Josephine Harron Park. Listed on the National Park Registry of Historical Landmarks, this six-story elephant-shaped building is “the only elephant in the world you can walk through and come out alive!" Visiting the grounds is free and guided tours for families (which occur every 30 minutes) can cost up to $8 per person.

Gabe Saglie is Senior Editor for Travelzoo, which features a bevy of Atlantic City hotel specials, as well as local deals at: Travelzoo.com

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