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Luxury Travel

Atlantic City
New Jersey
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As seen in Charitable Traveller!

Atlantic City is a hidden gem along the New Jersey shoreline, offering visitors much more than a seaside destination.

From top-notch dining experiences, luxury hotel accommodations, spectacular entertainment, and more, Atlantic City is the perfect destination for a fun and safe getaway.

Looking to relax and recharge? Atlantic City has the answer! Pamper yourself at one of the world-class spas where you will be taken on a journey of pure relaxation. From a Himalayan Salt Grotto to Rhythm & Motion rooms, each spa offers an experience of its own.

Shopping never goes out of season and Atlantic City’s Tanger Outlets The Walk on Michigan and Atlantic Avenues feature more than 50 national retail brand outlet stores such as Michael Kors, Coach, Kate Spade New York, Under Armour, and Victoria’s Secret just to name a few. Need outdoor attire, equipment or accessories? Bass Pro Shops is the ultimate outdoor world and offers the area’s largest selection for hunting, fishing, camping, boating, and more. 

Did you know that Atlantic City is home to more than 50 murals? Stories behind the artists’ works are as touching and moving as the murals they create, and these permanent public works of art show the heartbeat of Atlantic City. 

Whether a tour at one of the region’s historical wineries or a trip to nearby Smithville Village for its quaint shops, any time is a good time to visit Atlantic City and the surrounding areas.

If you’re winding down after a long day or meeting up with family and friends, Atlantic City offers a host of happy hour specials suitable for all budgets. Sip, sample, and let the conversations flow.

With so much going on, it’s no wonder Atlantic City was named in the Top 3 Fall Travel Destinations by TripAdvisor!

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Join us on a 30-minute holiday to Atlantic City with the Travel Insider Podcast!

Hosted by Bec Miles, editor of Charitable Traveller Magazine, Charitable Travel’s Travel Insider Podcast lets you in on Travel’s best-kept secrets, hidden gems, and unforgettable experiences. Famous for it’s golden beaches, retro boardwalk and glamorous casinos, Atlantic City, New Jersey is one of America’s most beloved seaside resorts. For this episode, we are joined by Heather Colache, Director of Tourism from Meet AC and Meg Lewis, Executive Director of Marketing for Resorts Casino in Atlantic City.

Laura Gelder, Editor of Charitable Traveller Magazine: Hello and welcome to Charitable Travel’s Travel Insider Podcast. My name is Laura Gelder and I’m the editor of Charitable Traveller Magazine and the host of this podcast series otherwise known as TIPs. Today, we’re going to whisk you away to the U S for some vitamin C, spelt S-E-A of course, because we’re going to be sharing some great travel tips for one of America’s most beloved seaside resorts, Atlantic City.

This all-American playground sits on the Atlantic coast of New Jersey, just one hour from Philadelphia. And it’s famous for its golden beaches. It’s retro boardwalk with all the fun of the fair. And of course, it’s glamorous casinos, but Atlantic City has so much more to offer than this as you’ll discover, if you like your holidays, action packed, then keep your ears peeled for details of thrilling fun fair rides, wildlife watching excursions out in the sea. Water sports galore and a star-studded calendar of events and concerts to entertain you. If that makes you feel a bit tired, fear not. We’re also going to tell you how to kick back and relax in AC. There’s an incredible choice of restaurants serving cuisine from every corner of the globe, endless streets of fun bars and funky nightclubs and tax-free shopping of course, if retail therapy is your way of pampering yourself. So, sit back and relax. Get ready to take a wander down the world’s first boardwalk with us. I want you to feel the sea breeze in your hair, taste the sweet flavour of saltwater taffy, and hear the sound of the crashing waves mingling with the jingle of those amusement rides.

So today I’m joined by two Atlantic City locals ready to pass on their tips for getting the most out of their home. I’m delighted to have Heather Colache, director of tourism from Meet AC, which is Atlantic City’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Meg Lewis, executive director of marketing for Resorts Casino in Atlantic City.

Okay, thanks so much for joining us today, Heather and Meg. Heather, can you tell us what makes Atlantic City so famous and so unique? It seems to have this reputation as quite a quirky place, kind of an adult playground. Is that fair to say?

Heather Colache, Director of Tourism from Meet AC: Atlantic City actually is a year-round destination. We are an island surrounded by water, and our claim to fame is we are a destination with gaming. So, we have six casino resorts along the Atlantic Ocean and three in the Bay Area, add entertainment and amazing restaurants. And then you have the best adult vacation. However, we do have something for everyone. So Atlantic City and our attractions are legendary. 

We have America’s first boardwalk, which is, I guess, a city street that is made out of wood. And it goes along five miles along the Atlantic Ocean there’s shopping restaurants, resorts, hotels, and a lot of things for families to do. So, we do have something for everyone.

Laura: So, it sounds like, it’s a real vacation kind of place. Is it easy to get to? And how would you recommend including it in a holiday Meg?

Meg Lewis, Executive Director of Marketing, Resorts Casino, Atlantic City: It’s actually very easy to get to. We’re centred between in Manhattan, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C, once a visitor lands in any of these areas. It’s very easy to jump on a train, [or a] a bus. Car rentals are very easily available. Another great airport to fly into is Newark Airport, which is actually right in the state of New Jersey. So, there’s four ways to easily get to us and then use us as a home-base to get to any of these other destinations, which are about two hours from us.

Laura: Sure. And how would people include it in a holiday? Do you think that they, they have it as a long break or a city break?

Heather: That’s a great question. And we do a lot of twin city tours with Philadelphia since they’re only 60 minutes from us. So Atlantic City is well-positioned. Atlantic City is within a day’s drive of a third of the nation’s population.

So, it’s an easy drive destination, a lot of our vacationers, especially Brits will come in, they’ll make Atlantic City their home base, and then they’ll do day trips to these different destinations. We also do a lot of packages and tours with Lancaster, with D.C, with different destinations that are a short drive from Atlantic City.

Laura: Obviously Atlantic City is the fun part of that trip?

Heather: We’d like to think so.

Laura: Yeah. So once we’re in Atlantic City, what are the sort of main areas to explore and how do you get about. Is it easy to get about? Heather?

Heather: Atlantic City is quite small and it’s easily walkable. Our legendary Atlantic City Boardwalk is five and a half miles long. It runs along beautiful white beaches, and the Atlantic Ocean. People can bike ride there. They can take taxis. If you want to go over to the Bay Area, which is about a three-minute drive from the ocean. Also, we have form of transportation called the jitneys and jitneys are little minibuses that run 24 hours a day, $2 and 50 cents to take a ride. They’ll take you anywhere within Atlantic City.

Another way to explore Atlantic City is by tours. We have several different, interesting tours. We have over 500 restaurants in Atlantic City so of course we have a fun foodie tour. You can go souvenir shopping. You can go bar hopping. We have a lot of neat and quirky attractions.

We have the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey and the third tallest in the United States. We also have dolphin watching, biking tours, birdwatching. We have about 32 golf courses in and around Atlantic City, if someone’s interested in golf and of course fishing as we’re right on the Atlantic Ocean.

Laura: You mentioned that the Jitney I’ve never heard of that before, is that name exclusive to Atlantic City?

Heather: It was, it was actually coined in the early 1900s and jitney does have a meaning to it. And it’s, I think Meg, correct me if I’m wrong. It used to be a wooden nickel is what a jitney was called, and it was a nickel to ride the jitney back when it first started. So, it does have history in Atlantic City. It certainly has changed over the years, but they are a great way to see the city.

Laura: Yeah, it sounds. And obviously not as cheap as a nickel. But it’s still pretty cheap! And you mentioned quite a lot of restaurants and bars in Atlantic City. Could you tell us about some of your favourites, Meg?

Meg: As Heather mentioned, there are hundreds of restaurants and bars located in Atlantic City. I have three favourites that I could talk about right now. The Knife and Fork Inn, which is known for its lobster thermidor, which is absolutely delicious. It was originally opened in 1912 and its architecture and the atmosphere there is just amazing. The same owners that own the Knife and Fork also own a restaurant in Resorts Casino Hotel.

Meg: There’s Dougherty’s Steakhouse, and the name says it all. Steak and unbelievably delicious steak. One of my favourite casual restaurants is the Back Bay Ale House located in historic Gardner’s Basin, which is situated on the bay in Atlantic City. The outdoor dining is unbelievable there. It’s fun to order specialty cocktails and they have light fair there. And you sit outside and watch the boats come and go.

The beach bars in Atlantic City, you can’t miss them. There are five located right on the beach, along the Boardwalk. One of them, Landshark Bar and Grill is open year-round, and it’s the only year-round beach bar on the entire east coast of the United States. It’s located on the North Beach side of the Boardwalk, right in front of Resorts Casino Hotel. And it’s really fun to sit out there while it’s snowing and you can see the snow while you’re sitting on the beach, obviously there’s windows, but you’re nice and warm inside watching it snow over the Atlantic Ocean. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

Laura: So would it be fair to say to Atlantic City is quite lively?

Meg: Very lively, and any cuisine you desire you can find in Atlantic City.

Laura: That sounds like a challenge.

Meg: We have the White House Cheese Steak Sub Shop that has been around since the 1900s. What do you think Heather? 1920s?

Heather: I would say 1930s.

Meg: 1930s. People from all over the world come for a White House Cheese Steaks. And they actually ship all over the world and that is definitely a hidden gem on one of the back streets in Atlantic City. That is a must try.

Laura: Did you say a cheese steak?

Meg: Yes. It’s chipped up steak with melted cheese and fried onions on a hard, long roll. And you eat it with French fries.

Heather: And what’s unique about our cheese steaks is that, Atlantic City has won awards for our water quality. I guess my thing is that when you taste the bread in Atlantic City, it tastes so much better than what you would buy in the store.

Meg: Like you cannot make Atlantic City bread say, in Florida.

Laura: Is there a special kind of bread in Atlantic City?

Heather: It’s a sub roll, which is like, it has like a hard crunchy outside, but it’s really soft inside. And that’s what they normally use to make all the cheese steaks. All the restaurants, get their rolls from these bakers. You know, it it’s just the quality of it.

Meg: We’ll have to mail you some of it.

Laura: Won’t be quite as fresh when at arrives, though.

Heather:  All of the rolls that are used within not only Atlantic City, but South Jersey come from two bakeries. And literally you have to taste it. Sometimes when I come into work at seven o’clock in the morning, there’s a line of 30 people deep trying to get their cheese steaks for lunch.

Laura: Okay. That sounds like a must then. Yeah. And there’s quite a lot of breweries in Atlantic City as well is that right?

Heather: We actually have one brewery called The Seed. It’s actually an organic brewery. We also have a distillery, however, in our area. We have something called the Wine and Ale Trail within the surrounding communities. They have had breweries and wineries pop up that have won awards all over the world. So, there are certain tours that leave at different times of the day that they can go on these, The Wine and Ale Trial.

Laura: And, after all this food, then we’re going to need to do some activities. So Heather, can you tell us about some of the activities that you can do in Atlantic City? I guess there’s quite a lot of water sports?

Heather: There is. One of the main things I just want to mention is swimming. Of course, in season when we are on the Atlantic Ocean, we are one of the beaches that are protected. So, we have lifeguards that man the beaches, so everyone feels safe. We also have surfing, we have a surf school that will give lessons to teach people how to surf. We don’t have the big waves, like some of the other destinations, but we do pretty good. Fishing, again, we have back bay fishing, which is calm water. So, you don’t get seasick or for those serious fishermen, they can go out onto the Atlantic Ocean and fish for tuna. Dolphin watching, uh, golfing again.

We actually have outlets right in the middle of our city, which offers tax free, shopping on clothes and shoes. Again, one of my favourites, I unfortunately live very close to the outlets I’m there constantly. We have award winning spas. You can bike on the boardwalk and foodie tours again for all of our amazing restaurants.

Laura: And obviously there are some really impressive casino resorts in Atlantic City. Could you tell us a bit about them, Meg, and also what other accommodation options there are?

Meg: Sure, we have nine casinos in Atlantic City and every casino has its own uniqueness. You aren’t feeling lucky at one, it’s very easy to jump over to another one and change your day.

Our casinos are open 24-hours and they offer free beverages on the casino floor as well as designated smoking areas. The sizes of the casinos range from 900 rooms and 1600 slot machines to over 2000 rooms with, over 5,000 slot machines. So, there’s something for everyone’s price point. Of course, each casino has multiple table games and most have sports betting.

Three of our casinos are located in the Bay Area and six along the beach and Boardwalk. North Beach side of the Boardwalk features three casinos working together to promote fun and excitement. It’s a first and unique experience in the industry. Resorts Casino Hotel, Hard Rock Casino, and Ocean Casino have teamed up with Steel Pier, a historic pier located right on the ocean and Showboat Hotel, a non- casino hotel located in this section, these three casinos work together to promote the North Beach area do in such things as festivals at this end, fireworks, things like that to promote this end of the Boardwalk. The other two, as I said, where the Bay and the South Boardwalk. The South Boardwalk consists of three casinos as well.

There’s Caesar’s Casino, Bally’s Casino, and Tropicana Casino and Hotel down there. Over on the Bay Area we have MGM, Harris and Golden Nugget. There are many non-casino hotels in Atlantic City as well. In addition to the non-casino hotels we have, there are accommodations for every price point here. There are bed and breakfasts, hotels, casino hotels, chain hotels and actually right outside of the city, in our next beach town up, you can rent an entire house.

Laura: Obviously, the casino resorts I guess are, the focus of Atlantic City, and they differ quite a lot. Do they, do they have sort of a different feel and different themes to them? They appeal to different people?

Meg: You can definitely find different casinos. We have very modern, we have very historic. Because some of the casinos were built actually from historic buildings.

Laura: The other thing that I know about Atlantic City is that, there’s a lot of big bands and singers and acts that turn up in Atlantic City. So, entertainment seems to be quite big business. Is that fair to say?

Heather: Absolutely. We are known for our entertainment and it’s year-round entertainment. So historic Boardwalk Hall is a 13,000-seat arena and we’ve brought anyone from Lady Gaga. To a rodeo. We also do ice hockey in there and flag football. There literally are such amazing programs that they bring to, uh, Boardwalk Hall. They do Christmas entertainment. They’ll bring in Latin and Asian entertainment, really something for everyone, but it’s not just Boardwalk Hall, every casino has a showroom or has lounges that they do nightly entertainment in. Country/Western acts, we have beach concerts on the boardwalk and also Steel Pier which has been around for a very long time also brings in acts onto the Steel Pier. And one of our major events is Thunder Over The Boardwalk, which happens every August. It’s a military air show free to the public, but you can see it from any angle and anywhere you’re standing in Atlantic City, whether you’re swimming, whether you’re on your boat or just sitting on the beach, it’s really, truly amazing.

Laura: Okay. It sounds, you mentioned quite a few different seasons there’s it sounds like it’s year round. Um, but is there a particularly good time to visit? If you’re looking for, you know, lots of concerts and lots of festivals and things going on?

Heather: I would say the best thing to do is visit our website, which is into the calendar of events, because Atlantic City’s notorious for putting things on there last minute. We didn’t realize we were going to have beach concerts and then, you know, two months ago, a huge string of beach concerts popped up on the calendar. So, because everybody is promoting it differently, I always tell people to be on the safe side, check it out. Um, of course, summertime will be the most robust with entertainment, but truly you can see something in Atlantic City all year round.

Laura: Yeah. It sounds like. Okay. That’s a good tip. Thanks for that. So, when I think of Atlantic City, I seem to get quite retro images in my head and I get the impression that it’s quite quirky. Can you tell us a little bit more about some of Atlantic City’s more unique attractions Meg and, maybe give us some, some hidden gems that tourists might miss.

Meg: We have a lots of hidden gems. Heather has mentioned a couple already, but I can just go over them again quickly. We just absolutely love our Atlantic City, cruises, which does dolphin watching daily also does sunset cruises, which are very nice. And he does some Back Bay history. He can do some ecological tours that appeal to children and families of all ages. You can grab a beverage on board of that and enjoy all of the sites. We have actually two locations of miniature golf on the Boardwalk. One is located in the North Beach section and one in the middle of town in the Boardwalk. There’s a huge indoor arcade located at the Showboat, which is a non-casino property in the Northeast section. It was a casino at one time. And actually the arcade has taken over the casino floor there, and it will soon the showboat house, a waterpark and indoor go-karts. So that will be a fun place for everybody to visit. Right across from Showboat and the Hard Rock is this historic Steel Pier that Heather had spoken about. It extends about a thousand feet into the ocean and it’s home to amusement rides, fun Boardwalk games, a large observation wheel, a crab house, and grab and go snacks. It has two bars and live entertainment, seven days a week throughout the summer. Boardwalk Hall that Heather spoke about is another great historic site in Atlantic City.

It’s actually home to the largest and oldest organ in the world. The pipes of the organ are actually built into the walls of Boardwalk Hall. Um, they have free tours every Wednesday. You can go in and go into the back and see where the pipes are and it’s just amazing how it was built. And of course visitors can’t miss our lighthouse.

That’s located in the Northeast section of town. Heather had mentioned it’s the third tallest in the United States and it’s the tallest in the state of New Jersey. It has 228 steps to get up to the top though. I think it’s doable, but some good exercise. One attraction that you can’t miss is Lucy, The Elephant.

Lucy The Elephant is actually located in Margate City, which is about five miles south of Atlantic City. Very easy to get to though it’s a straight run. Lucy is a six-story high elephant. And it was originally built in 1881 and it was put in Margate to promote real estate sales in the area, though. It is a must-see you can actually go into Lucy The Elephant. Um, and sometimes they create a sleepover and Lucy The Elephant, uh, as a special event. And it’s just absolutely amazing to look at. And just a few more last, see attractions. We have Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, outlet shopping, the Windmill Farm, breweries, distilleries, axe throwing. We have jitney rides and fishing, golf. Heather has mentioned most of them. So, there is plenty to do here. I think you’d have to come for a month to catch it all.

Laura: Yeah, definitely. So, and what is inside Lucy The Elephant?

Meg: Lucy has stairs. It’s kind of like a lighthouse. It’s got a gift shop and when I was a kid, it actually had a little library in there. They’re actually undergoing renovations to her right now. Is that correct? Heather? They’re still doing that?

Heather: They are actually inside is a museum. Um, they play the history of how she came about, and then you can walk up to the howdah, which has a 360-degree view of Margate, Atlantic City and the surrounding area. It truly is unique.

Laura: Yeah. That’s certainly something I’ve not heard of before, but it’s definitely unique. I was going to ask about the Pier, the Steel Pier actually. Um, cause it seems like that’s quite an iconic part of the city and it sounds like it’s kind of like an old fashioned fairground.

Heather: It has rollercoasters. I mean, it has a lot of rides. It has like carnival games on it and then it has like the fair, like cotton candy, um, funnel cake. They have the observation wheel. They also have helicopter rides. Um, it’s one of the only helicopter pads in Atlantic City. I think the other ones at the hospital and it’s right in front of Hard Rock Casino.

Laura: Okay. So you, you can take off on a helicopter from the pier, is that right?

Heather: Yes! They do city tours.

Laura: And so, they just fly you up and down so that you can see everything?

Heather: They do it like a kind of like a skyline tour, I mean, because it’s such an iconic pier, it was opened in 1898 and Donald Trump owned it at one point. He leased it to a family for 99 years, then they ended up buying it. At the Catanoso family now owns it and maintains it and they’re always updating it with new and unique attractions.

Laura: Is there a kind of entrance price, like a theme park? Can you just go on and you just decide what rides you want to go on?

Heather: You can do a couple of different things. You can buy ticket books or you can buy day-long wristbands. So, where you can simply just stroll on the pier and check everything out before you decide what you want to do.

Laura: Have some cotton candy whilst you decide?

Heather: You can have cotton candy, or you can have cotton candy cocktail, because they have a bar.

Laura: So that’s alcohol. Cotton candy. That sounds dangerous. Well, my next question, Heather was going to be, could you take us through your perfect day and night, I guess? Um, since it seems to be a night-time kind of place in Atlantic city.

Heather: I would love to. So first thing, when you arrive at Atlantic City at your hotel, you can drop your bags at the bell stand and head out for lunch on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Just sitting there breathing the fresh salt air in taking in all the quirky people that are walking up and down the Boardwalk really sets the stage for Atlantic city. Stroll the Boardwalk, take in the unique sites. Uh, take a ride on Steel Pier’s Observation Wheel. I am afraid of heights, but I decided I was the tourism director and I needed to take that ride. It was amazing. I tried to pretend I wasn’t, 227 feet in the air, but to just get the view of Atlantic City and all the water that surround us was truly unique and it was in the evening. So you get to see the sunset, which was really beautiful. Or if you’re very adventurous, you can take a city skyline helicopter ride, then head back to your hotel, check-in dinner and a show is a must. Atlantic city, we are on the water so seafood is what we are famous for. Fresh seafood, right from the Atlantic Ocean.

And then after the show, which could be comedy, it could be a headliner, or it could simply be in one of the bars in the casino. Try your hand in the casino poker or slot machines. It’s a lot of fun. When you hear the bells ring on the slot machine it’s so exciting, whether it’s a dollar or a hundred dollars, it’s still exciting.

And the next day. The breakfast in Breadsticks, which is my favourite restaurant in Resorts because the views of Atlantic City and the beach and Boardwalk are beautiful. So, breakfast at Breadsticks, go to the beach or do a dolphin watching cruise. Have afternoon cocktails at a beach bar that plays great music, and then perhaps dinner at one of our local favourites.

And we have some truly interesting places to eat. And when you had said before, have you ever went to an interesting restaurant, I have to say in all my years in Atlantic City and I’m a native of this area. I did not know we had an Afghan French restaurant. I didn’t know what that food was and I thought I would check it out. It’s literally in the heart of Atlantic City, you walk in and the courtyard takes you to a different destination and the food is really lovely. And we had a wonderful time there. We do have some restaurants that you bring your own alcohol too, which is, I think very interesting. So you can enjoy your favourite cocktail or wine while you’re having dinner.

Or you can go to one that also serves and has a bar. After you have your dinner, I think that the best thing to do would be to relax in one of the bars in the casinos. Multitude of them, very interesting ones. There’s Margaritaville, It’s Five O’clock Somewhere. You have an eighties bar. Um, if you like jazz, we have a jazz bar. There’s also karaoke in Atlantic City. So, whatever you like, and then unfortunately you’d have to leave the next.

Laura: I know you talked about people watching, I guess, the casinos are very good for people watching and the Boardwalk is probably good for people watching. Is that quite a big activity in Atlantic City?

Heather: It is! along the Boardwalk, there’s a lot of benches. So, people just like to sit and sip a cocktail, just kind of take in the sights and, you know, there’s people from all walks of life and also street entertainers that go up and down the boardwalk. So you never know what you’re going to see. Uh, I think the last week I was on a boardwalk with my grandchildren, and we had an impromptu parade of people that dressed up as dolphins and sharks. It was a beach theme. I thought I got it.

Laura: You didn’t expect that?

Heather: No, but it was entertaining!

Laura: Um, did you have anything to add there, Meg, anything that Heather didn’t mention that you would have in your perfect day?

Meg: My perfect day is sitting on the beach all day and going to a concert at night. That’s my perfect day. So, Heather covered that.

Laura: Okay. So I’ve got a bonus question for one or both of you, and it’s related to Charitable Travel’s Make Travel Count Campaign. So, it’s all about getting people to think about how they can use their holidays to make a positive impact in the world. I just wanted to ask how our listeners can make trouble counts when they visit Atlantic City?

Heather: We work really closely for Charitable Travel. One of the things that Meet AC, which is the company that I work for, loves about that company, is that they give back to different places in the world. And I think just by booking your vacation to Atlantic City or any other destination through Charitable Travel really does make a difference. It’s so refreshing to see something as simple as a travel company, just giving a small percentage to make things better in the world. We love that.

Laura: To find out more and book your next holiday to Atlantic City visit Or you can ring up and speak to the team of expert travel advisors. For more information about Atlantic City, you can also visit

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Atlantic City at USA Month 2020