Atlantic City, population 40,000, is the east coast hot spot for gambling, partying and casino hopping. A flashy display of lights and dice, it is the largest casino resort outside of Las Vegas, and when gambling was legalized in the area in 1976, the face of Atlantic City was forever changed. The casinos and hotels that line the boardwalk are open round the clock, and play host to over 32 million visitors each year.
Host of the Miss America Pageant since 1921, Atlantic City holds an annual Miss America Week in September, with a parade offering high school bands a chance to perform for a large audience. Atlantic City caters to a young, hip crowd, which is the desired category of clientele the city prefers to have trotting about its casinos and hotels, but senior buses, families and vacationers from all over come to Atlantic City to get their gambling fix.
Atlantic City casinos from the Trump Taj Mahal, Bally's, Caesars, the Tropicana, the Sands and its newest, the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, offer live entertainment, nightclubs, shopping and a host of restaurant options. The hotels are scattered along its famous boardwalk, not only Atlantic City's biggest draw, but also the world's first boardwalk. Visit Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum, or one of the souvenir shops lining the boardwalk before heading in to one of the casinos to test your luck at the craps table.
Interestingly, Atlantic City lies on the edge of Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, 43,000 acres of marshes and meadows, and a barrier beach. Birding and nature walks are popular along the trails of the refuge, and oceanfront beaches along the shore communities of Absecon Island are open to the public and offer fishing, surfing and rafting.
Atlantic City is located on Absecon Island, a 25-mile long barrier island. Not far from three major cities, New York City, Washington DC and Philadelphia, it's a fine location for millions in need of letting loose at the blackjack tables or the slots. The Atlantic City International Airport is located in Egg Harbor Township, and Amtrak, NJ Transit and the Atlantic City Rail all serve the area. Located in the southern part of Jersey's eastern coast, Atlantic City is not far from Cape May and its surrounding beaches.