Atlantic City, NJ

5 Things to Do in Atlantic City Without Visiting a Casino

Evamarie Augustine

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Atlantic City is the playground of the East....for adults who like to gamble and party. Home to casinos, nightclubs, and the boardwalk, the town is non-stop excitement and fun. However, if you are there for a business trip or need a break from gambling, what can you do?

Located at the heart of the Jersey Shore, Atlantic City is close to beautiful beaches and wildlife areas. Originally the home of the Lenape Indians, who named the island Absegami, meaning "little water," a term for the bay denoting that the opposite shore was in sight.

From the 1880s to the 1940s, Atlantic City was a major vacation resort. The first casino, Resorts International, opened in 1978, and today there are nine casinos. The original version of the Monopoly game is based on the streets of Atlantic City. Atlantic City is also the home to the Miss America Pageant. First held in the city in 1921, it was briefly moved to Las Vegas before returning.

Besides gambling, there is plenty to do in Atlantic City!

Edwin B. Forsyth National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 47,000 acres of southern New Jersey coastal habitats and wetlands. Located not far from Atlantic City, there are plenty of hiking trails to view the many species of birds—at least 322 species of birds have been observed on the refuge. You can also see the refuge from your car—via the eight-mile one-way driving loop.

Lucy the Elephant is located about five miles from the boardwalk casinos in the southern part of the island in Margate. This six-story elephant is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was built in 1881. Constructed with nearly one million pieces of wood, Lucy weighs about 90 tons. Lucy was modeled after Jumbo, the famous elephant with Barnum and Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth.

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While Lucy faced some years of disrepair, she is back and better than ever. Not only can you visit and climb the world's largest elephant, you can also stay overnight! That's right, Lucy the Elephant is available through Airbnb.

Absecon Lighthouse is 171 feet tall and is New Jersey's tallest lighthouse. The 150-year old lighthouse is located not far from the boardwalk. A walk up to the top provides views of the Atlantic City Skyline.

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Historic Smithville is a great town to explore. Walk through a quaint village with cobblestone streets and over 60 specialty shops and restaurants. With a carousel, train ride, a mini arcade and paddleboats, the town is perfect for adults and kids alike.

Smithville has events planned throughout the year, so be sure to check what is going on.

The Atlantic City Boardwalk. Long before the casinos came, there was the boardwalk. No trip to Atlantic City would be complete without a trip to the famed boardwalk. First built in 1870, the boardwalk has been refurbished several times, most recently in 1916. Home to arcades, rides, ice cream, cotton candy, and popcorn, the boardwalk has seen a storied history. The Convention Hall was used as a training facility in preparation for World War II. Famous celebrities to walk the wooden boards include Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin. The Beatles even ate the city's world-famous subs on the boardwalk.

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The boardwalk is also home to Ripley's Believe it or Not Odditorium. A collection of strange and odd exhibits from around the world. Oddities such as pictures of a "unicorn man," and a human hair bikini, it also hosts a piece of the Berlin Wall and interactive exhibits.

Atlantic City - come for the casino, stay for everything else!

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I specialize in creating engaging and timely content on the financial markets. Skilled at turning raw research, insights and data into compelling commentary for a variety of media platforms. My expertise includes writing, editing, and exceptional project management skills.

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