Despite its reputation as a gambling haven, Atlantic City, New Jersey, invites families of all sorts to enjoy its spas, dining and proximity to the ocean. Casinos sprung up in the 1970s, but the city still retains much of its beach-resort character from before that time.
After World War II, the city began rebuilding and refashioning itself as a tourist destination, nodding to its rich history with sites that commemorate the country’s first Miss America Pageant as well as organizations such as the South Jersey Cultural Alliance that hosts plays and cultural events in the area. The city became a bit run-down after gaming became a main industry, but the arrival of the decidedly upscale Borgata Hotel a few years ago helped usher in an era of improvements.
Stroll between the beach and the rest of town on the Boardwalk, which has been renovated thanks to hurricanes, and cuts a line between amusement piers and hotels, restaurants and shops—you can also opt to be pushed around in a rolling chair, a popular way to travel. Delight the kids with a trip to Lucy the Elephant, a 65-foot tall landmark shop shaped like an elephant, where visitors can shop for funky gifts.