Atlantic City, New Jersey, is a popular destination for Americans, but not as well known by overseas visitors. While Vegas tends to act as a magnet for the casino crowds and Elton John fans, Atlantic City is seen as a poorer sibling, left out in the cold on the eastern seaboard. But being a two hour drive from New York and just one from Philadelphia, it's definitely worth a visit in its own right.

Atlantic City by day

One of the highlights of Atlantic City has to be its famous beach and boardwalk. The wooden boardwalk, first built in 1870 to keep the sand out of hotel lobbies and made even more famous by the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, once stretched over seven miles in its heyday.

Out towards the northern point of the boardwalk is the Absecon Lighthouse which is the tallest in New Jersey and with 228 steps to the top, it offers a unique panorama of the city which is built plum on some prime real estate nestled between the ocean and the marches. From here, on a good day, looking towards Longport, you might be able to spot Lucy the Margate Elephant, a 60 feet tall wooden elephant built in 1881 to attract potential residents and beach house buyers. 

An Overnighter in Atlantic City: More Than Just a Boardwalk2
(Photo : An Overnighter in Atlantic City: More Than Just a Boardwalk2)

Atlantic City is named for a good reason, because accessing the Atlantic is half the fun. Visitor experiences include deep sea fishing tours that operate from the harbour as well as more exhilarating fun like wave runners, surfing, jet skis, kayaking, boating and parasailing activities. Some of the game available offshore  includes tuna, blue marlin, mahi mahi, yellowfin tuna and mako sharks. But if heading out to sea makes you feel a bit queasy then you can find all of the Atlantic's maritime life at the Aquarium including sand sharks, stingrays and sea bass.

Atlantic City by night

If, after strolling the boardwalk, you haven't over-indulged in too much salt water taffy or overexerted the fudge from Steel's Fudge Bar, then there are plenty of dinner options in Atlantic City.  It used to be well known for its Italian restaurants, but tastes have gone far more eclectic. While Il Mulino will still offer that New York Italian flavour, there is also Dock's Oyster House for some seafood.

For a taste of old fashioned music then Kelsey & Kim's Southern Cafe delivers some old fashioned southern cooking served up with side of soul and jazz. If you are lucky you might get an Old Fashioned during happy hour too.

(Photo : An Overnighter in Atlantic City: More Than Just a Boardwalk 4)

But Atlantic City might be more famous for its casinos; there are currently nine operating and one of the newest, biggest and best has to be the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. Located close to the Aquarium. It has one of the best spa facilities in the city and is a reminder of how the city's founding fathers sold the city on its healthy lifestyle image 150 years ago.

The online casinos have increased in popularity and this site has made it even easier for casino games players to access bonuses and free spins than ever before, helping to ensure that the casinos of Atlantic City continue to be a big draw. Many visitors from the east coast and Canada head here for a night at the tables and slots with the likes of Tropicana, Golden Nugget, Bally's, Harrah's and Ocean Casinos contributing to attract over 20 million people a year.

Visitors to Atlantic City can experience a watersports fix or a stroll by the sea, or visit some of the unusual landmarks and historical sites made famous by Nucky Thompson's Boardwalk Empire. Whether you come for the casinos or the sea air, Atlantic City has plenty to offer all  travellers on an overnight trip, whatever the time of year.