Many think of Atlantic City strictly as the east coast gambling hub, but it is so much more than that. It’s New Jersey’s largest resort area, and a destination for conventions, beach vacations in summer, performances by well-known recording artists and comedians, resort spas, high-end shopping, celebrity restaurants, and the world-famous boardwalk.
It’s great for a family escape, a day trip for dinner and a show, a couples’ or girlfriends’ getaway, or a mancation. Since winter is off-season, the pricing will be more reasonable, and great deals can be found for mid-week stays. Atlantic City might not be on the top of your list as a place to visit in winter, but here are seven reasons why you should consider it.
You can get there quickly by car. This makes it affordable, whether it’s a weekend for two, four, or six.
- It’s only about a two-hour drive there via I-295 and the Atlantic City Expressway (ACE)
- No hassles of flying
- Without the usual traffic in summer
- Suburban Transit (Coach USA) has weekend bus service leaving from Somerset, New Brunswick, and East Brunswick
If you overnight at one of the casino resorts, you can remain in one building your entire stay. Sleep, eat, and play without getting chilled, rained on, or dredging through snow. Below are some of the better choices for accommodations.
- Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa
- Caesars Atlantic City
- Golden Nugget
- Harrah’s Resort
- Water Club by Borgata
A sunlit, domed environment with 82 degree air temperature, palm trees and cabana service around a heated pool turns a winter overnight at Harrah’s into a tropical vacation. Seated in a heated indoor section of the Pier at Caesars on an Adirondack chair with your feet in sand while watching the sunset is another escape from reality. Below are other indoor activities that could enhance your trip.
- Absecon Lighthouse
- Atlantic City Aquarium
- Atlantic City Historical Museum – Includes Miss America Pageant collection
- Central Pier Arcade & Speedway
- Casinos – Table games and slot machines
- Haunted Tales
- IMAX Theatre at Tropicana
- Indoor Pools – Bally’s, Caesars, Harrah’s (cabana service & palm trees), Resorts, Taj Mahal, and Tropicana
- Jersey Shore Children’s Museum
- Lucy the Elephant in Margate
- Marine Mammal Stranding Center
- Playcade Amusements
- Ripley’s Believe it or Not
- Third floor inside deck of the Pier at Caesars is a great place to watch the sunset on a beach chair in sand
- Viking Cooking School in Harrah’s
- Wine Tasting – Bellview Winery, Dimatteo Vineyards, Renault Winery, Sharrott Winery, Tomasello Winery, and Valenzano Winery
- XD Land, Inc.
Dining out is one of the enjoyable experiences of a getaway. Just like in Vegas, you can feast at a celebrity chef’s eatery, or try one of the other great restaurants in town. Here’s a sampling.
- Bobby Flay Steak House at Borgata
- Buddakan at The Pier at Caesars
- Caesars Sunday Brunch at Nero’s
- Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar
- Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars
- Guy Fieri’s Chophouse at Bally’s
- Harry’s Oyster Bar & Seafood at Bally’s
- Morton’s Steakhouse The Steakhouse at Caesars
- Phillip’s Seafood at The Pier at Caesars
- Wolfgang Puck American Grill at Borgata
Luxury and Brand Name Shopping
Shopping is always fun during a getaway. Fewer people are around in winter, so check out lines will be shorter. You’ll find everything from Tiffany’s to Brooks Brother’s Outlet near the resorts, or venture off to Mays Landing for mall shopping.
- Fralinger’s Salt Water Taffy on the Boardwalk
- Hamilton Mall in May’s Landing
- Pier Shops at Caesars
- The Quarter at Tropicana
- The Playground (mall)
- The Shoppes at The Water Club
- Shops at Borgata
- Tanger Outlets – The Walk
This is the way to hit the reset button. It doesn’t matter if it’s your boss or kids stressing you out, winding down with a massage or other spa treatment is the perfect way to refresh yourself.
- Elizabeth Arden Red Door at Harrah’s
- Immersion Spa at the Water Club
- Qua Baths and Spa at Caesars
- Spa & Salon at Golden Nugget
- Spa Toccare at the Borgata
The casino resorts offer concerts, comedy shows, bars, lounges, dancing, casino table games and slot machines, and more. There is always entertainment offered somewhere. A few highlights are below.
- Boogie Nights (70s/80s dance club) at The Tropicana
- Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar (Cuban food, salsa dancing, floor show, palm trees, Havana in AC)
- Haven Night Club at the Golden Nugget (DJ, dancing, bar)
- Kelsey’s Soul Food & Supper Club (live jazz, soul, R&B)
- The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s (DJ, dancing, cabana service, night swimming, bar)
In the time you that could watch a movie, you could on the casino floor. The ultimate Atlantic City tropical adventure in winter would include lounging and swimming at The Pool at Harrah’s, dinner and dancing, or brunch at Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar, and sinking your toes in the sand at the Pier at Caesars. Add a massage, shopping, and wine tasting for an amazing getaway. Atlantic City in winter can actually be a lot fun and very relaxing.