Official Summer of 2015 Atlantic City Report
To many the Jersey Shore is the go to destination for summer vacation success. I was lucky enough to visit The Wildwoods, Brigantine, Ocean City, Cape May, and my latest stop Atlantic City all this summer. I saved my visit to AC last this way I could experience well established successful shore points before I gave this supposedly struggling city who is trying to become a family resort a try without spending one single dollar gambling.
This much is for sure. Ocean City, Cape May, and for most intents and purposes The Wildwoods have all the facilities, businesses, feeling of safety, and the science of providing a good time down to a science. Brigantine was very enjoyable as well, but this city provides a whole different beach scene then the others with no boardwalk to highlight so I will leave them out.
Now on to Atlantic City. It has been at least a decade since I have stayed overnight in this city, let alone an entire week. Many things have changed. Some for the good, some not. First the good. Their are more high end dining destinations around town since the last time I was there. Gordon Ramsay’s Pub and Grill’s meal was fabulous and the Beef Wellington is a must paired with a few Innis and Gunn Original pints to wash it down. Landshark Bar and Grill was a joy to visit, had better food than expected and the margaritas were the perfect way to wash it all down while watching the waves. Eastwind at Resorts provided a very personable service experience with better than average Asian food with a front row seat of the boardwalk’s hustle and bustle while eating. The Irish Pub was the perfect getaway from the glitz, glamour, and neon signs for a down home hello, affordable meal, and pint served with a smile. I noticed more families than I have ever seen walking the boards and in the casinos. There seemed to be a nice shopping experience at the outlets. The Atlantic Ocean was clean and clear, and the beaches were utilized much more than in the past.
Now the bad. Family friendly dining spots, destinations, accommodations, or things to do besides the Steel Pier were almost non-existent. The boardwalk would benefit from a stronger police presence. Aggressive panhandlers and those with substance abuse issues permeated public areas leaving visitors with a sense of diminished safety. Sadly the beach was completely littered with cigarette butts. The much publicized revival of a pier now called The Playground had more empty retail and dining space than occupied. I was refused service when I asked for it at a restaurant because I sat myself, even though I stood at the entrance for ten minutes while they just looked at me. The sight of so many empty casinos and tasteless boardwalk vendors was a bummer.
You could say the negatives sound terrible, but even with Atlantic City’s flaws, the entire family had a great time, made the best of every situation, and I had one of the best times I have ever had in AC without spending one cent gambling. I think we all know more casinos is not the answer for this town. If they work hard, put their minds towards transforming into a true family tourist area, push politics to the side, and spend money wisely, I see no reason why they can not be one of the East Coast’s premier vacation destinations. In fact I’d bet on it!