I couldn't decide where I wanted to go for the weekend; someplace new. It was past Labor Day, which opens many more possibilities, especially for beach destinations along the East Coast. At other times the beaches are simply too crowded. I looked at the map, plotted a course and told the kids to pack a bag, we're going to Atlantic City!
I've been to some of the great American boardwalks like Santa Cruz, Venice Beach, Virginia Beach, Myrtle Beach and Rehoboth Beach, and I have to say Atlantic City, New Jersey has to be my second favorite so far.
The boardwalk extends for about 4 miles and seems to be a city in and of itself, with casino after casino, small tourist shops and mom and pop restaurants, as well as the ever present "rolling chairs". There is even a mall that extends out over the water, for those who are not fortunate enough to be staying in the high end casinos on the beach, take a stroll through the mall to an open air patio area (see view in top photo).
Just across the boardwalk from the Tump Taj Mahal you can visit the amusement park on the pier. If you enjoy road food like I do, search for the French fries sold in three sizes: large, larger and really large. The "larger" size fed myself and my two kids!
Rolling chairs were all over and everywhere. At the end of an incredible day and walking the beach and boardwalk it was time to walk the mile and a half back down the boardwalk to our hotel.
Malimu (below) was a rolling chair operator from the Ivory Coast, in West Africa, who had been hustling riders on his chair for the last two years. I haggled a price to take my two kids and I the mile down the boardwalk and we jumped in. He told me most of the operators are from West Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh, with a few others thrown in too. He and my son struck up a conversation in French which led us to the end of the ride. I really do recommend this experience if you go to the boardwalk, and although I didn't get to do it at night, I suspect the experience would be one even the most hardened traveler would enjoy.
On the north end of the boardwalk is the Absecon Lighthouse, and for a very reasonable price you can walk the 278 steps to the top for one of the very best views in town (below). The view looking north is unobstructed by mega casinos and hotels.