6 Things to Do in Atlantic City for Those Who Don’t Gamble  

You don’t have to roll the dice for these family-friendly activities off the casino floor

Look up, then climb over 200 steps, and look out over the New Jersey shoreline at the Absecon Lighthouse.


The casinos of Atlantic City, New Jersey, make this shore town a paradise for people looking to test their luck. But others might wonder if there are things to do in Atlantic City besides gambling. Good news! For families, foodies, history buffs and, well, everyone, there’s plenty to do beyond the casinos. Add some of these spots to your to-do list and discover the variety America’s Playground has to offer.

Take a peek from the Absecon Lighthouse—Jersey shore’s peak spot

At Pacific and Rhode Island Avenues, you’ll find the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey, and a big dose of history too. Among the oldest lighthouses in the country, the Absecon Lighthouse still boasts one of the only remaining first-order Fresnel lenses, which was first lit in 1857. The 228 steps to the top are worth it for the awesome views of Atlantic City. Also, a recent top-to-bottom restoration includes a new educational museum and gift shop. Throughout the summer, the lighthouse hosts special events, including free yoga on the grounds and sunset and moonrise climbs that offer unrivaled night-sky panoramas.

Lucy the Elephant—Visitors will never forget this landmark

America’s oldest roadside attraction—and near the top of the list of things to do in Atlantic City—Lucy the Elephant is one of the area’s most famous residents and can be seen for miles around. The 65-foot-tall pachyderm was constructed in 1881 as a gimmick to lure land buyers to the region’s beachfront properties. In the nearly 140 years since, she’s survived storms, abandonment and even a fire. Today, she’s been restored to her former glory, and both kids and adults will love peering out the windows from inside, and climbing to the “howdah,” or observation platform, on Lucy’s back. You’ll be in good company, too—over the years, presidents, celebrities and even royalty have come from all over the world to visit this National Historic Landmark.

Atlantic City Aquarium—Turtles, sharks and rays, oh my!

Moon jellies are just one of the many aquatic species to be found at this Atlantic City attraction, which has been open to visitors since 1999.

Atlantic City might be by the sea, but a visit to the Atlantic City Aquarium feels a little like diving below it. You’ll get up close and personal with bizarre creatures like moray eels and horseshoe crabs, see sharks and rays and pay a visit to Groman, the attraction’s friendly loggerhead sea turtle. While you’re in the area, explore the rest of historic Gardner’s Basin, an Atlantic City neighborhood that offers shopping, waterfront dining and dolphin-spotting.

Learn more about the coast at the Wetlands Institute

Get out of the city and back in touch with nature during a visit to the Wetlands Institute. You can hear about the work the institute’s experts do to protect the flora and fauna of the New Jersey coastline and have a blast (while learning!) on boat rides, paddleboard and kayak trips led by the institute’s naturalists. Take a guided tour through the dunes and keep an eye out for the many species that thrive in this unique ecosystem.

Once upon a time can happen at Storybook Land

A few miles from Atlantic City, there’s a fairy-tale land waiting to be discovered. Storybook Land is an amusement park based on classic children’s stories and nursery rhymes and has been delighting young children since it opened in 1955. Admission to the park includes unlimited rides, most of which are suited for younger kids. Between thrills, wander through the storybook attractions, playing out once-upon-a-times and happily-ever-afters, or visit the Gingerbread House for a quick snack.

Tuckerton Seaport—Experience maritime life, past and present

Families will enjoy a visit to Tuckerton Seaport, a maritime village museum with hands-on exhibits that bring history to life.

Just 30 minutes from the heart of Atlantic City, the Tuckerton Seaport is an authentic working museum where the whole family can experience the area’s maritime history firsthand. Visit with boat builders, decoy carvers, fishermen, whalers, oystermen and lighthouse keepers as they bring the traditions of the past to life. Take a leisurely stroll along the half-mile nature trail and spot the loblolly pine—the second largest tree in the state. You’ll find incredible restaurants nearby, like Allen’s Clam Bar, 6 miles to the south. It’s a local favorite, serving up fried lobster tails that are beloved for a reason.

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