A Visit To Atlantic City With No Casinos or Glitz

You won’t create any #FOMO visiting Atlantic City. There are better places to visit on the Jersey Shore, but last minute reservations and a bed & breakfast right by the ocean left us few choices. I love the beach in the morning and the late afternoon when the sun isn’t so strong. These are also the hours that you get the full benefits of the sun’s rays, so a bed & breakfast a minute from the shore was essential!

Having grown up by the Caribbean, I know that at night is when all of the creatures come out. This photo above was just after a crab bit my foot. I ran out of the ocean as fast as I could and made it with just a small bite mark on my foot.

The first evening, we discovered some brilliant sand sculptures.

The next day, late in the afternoon, we saw the artists at work: a man and his two teenage sons. He told us they enjoy passing the time on the beach creating these….. but we found out it’s more than just that!

The father was one of the finalists in the The 9th Annual Ashore Realty Amateur Sand Castle Building Contest that had just taken place the week before on a nearby beach. The father appears in the first photo in this Press of Atlantic City article.

Every June, you can also see the International Sand Sculpture Tournament! These sand sculptures are true works of art.

Why Are There So Many Sand Sculpture Tournaments In Atlantic City?

Sand is very different everywhere you go. Very white sand means there are a lot of traces of quartz. Hawaii has a beach with green sand and California has a beach with purple sand.

Here in Atlantic City, there’s clay in the sand, making this an ideal place for sand sculptures!

The ocean here is rich in marine life.

These sanderlings were so much fun to watch as they ran toward the receding waves to eat the crustaceans and then quickly ran away from the incoming waves. I moved some wet sand with my foot and found hundreds of these tiny crustaceans!

Recommended Bed & Breakfast: The Chelsea Pub and Inn

The Chelsea Inn & Pub are two Victorian-style houses built in 1880, now connected on the first and second floors.

My blogger-friend Julie loves bed & breakfast hotels. TripAdvisor rates The Chelsea Inn & Pub the best bed and breakfast in the area. The weekday rates were good too. It’s just one block from the boardwalk and beach, which meant we could walk along the shore early in the morning and again, later in the evening.

The lobby is three connected rooms with comfortable chairs, travel books from all over the world, posters of Atlantic City in its best days and artful photos of Paris!

The dining room is open for breakfast from 9am until 10:30. The woman who manages the hotel prepares breakfast and restocks all the food. She and the staff keep the hotel very clean. The bedsheets smell wonderful and you can run your finger anywhere in the hotel and you won’t find any dust!

One nice touch: the pitchers of juice and milk are covered work plastic wrap, with just enough of an opening to pour yourself a glass.

All of the rooms are listed online, complete with photos, so you can choose the room you want! Ours was the French-style with a picture of Monet’s Water Lillies, where we were standing just a month ago!

What Is Atlantic City Like?

One of the interesting things about travel is learning all about the place you’re visiting.

Atlantic City is not a nice city to visit, though. Casino gambling was legalized in 1977 but this didn’t do much to improve the standard of living in Atlantic City. Since 2006, when New York State and Pennsylvania allowed a few casinos to open, 50% of Atlantic City’s casinos have gone out of business and 10,000 people have lost their jobs. The boardwalk is a sad place to walk too.

We don’t like gambling or the glitz of casinos so there wasn’t much to do except the beach.

The Miss America beauty pageant is held in Atlantic City every year. This year’s winner is…..

There are some positive signs. The Hard Rock Cafe is re-opening Trump’s bankrupt Taj Mahal, but the city needs to expand beyond gambling. Stockton University is looking into buying a closed casino to use as a dormitory for its students. It’s interesting to learn about how a city struggles to re-define itself.

We visited the neighboring towns of Ventnor, a wealthy neighboring city where residents looked at us with suspicion and didn’t return our greetings because they didn’t know us, and Pleasantville, lower class but Hispanic where we were made to feel at home.

This was an unusual trip for us. We wanted a beach vacation close to home. We loved the beach and the bed & breakfast, but the city is a very sad place and wouldn’t be our type of destination even if things were going well for Atlantic City.

We had a wonderful, relaxing time exploring the beach life here (lazy days but hours walking on the sand each day is the best exercise you can get). You don’t have to go to some place far away or exotic to discover new things and enjoy yourself. You can enjoy yourself on the simplest vacation, even if it doesn’t make for the most exciting blog entry.

The drive home was very scenic along a two lane road where we stopped at various farm stores for fresh fruit and vegetables.

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