7 Ways to Have Fun without Gambling in Atlantic City

Most of the 27 million people who visit Atlantic City each year come to gamble. However, if you are one of those looking for entertainment outside of the casinos, there is still plenty to do and see.

Check out the following list for some ideas on where to go:

  1. The Boardwalk

Lined with beaches, resorts, and five-star restaurants, the Boardwalk is a great place to do some serious people watching. The four-mile stretch, which dates back to 1870, is in walking distance to beaches, where you can surf or bask in the sun. Each night, the Moment’s Factory lights up the Boardwalk Hall every half hour for the Boardwalk Beat. The three-dimensional sound and light show runs for eight and a half minutes.

  1. Absecon Lighthouse

Absecon Lighthouse

Image courtesy Kenneth Hagemeyer | Flickr

The third-tallest lighthouse in the nation, the Absecon Lighthouse is a good place from which to view Atlantic City’s skyline. The structure, which was built in 1857, was restored in 2003. The renovation included the creation of a keeper’s dwelling as well as an overhaul of the two-acre site. Be prepared to climb 228 steps to reach the top of the lighthouse. Once there, you can relax and enjoy a 360-degree view of the city.

The lighthouse is open Thursdays through Mondays from 11 am to 4 pm year-round. It only closes for two weeks to observe Christmas and New Year’s. Make sure to arrive no later than half an hour before closing during July and August to ensure you gain admission.

  1. Qua Baths and Spa

For many travelers, a wonderful spa experience can be the highlight of a trip. Caesars Atlantic City is home to Qua Baths and Spa, the ultimate relaxation experience that puts a contemporary spin on Roman baths.

The stoned-walled sanctuary offers a tranquil environment with three pools, 15 treatment rooms, and four facial facilities. Among the services offered are the O2 Body Perfection Treatment and a classic Swedish massage. For a more extravagant experience, try the Qua Signature Dieci Mani. You get to enjoy Roman baths, full-body exfoliation, Swedish and hot-stone massages from four masseuses at once, detoxifying moor mud, a hand and foot treatment, a Shirodhara treatment, a facial, and a 180-minute paraffin treatment. The Dieci Mani finishes with chakra balancing.

  1. Steel Pier

Open on weekends from the end of March through mid-June, Steel Pier is an amusement and entertainment hub that extends 1,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. The pier features traditional rides, like the Ferris wheel and carousel, as well as more daring ones, such as the Freedom Flyer and the Slingshot. The Steel Pier also provides helicopter rides that give you a great bird’s-eye view of the Jersey shore and Atlantic City. Prices range from $49 to $74 and include options for purchasing photos. If you want, you can also customize the experience and build your own tour.

  1. Atlantic City Country Club

Named the top public course in New Jersey by Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, and Golf Week, the Atlantic City Country Club is famous for being the place where the term “birdie” was coined. The 100-year-old championship venue offers well-maintained fairways and deep sand bunkers. It also provides challenges such as salt-water marshes and natural ponds that can only be cleared with a long drive. Depending on the time of year, you can reserve a tee time and a golf cart for as little as $59. Make sure to dress appropriately for the venue; it is a non-metal-spike facility.

  1. Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival

food and wine festival

Image courtesy COD Newsroom | Flickr

Presented by Caesars Entertainment, the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival resumes in 2016 following a hiatus in 2015. The annual summertime event has previously welcomed a host of celebrity chefs, ranging from Rocco DiSpirito to Robert Irvine.

In 2016, Gordon Ramsey and Hell’s Kitchen winner LaTasha McCutchen will join Guy Fieri and Steve Martorano to celebrate gastronomy with culinary demonstrations and tastings. As the festival nears, Caesars Entertainment will provide additional information about the event on its Facebook page.

  1. Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights, located in the Tropicana Casino & Resort, gives you a place to dance the night away. The club pays tribute to the disco era with 1970s- and 1980s-style decor and an illuminated dance floor equipped with a hanging mirror ball. Each evening, you can expect special appearances by celebrity impersonators, like Madonna and Michael Jackson.

Boogie Nights also plans special events, such as glow parties and singles mixers, and it welcomes private parties to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. Call in advance to book one of their many themed rooms.

Where to Go for the Most Unique Experiences in Kauai

From its clear ocean waters to its verdant forests, Kauai has something for every vacationer. At Bluegreen’s Pono Kai Resort, a 13-acre oceanfront oasis along Kauai’s Coconut Coast, you can take advantage of numerous on-site amenities, such as putting greens and tennis courts, or visit Guest Services to reserve a spot at the next luau. Kauai’s famous beaches and sparkling waters are also perfect for surfing, snorkeling, and paddle boarding.

While you are staying at the Pono Kai Resort, be sure to enjoy all the sites and experiences that make Kauai special. Here are some of the most unique sites to explore:

Opaekaa Falls

Opaekaa Falls

Image courtesy Sarah Richter | Flickr

Widely known as one of the most accessible waterfalls in Kauai, Opaekaa Falls is conveniently located near the Pono Kai Resort in the Wailua area on the east side of the island. Just two miles up Route 580 from Highway 56, there is a roadside lookout point where you can admire the view of the falls and take pictures.

The waterfall is named Opaekaa, or “rolling shrimp,” because the creatures once populated the stream that feeds the falls. While visiting Opaekaa Falls, you can also walk above the lookout point to catch a view of the Wailua River valley and the surrounding plains.

Kilohana Estate

The Kilohana Estate is located just outside of Lihue, a 15-minute drive from Wailua. A restored plantation, the site features tours of a 16,000-square-foot 1930’s Tudor-style mansion. The historic 35-acre estate was once a sugar plantation that played a central role in Kauai’s business, social, and cultural life.

Surrounded by manicured lawns, the Kilohana Estate now offers tropical gardens, Gaylord’s restaurant, and distinctive shops, such as the Koloa Rum Company. You can also explore an old plantation village and tour Kilohana’s working farm with Classic Kauai Plantation Railway. Along with the regularly held Luau Kalamaku, Kilohana Estate often hosts weddings and other special events.

Nounou Mountain

For more adventures on the east side of Kauai, take a hike along the Nounou Mountain range, which is better known as the “Sleeping Giant” because of its distinct shape. Looking at the mountain range from a distance, many people see the shape of a human figure at rest. Hawaiian legend states that the giant slumbers because villagers long ago tricked him into consuming a large number of rocks concealed in poi and fish.

It’s less than two miles from the trail head on Halelilo Road in Wailua to the top of Sleeping Giant along the scenic Nounou Trail. At the top of the ridge, you are rewarded with stunning views of east Kauai.

Napali Coast

Napali Coast

Image courtesy Phillip MacAuliffe | Flickr

From Wailua, it’s only an hour’s drive to the Napali Coast on the North Shore of Kauai, where the 17-mile coastline has become one of the most famous sections of terrain on the island. The Napali Coast is renowned for its steep cliffs, lush hills, rugged valleys, and plummeting waterfalls.

If you’re interested in discovering the magnificent landscape on foot, you’ll need to start at Kee Beach and take the 11-mile Kalalau Trail—the only one through the Napali area—to its end at the quiet Kalalau Beach. Often a treacherous journey, hiking on the trail is discouraged in the winter, and camping permits are required if you spend more than one day on the trail.

Those who don’t want to hike the area can still appreciate the beauty of the Napali Coast by touring the coastline by water or air. Boat tours and guided kayaking trips offer breathtaking views of the sea cliffs, while helicopter tours deliver exquisite panoramas of the coastline.

Spouting Horn Park

In Spouting Horn Park on Kauai’s South Shore, you can discover one of the most photographed sites on the island, the Spouting Horn blowhole. The Spouting Horn blowhole is created by large swells on the Poipu coast that travel through a natural lava tube and explode out the top with “a hiss and a roar” that is part of a Hawaiian legend. According to the legend, the sounds are from a lizard that once defended the coastline and was trapped in the lava tube by a young boy.

Spouting Horn Park’s lookout point also offers spectacular sunset views and whale watching opportunities when humpback whales visit the coastline between December and May.

Kauai Gardens

As a tropical wonderland, Kauai has earned the title “The Garden Isle” and boasts three of the five National Tropical Botanical Gardens in the country. The north side of Kauai features the Limahuli Gardens, which is a 17-acre sanctuary for endangered native plants and agricultural terraces. On the South Shore, the McBryde Garden houses the world’s most extensive assembly of native Hawaiian plants and Allerton Gardens grows the giant Moreton Figs featured in Jurassic Park.

You can explore more Hawaiian flora at Smith’s Tropical Paradise Botanical Garden, Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens, and the Kauai Coffee Plantation.

5 Outdoor Attractions to Enjoy in Wonderful Atlantic City

Renowned for its casinos and historic boardwalk, Atlantic City is a popular destination for travelers interested in an exciting East Coast getaway. You won’t miss a moment of the action when you stay with Bluegreen at Atlantic Palace, a contemporary 31-story resort situated on the Atlantic City Boardwalk with views of the Atlantic Ocean. On the Boardwalk, you will be surrounded by a wide range of diversions, including shows by the world’s best performers, luxurious spas, and cuisine prepared by some of the top chefs in the country.

However, Atlantic City offers much more than just gaming and lavish leisure opportunities. The city is also rich with sandy beaches and open-air attractions that let you really relax. To take a break from the casinos and other indoor activities, check out these five outdoor destinations:

The Steel Pier

Atlantic City Steel Pier

Image courtesy Kevin Jarrett | Flickr

A fun destination for visitors of all ages, the Steel Pier is located right on the Atlantic City Boardwalk and extends 1,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. The Steel Pier was first opened in 1898 as a theater and soon became famous for hosting some of the best entertainment in the world. For example, the Pier has presented legendary shows like the Diving Horse and renowned entertainers such as Frank Sinatra and The Beatles.

After a recent $23 million renovation, the Pier is now prepared for the modern visitor, with updated arcade games, delicious food, and 25 rides that range from gentle to extreme. The Pier also features an ocean-front family restaurant and bar that frequently features live entertainment.

From the Steel Pier, you can experience stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Atlantic City skyline. Helicopter rides from the Pier are also available, giving you a birds-eye view of the shoreline, the city, or a combination of both.

The Atlantic City Fishing & Dive Center

Enjoy some fresh ocean air and take a tour with the Atlantic City Fishing & Dive Center. The Center offers a number of cruises and charters, including bottom-fishing and sport-fishing charters on boats that are inspected twice a year and certified by the United States Coast Guard.

On year-round charters, you can fish for various ocean species, such as shark, seabass and cod, while other sea life can be fished on a seasonal basis. For instance, winter flounder fishing charters are available in the spring and Mahi Mahi fishing trips are conducted between July and September.

The Atlantic City Fishing & Dive Center also offers sightseeing and party cruises so anyone can experience Atlantic City from a different perspective. Skyline tours journey along the picturesque coastline and sunset tours reveal the city in its best light.

The Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm

wind farm

Image courtesy ToneOne | Flickr

Located at Atlantic City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm is the first wind farm in New Jersey. It features five, 380-foot turbines that can produce enough energy to power nearly 2,500 homes.

The wind farm works in combination with the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) solar energy project to power the wastewater treatment plant, and since its founding in 2005, the farm has reduced ACUA energy costs by more than $3.8 million. The ACUA wind farm and solar project also prevent an average of nearly 9,000 metric tons of CO2 from infiltrating the atmosphere annually. According to the ACUA, the Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm is unique as an urban, eastern, coastal, on-shore, industrial and multi-turbine wind farm.

The ACUA offers tours of the facility and will customize the experience based on the group’s interests and age levels. There are two tours available: one tour focuses on the Haneman Environmental Park and another tour explores the wind farm, the solar project, and the wastewater treatment center.

The Senator Frank S. Farley State Marina

At the Senator Frank S. Farley State Marina, experienced boaters can rent one of the marina’s 640 floating slips, which can accommodate yachts as long as 300 feet. The harbor is sufficiently sheltered, with no wakes and a minimal current, and dock attendants can even help boaters navigate the slip. As a registered marina guest, you have access to private showers, bathrooms, and the on-site fuel dock.

You can also visit the marina for a casual dining experience at The Deck, one of the two restaurants located in the two-story marina building. The Deck also hosts outdoor entertainment when the weather permits.

The Civil Rights Garden

Image courtesy SortofNatural | Flickr

Image courtesy SortofNatural | Flickr

To experience more of the beauty and history Atlantic City has to offer, visit the Civil Rights Garden on Pacific Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard. The public sculpture garden honors the pivotal role Atlantic City played in the Civil Rights Movement with a tranquil arrangement of Gingko trees, flowers, and winding pathways. As a tribute to the leaders behind the Civil Rights Movement, the Garden also includes 11 granite columns and sculptures with inscriptions about notable people and historic events.

The Civil Rights Garden in Atlantic City is also the site of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day ceremony in January and other related events, such as the Fannie Lou Hamer commemorative ceremony.

5 Things You Need to Experience in the St. Pete Beach Area

Kayaks in St. Petersburg. The tour company offers guided or self-guided kayak trips through Weedon Island Preserve, a pristine area with lush mangroves and plenty of wildlife. The relaxing, two- to five-hour trips are available during the day or night. On a customized expedition, you can also kayak on the Suwannee River, visit the Everglades, or venture outside US waters.

RumFish Grill

shrimp scampiLocated on Gulf Boulevard in St. Pete Beach, RumFish Grill combines aquatic-themed entertainment with high-quality dining and shopping. RumFish Grill specializes in delicious seafood, but the grill’s primary attraction is a full-wall aquarium that was built by the professionals on Tanked, Animal Planet’s hit TV series.

In the 33,500 gallon tank, there is a wide range of fish native to the Gulf of Mexico, including grouper and a 4-foot moray eel. The aquarium is also home to coral habitats and another 20 species of fish, such as spotted trout, redfish, and snook. Informative displays offer more details about featured marine life, and educational tours are available for a more in-depth experience.

Beach Escape Game

For a one-of-a-kind interactive experience just off St. Pete Beach, visit Beach Escape Game and test your wits against a small group of family members or friends. You have one hour to solve puzzles, collaborate with your teammates, and crack codes to escape from one of the center’s themed rooms.

When you play in the Lost Treasure room, you are tasked with searching a ship wreck and finding the lost treasure sought by Captain Eli Godsey. If you don’t find the treasure in 60 minutes, you might have to walk the plank! Beach Escape also features a Honky Tonk room and an Espionage room.

Water Sports

With warm waters and consistent gulf breezes, St. Pete Beach is the perfect place to learn a new water sport, such as kiteboarding (also called kitesurfing or flysurfing). The Best Pro-Kiteboarding Center is a gear rental and instruction facility in St. Pete Beach that offers lessons taught by certified kitesurfing instructors. After completing the in-person instructional courses, students receive an ID card that states their ability level.

The smooth waters around St. Pete Beach are also ideal for stand-up paddle boarding. With Water Monkey, a stand-up paddle boarding company located 10 minutes from St. Pete Beach, you can rent gear, take an introductory lesson, and book a nature tour. The lessons are taught by professional instructors who cover the paddling boarding basics, from standing up on the board to using the paddle properly. On the two-hour guided nature tour, you can explore the beautiful Fort De Soto Park and encounter one of the most spectacular bird sanctuaries in Florida.

The Dali Museum

dali museumThe Dali Museum in St. Petersburg is one of the main attractions in the central Gulf coast area. Just 20 minutes away from St. Pete Beach, the museum features the work of the celebrated artist Salvador Dali, who is renowned for his unusual and highly technical sculptures, paintings, and interactive pieces. Many credit the Spanish artist with sensationalizing surrealism and pioneering a new era of creative expression.

At the museum, the galleries on the third floor display some of Dali’s paintings and other work, while the second floor houses an extensive library. The first floor has a theater, an art classroom, and a shop with a wide range of Dali-inspired merchandise.

A helical staircase in the museum also references Dali’s fascination with spirals and the double helical shape of DNA molecules. Outside the building, you can explore a labyrinth and meander through the Mathematical Garden, which examines the connection between nature and math.

Best Sites to Visit for a Look at the Past in Gulf Shores

Are you looking for a vacation destination with soft sand beaches and plenty of leisure activities? Then set your sights on the Gulf Shores, the serene community on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, where Bluegreen Resorts offers Shoreline Towers and Paradise Isle Resort. In Gulf Shores, you can listen to the gentle waves while relaxing on the beach or go deep-sea fishing, parasailing, and dolphin sightseeing.

History enthusiasts and Civil War aficionados are also drawn to Gulf Shores by the many historical sites in the area. Here are some of the top sites to visit if you want to experience the past in Gulf Shores:

Fort Morgan

fort morgan

Image courtesy nola.agent | Flickr

Constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1819 and 1833, Fort Morgan is situated on Mobile Point at the tip of the scenic Morgan Peninsula, where the bay and the Gulf of Mexico intersect. The Third System masonry fort was named after Revolutionary War hero General Daniel Morgan and it went on to become a crucial battle site during the Civil War.

Seized by the Confederate Army in 1861, Fort Morgan was retaken by Union naval forces in 1864 after one of the most powerful Union attacks on a single fort. In the years after the Battle of Mobile Bay, Fort Morgan was refortified and adapted for intermittent use during the Spanish American War and both World Wars.

Along with fort tours, you can explore the Museum at Fort Morgan to witness 200 years of artifacts, including uniforms and artillery, or enjoy the surrounding landscapes with beach access.

Swift-Coles Historic Home

Located just 20 minutes from Gulf Shores in Bon Secour, the Swift-Coles Historic Home allows you to experience the charm of historic Southern architecture and learn about the area’s history. The structure was initially built as a four-room home along the Bon Secour River in 1882. After Charles and Susan Swift purchased the home in 1898, they expanded it in 1902 and 1908 to raise their 11 children. The family also started a lumber business that still operates in southern Alabama. Over the years, much of the white, two-story manor house has been preserved in its early state.

The Swift-Coles Historic Home is currently maintained by the Baldwin County Historic Development Commission, and visitors can take guided tours of the house on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Fort Gaines

At Fort Gaines, you can take a step back in time by taking fort tours conducted by knowledgeable guides dressed in period uniforms. You can explore the fort’s original blacksmith shop, cannons, tunnels, and kitchens, which are all situated on the eastern end of Dauphin Island. During the Civil War, Fort Gaines played a key role in the Battle of Mobile Bay and it’s where the renowned Union leader Admiral Farragut famously commanded “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” To bring the past to life, Fort Gaines also provides blacksmithing and cannon firing demonstrations.

Fort Gaines’ well-preserved ramparts have defended Mobile Bay for more than 150 years, and the Fort has been listed as one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites in America because of persistent shoreline erosion.

Gulf Shores Museum

The Gulf Shores Museum showcases artifacts and local treasures that tell the story of Gulf Shores. For example, the museum houses a 1950s steeple from Oyster Bay Baptist Church and a 1940s ship mast donated by a local boatyard. The building that houses these historic pieces also has a past, as it was originally a beachfront cottage constructed before World War II. Donated to the city of Gulf Shores more than 35 years ago, the home has additionally served as a community center and library. The Gulf Shores Museum, which is free to the public, is open between Tuesday and Saturday every week.

Battle of Mobile Bay Civil War Trail

For more Civil War history, you can tour the Battle of Mobile Bay Civil War Trail, which features more than 12 sites of action from the Battle of Mobile Bay and the following Overland Campaign. In addition to Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, the trail includes sites like Blakeley State Park and Magee Farm. Magee Farm is the last original Civil War surrender house and Blakeley State Park contains miles of pristine battlefields and parapets.

Many of the sites on the trail provide interpretive signs with firsthand accounts and detailed illustrations that tell the stories of Civil War ship captains, average soldiers, and fort commanders.

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

USS Alabama

Image courtesy Paul Newton | Flickr

When you visit the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, you get to explore the 680-foot war ship known as the “Mighty A,” which weathered almost 40 months of active duty in World War II and garnered nine Battle Stars. The ship was part of Pacific and Atlantic Ocean campaigns, but did not sustain any major damage or casualties.

In 1947, the USS Alabama was retired in Washington, and the Navy planned to scrap the ship in the 1960s. Alabama soon launched a campaign to save the USS Alabama and relocate her off the coast of Mobile. Since 1965, the ship has been open to the public, and more than 14 million visitors have discovered her decks. Another World War II vessel, the USS DRUM Submarine, was added to the park in 1969.

You should allow at least two hours to see everything at the park, and cameras are encouraged. Active duty members of the U.S. military and senior citizens can also get into the park for free.