In 1854 the Camden and Atlantic Railroad began train service between Philadelphia and the coast, and the first commercial hotel was built the same year. The first boardwalk was constructed in 1870 and soon after half a million people were visiting each year. To handle the traffic more lines followed, including the Reading Railroad. Sound familiar? Landmarks and street names of this town are properties on the board game Monopoly. The city's golden age came in the 1920's when speakeasy liquor flowed freely despite prohibition, and gambling flourished in back rooms between blocks of the big new hotels that had transformed the city. After the war the city's economic decline was a factor when voters approved gambling for Atlantic City in 1976.
The new Atlantic City of casinos and Trump mega-resorts is again a gay-popular destination. The New Jersey Civil Union law of 2007 helped, and having your ceremony here is a good reason to visit. Several resort hotels, along with the Convention & Visitors Authority have courted the pink dollar market, and gaming tables, entertainment and casino nightclubs are now big attractions, along with the beach and the world's longest boardwalk. There is also a gay nightclub in town, another nearby, and a clothing-optional gay guesthouse for men. Within easy reach of large gay communities of Philadelphia and New York, Washington or Baltimore, Atlantic City makes a great getaway destination.
Atlantic City Airport, has Spirit Airlines arrivals from over 40 international destinations, just 12 miles from the beach. NJ Transit has a few connections to Atlantic City (see airport link for details), but the hotel shuttles, taxis, or car rentals are a lot less complicated.
The Philadelphia Airport is another arrival option, with rail connections to the coast through the Philadelphia 30th Street Station. NJ Transit operates trains to Atlantic City, a dozen trips per day taking 90-100 minutes, costing $10 each way.
NJ Transit also runs twice daily bus service (route 319) from New York Port Authority Bus Terminal to Atlantic City, taking around 2.5 hours, for $36 each way.
The New York City Penn Station to Atlantic City ACES train service ended in 2012. Take AMTRAK to Philadelpia (30th Street) and switch there for the beach - or take the bus.
Media and resources
Out in Jersey covers gay news of the Garden State from offices in Trenton.
See the Atlantic City Weekly for casino entertainment, dining, movies, nightlife, gambling, news, and photos of the region.
The Atlantic City Restaurant Week (takes place in March) website lists most of the places to eat, here at the beach.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Atlantic City listings pages.
Gay in AC
Dusk Nightclub (2100 Pacific Ave), general public/mixed gay-friendly club at Caesars Atlantic City, mostly straight lounge/club, dancing, live music performances, guest DJs.
Ocean House (127 S Ocean Ave), men-only, 15 rooms in Queen Anne Victorian, town center on beach and boardwalk block, open year-round, cozy clothing-optional atmosphere, enclosed porch, common room, Wi-Fi, free parking.
Pro Bar (1133 Boardwalk), gay nightclub at the Resorts Casino Hotel, for two years Atlantic City's gayest nightclub. After 2013 season their management, rethinking the concept, promises ongoing LGBT or friendly events, but see website for 2014 updates.
Rainbow Room (55 S Bellevue Ave), gay club at Coconutz, open nightly from 6pm, drag pageants, weekend dancing, Saturday hot male strippers and midnight shows.
Ram's Head Inn (9 W White Horse Pike, Galloway), gay-friendly hotel with wood-burning fireplaces, restaurant serving traditional American fare, and casual dining at their Tavern and in the Courtyard.
For a late hour munchie fix visit: 24 Central Cafe (Mississippi & Boardwalk at Trump Plaza Hotel/ Casino), with breakfast all day, soups/sandwiches, and full meals; or 6ix A Bistro (Park Pl and Boardwalk, at Bally's), with 24-hour American classics, Sunday breakfast buffets, burgers/ sandwiches, and deli soups. Each of these resorts has a dozen or so more restaurants and cafes with a range of different cuisines.
The Borgata Buffet (1 Borgata Way) is another resort option with quality breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner buffets. They also have a choice of six more casual, and five fine dining options.
See more Atlantic City restaurants, hotels and casino resorts at our maps & listings tab.