10 Alternatives to the Las Vegas Vacation

Atlantic City, N.J.
Atlantic City, with its boardwalk, entertainment and casinos, has been a popular travel destination for decades. ©SuperStock/SuperStock/Corbis

Atlantic City was once best known for blue-haired elderly ladies and nickel slots. Both are still there in spades, but the place has changed.

The "East Coast's Las Vegas" has put money into glamming things up [source: Groene]. High-class casinos now join the ranks of the city's 12 gambling establishments, handily located off the main boardwalk, complete with spas, fine dining and easy access to stores that only the 1 percent can afford [source: TripAdvisor].

Still, plenty of AC's casinos are from the old school, for those looking for something more down-to-earth. For families, more wholesome entertainment like roller coasters, parasailing, a lighthouse tour and dolphin-watching expeditions are all in close proximity to the gaming destinations. After suffering damage in 2012's Hurricane Sandy, Atlantic City is eager to return to its classic tourist destination form.

While you're on the boardwalk, pick up some salt water taffy. It's almost certainly as good as you've imagined.