Whether or not you have a penchant for poker, slots or roulette, there’s more to Atlantic City than gaming–and it’s not just a summer playground, either. Take a gamble this season with this weekend itinerary to the iconic seaside town, less than a four-hour drive from Northern Virginia.
Check into your room at Seaview, a Dolce Hotel (pictured above), which has been an iconic fixture on the Jersey Shore for more than a century. The 670-acre property situated in Galloway on Reed’s Bay has 296 guest rooms and 16 suites and is just a short drive from Atlantic City. Hallways and rooms are decked out with old photos of 1920s-era guests in bathing costumes and golf attire, and the lobby boasts head shots of celebrities, politicians and other notable visitors. Rooms are decorated in calming muted tones, beds are topped with rich linens and down comforters and bathrooms tout marble flooring.
After you have settled in, take a dip in the indoor pool, which recently reopened with a maximum of 10 guests at any time. The space touts a retro feel with striped awnings, exposed brick, shuttered windows and a beach-inspired mural, and the 4-foot to 8-foot pool is heated to a comfortable temperature.
The hotel has several dining concepts, whose hours and offerings continue to be in flux due to state regulations. The main dining room is an airy circular space with socially-distanced tables, while the brick floor, dark leather and wrought iron chandeliers of the Coastal Grille lend more of a pub vibe. At either, start with an order of the addictive fried pickles with Cajun dipping sauce and clams steamed in local craft beer and Old Bay; standout entrees include Black Angus short ribs topped with lump crab and Hollandaise sauce, and you can actually add on a crab cake, lump crab, seared scallops or grilled shrimp to any platter. After dinner, sink into a sofa at the lobby bar and order a glass of wine or a Hendrick’s Martini.
The next morning, drive 15 minutes to Atlantic City for brunch at Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, started by South Jersey food critic and radio personality Scott Cronick. The outdoor space is particularly delightful, with patio furniture, a bar and large fire pit surrounded by Adirondack chairs. You’ll find more than a hundred craft beers available on draft and by the bottle, all selected by Cronick; the spicy Bloody Mary is a great eye-opener too, and the BeerGarita tops silver Tequila, lime juice and simple syrup with Allagash White. Start with lobster- and bacon-topped tater tots, followed by grilled mahi mahi or fried cod fish tacos or a breakfast sammy with eggs, bacon, and that Jersey favorite, pork roll.
Book a tasting at Little Water Distillery, a five-minute drive away, founded by brothers Mark and Eric Ganter. In a town that’s historically fostered quite a contentious and notorious relationship with alcohol (Mark will be the first to tell you that you can’t push a shovel into the ground in AC without hitting Prohibition-era glass), it’s the city’s first legal distillery. Taste their silver and dark rums, vodka distilled with pristine aquifer water and oyster shells for minerality and American whiskey. Spot the antique revolver encased in glass in the restroom, found while a local was digging around their backyard; it was the inspiration for their floral-tinged Rusted Revolver Gin, infused with local botanicals.
Stroll the Boardwalk, stopping into the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which houses one of the brand’s most impressive collections of rock and roll memorabilia including instruments, costumes and personal items. Take a ride on The Wheel at Steel Pier, a 227-foot-tall Ferris wheel that opened in 2017 with 40 temperature-controlled gondolas, each of which can hold 6 passengers. The 15-minute ride offers sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, Boardwalk, casinos and the city and bay beyond. Buy a box of fudge or salt water taffy as a souvenir (or fill a bag with your own preferred flavors) at James Candy Company, a fixture on the Boardwalk for decades.
After brunch at the hotel (try the bagel and lox platter, whose generous accoutrements include cream cheese, capers, red onion, tomato and cucumber), head out to one of the resort’s two golf courses to play nine or 18 holes. The Bay Course is a 6,366-yard links-style course with seaside views, deep pot bunkers and undulating greens, while the 6,731-yard Pines Course winds its way through the woodlands and offers elevation shifts, doglegs and large bunkers. There is also a 9-hole easy-going Turtle Course (named for the Diamondback Terrapins native the area) and a driving range. Before embarking on the drive home, grab a Jersey Burger Dog at the golf shop, a beef patty shaped to fit a hot dog bun, which also tucks in a slice of pork roll, cheese and pickle.
For more stories like this, subscribe to our Travel newsletter.