Hotels.com asked me to share these accessibility suggestions for Atlantic City, so I’m thrilled to bring you this article! As travel today remains uncertain, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times. If you are comfortable with traveling, please travel responsibly and within regulation. Any travel is at your own risk.
Atlantic City, New Jersey is a great coastal location that has something for everyone. The most well-known activities in Atlantic City are visiting the Jersey Shore and staying at a casino for some adult time, but there are so many other activities including whale watching, visiting the local wetland, the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey, the ballet, and tours of the local breweries or the historic village.
Each of these locations have wheelchair accessibility, making it easy to stroll the boardwalk, have a nice day in the sun, and dine with the family. Whether you’re planning a beachside trip or exploring beyond Atlantic City, there are great things to see and do all with accessible features.
Where to Stay in Atlantic City
There are a lot of wheelchair accessible accommodations in Atlantic City, but the hotels closest to the boardwalk and the main attractions are casino hotels. If you want to stay further away from the boardwalk and the beach, there are options, but staying at a casino hotel puts you really close to the boardwalk and beach, often a short distance across the street. This gives you access to dining, activities, and the beach, along with the attractions in the hotel just a short elevator ride away.
1: Hard Rock Hotel
When taking a trip, who doesn’t want to party like a rockstar? The Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City offers several ADA rooms, including a queen size or king size bed, in their north and south towers. This is a great location for observing the view and relaxing in style. The beds have pillow top mattresses and luxury linens for a comfortable and restful sleep. The ADA compliant bathrooms have a shower bench seat, roll-in shower, and adjustable shower head. Other room features include a lowered peep hole, door latch, thermostat, and curtain pulls. ADA rooms also include a hearing-impaired kit and doorbell.
2: Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City
Another great hotel option is Harrah’s, which has been recently renovated. There are several ADA rooms at this hotel with roll-in showers. These premium rooms are available in both towers, giving great views to look out on and a nice space to relax in. The hotel itself also has restaurants, an indoor pool, and a casino, so you could stay at the hotel for a resort-style experience in addition to exploring Atlantic City. This hotel does have more ADA room options compared to its sister hotel, Caesars, but both are good options for staying while in the city.
Wheelchair Accessible Atlantic City Attractions and Things to Do
1: Visit the Jersey Shore
One of the first places that comes to mind when people think of Atlantic City is the Jersey Shore. Both visiting the shore, or the beach, as well as the boardwalk are fun leisure activities that also offer lots of accessibility. A simple day at the beach can be a great way to relax on a vacation or a nice way to end a busy trip. Many of the Atlantic City beaches along the coast offer free access to the beach, where you can watch the water, have a great time in the sand, stroll the paths, or even go for a swim.
The Jersey Shore is broken up into districts, and each of the 11 districts have a wheelchair accessible beach. Features include outdoor showers, ADA compliant restrooms, beach access ramps from the boardwalk, a beach access mat at Bartram Ave, and beach surf chairs. Beach surf chairs are available upon request from beach patrol, but may not always be available since they’re on a first come, first served basis.
Typical Jersey Shore visits include the boardwalk, in addition to lounging on the beach or playing in the surf. The boardwalk is a long stretch of wooden planks that separate the sand and shore from the casinos along the coast. It’s said that the boardwalk was placed in 1870 specifically to keep the sand out of the casinos. Now, it’s a strip of shops and restaurants to enhance the beach going experience and give visitors a break from the casino. Specific locations along the boardwalk also provide wheelchair access ramps to the beach, either as a wooden ramp or as access to the beach mat path, depending on which location you visit.
The boardwalk itself is wheelchair accessible and is a short distance from many popular hotels. The boardwalk is wide and relatively flat, with wooden planks along the distance. Shops and restaurants along the boardwalk are generally wheelchair accessible as well.
2: Caesars Atlantic City
In addition to immediately thinking of the beach, many people think of the casinos in Atlantic City, and no trip to the shore is complete without visiting a casino if you’re old enough to gamble. Caesars Atlantic City is a fantastic casino to visit because it offers a complete casino experience with table games including poker, blackjack, and craps. There’s also a sports betting room, where you can catch the games and wager your bets, and plenty of slots for those that enjoy the flashing lights and payouts.
Beyond the standard table games and slots you can find at most casinos, Caesars is also home to Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill, a genuine British pub right in New Jersey. If you’re a fan of good food, or of celebrity chefs, this is a must-see place. This restaurant is modeled after the Pub and Grill in Las Vegas and offers the iconic Beef Wellington from Ramsay’s show Hell’s Kitchen.
Both the casino and restaurant are wheelchair accessible. Many table games and slots have removable stools to accommodate wheelchairs. The restaurant has a range of seating options and is between the main lobby and casino floor, providing easy access to all the services at Caesars. The entire property, including the casino, hotel, and restaurants, strive to provide an excellent experience to all guests and offer accessible accommodations.
3: Cape May Whale Watcher Cruise
Venturing beyond the beach to explore the ocean around Atlantic City is possible with a Cape May Whale Watcher Cruise. This company provides a range of cruises, from day cruises for dolphin or whale watching to dinner cruises and even specialty cruises depending on when you visit. Specialty cruises include a sunset lighthouse cruise, a grand lighthouse cruise, and a fireworks cruise. Whale watches and dolphin watching are always a fun way to get out into the ocean and see the wildlife as well as take in the view, the weather, and the experience of being out on the water.
The boat is wheelchair accessible with the use of a ramp to provide a smooth transition from the dock to the boat itself. The entire lower deck of the boat is also wheelchair accessible, including the open-air cabin and partially closed areas. Each area provides great views, so you can be comfortable and enjoy the trip no matter where you are on the lower deck. The restroom on board is not wheelchair accessible, but most wheelchair users can access with some assistance.
4: Absecon Lighthouse
Being right along the shore, Atlantic City is a great place to explore the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey. The Absecon Lighthouse is a decommissioned lighthouse that still has its original lens in place at the top. While it’s not an in-use lighthouse, the light is turned on every night to be enjoyed by everyone. The lighthouse is 171 feet tall, making it the tallest lighthouse in the entire state, and has 228 steps from the bottom to the top. Visitors can climb the tower for a fee, but the climb is not wheelchair accessible.
The property around the lighthouse is wheelchair accessible, so everyone can visit the location, see the light, and explore the grounds. In addition to the lighthouse, there is a Keeper’s Cottage, outdoor exhibits, and a community garden. All of this along with being right on the water makes this a fun destination for a few hours to relax and enjoy the ocean air, as well as take photos with the lighthouse and learn more about its history.
5: Wetlands Institute
For some fun outside of the city, plan a visit to the Wetlands Institute to learn more about the local wildlife and conservation efforts in the area. The main focus of the Wetlands Institute is to educate the public about wetland conservation and to help everyone understand the importance of wetland and coastal ecosystems. This is not directly in Atlantic City, but it’s a great opportunity to enjoy the natural landscape the coast offers and to connect with nature where the land and water meet. It’s a great outdoor venue for exploring and learning more about the surrounding area. The main draw to the wetlands is the elevated walkway, a raised dock type path that lets visitors walk or roll into the wetland from above. The views are great from here and allowing people to connect with the wetlands from this vantage point increases education and appreciation.
The walkway is also ADA compliant, giving everyone the opportunity to learn about the marsh and its fragility. For wheelchair users, there are two wheelchair ramps along the nature trail to provide access to the 720-foot-long elevated walkway. The walkway is aluminum, so it may be slippery when wet. It is elevated 4 feet into the air and is 6 feet wide at any one point along the path.
6: Atlantic City Ballet
Atlantic City has a little bit of everything, so while it’s a great place to visit the beach and see a show or do some gambling, it’s also a great place to explore fine arts like ballet. The Atlantic City Ballet provides seasonal shows, both with new modern themes and classic shows as well. Depending on the time of year, they also provide a virtual season, giving people anywhere the opportunity to catch their performances.
The Atlantic City Ballet strives to provide access to all visitors and can accommodate all people with some advanced notice. In addition to wheelchair accessible seats, ACB can provide assisted listening, audio description, and other accessible aids with 2-3 weeks advance notice of your visit. Tickets may be purchased in advance on the website, where the full season schedule is provided.
7: City Brew Tours of South Jersey
The adult fun continues in Atlantic City with the ability to tour the city’s breweries with City Brew Tours. This company compiles a list of breweries to take visitors around to sample the local brews, either in a public tour or as a private tour. This is a great opportunity to spend a day enjoying the city and visiting a bunch of breweries. City Brew Tours provides transportation and an itinerary to the brewery stops.
City Brew Tours are wheelchair accessible, as most of the breweries on the list are wheelchair accessible and the list of potential breweries are available on the website so you can plan ahead if you’d like. The private tours van only accommodates folding wheelchairs that can be stored in the rear of the van, but if you call ahead to set up a private or public tour, they can answer your specific questions about wheelchair accommodations.
How to Get Around Atlantic City
One of the best ways to get around Atlantic City is to choose a hotel near the boardwalk, as everything is within walking distance along this part of the city. With the main tourist location being the boardwalk and beaches, the hotels, casinos, and restaurants are all very close to this location. It’s easy enough to get around from the hotel to the boardwalk with pathways, sidewalks, and the boardwalk itself.
Another option for traveling larger distances in Atlantic City is the bus service, NJ Transit. The bus system is 100% accessible no matter the line or time of day. All buses have either a lift or a ramp to provide access for wheelchairs and those with mobility aids. All of the buses can also “kneel”, that is where the bus lowers to meet the curb, and this can be done by simply asking the bus driver for assistance.
Atlantic City has so much to offer, from the traditional beach time, whale watching, and casino fun, to exploring the city with a brew tour, lighthouse spotting, and even learning about the ecology at the wetlands. Now that there’s information about where to stay, how to get around, and what to do, anyone can feel ready to plan a wheelchair accessible trip to Atlantic City.
Hi Cory, You are a true Hero. Your blog has really motivated me to travel around the world and enjoy the beauty it has to offer. Stay HAPPY and keep INSPIRING!!!