COVID-19 doesn’t have to mean the end to your summer 2020 vacation to Atlantic City or any of the shore points. There are still plenty of things to do down the shore while maintaining social distancing. And whether the casinos, boardwalk amusement or even restaurants are open to full capacity or not you can still have a blast this summer. You may even have the best season on record as you will need to get more creative with how you will spend your time. Here are eight awesome ways to enjoy your summer in and around Atlantic City while maintaining your social and physical distance.
48 Blocks of Mural Arts
Calling all art lovers. 48 Blocks is a city-wide mural arts program headed up by the Atlantic City Arts Foundation. The project spans the 48 blocks and 6 wards of Atlantic City.
While the city was on quarantine, work continued on the 48 Blocks program. Currently, more than 50 works, all created over the past 3 years, adorn the sides of buildings throughout the city.
A tour of these works is an awesome way to enjoy art in public spaces that allow for physical and social distancing. Click here for a map of all the murals. The map provides the location, work’s title, the name(s) of the artist(s) and additional information about the mural.
The Beach and Boardwalk are Open
While the world went into lockdown the Atlantic City beach and boardwalk remained open. Unlike many New Jersey shore towns, and despite the closing of city’s casinos, the mayor opted to keep these public spaces accessible. However, the stores were shuttered and facilities were closed. But if you simply wanted to go for a walk you could.
Now, with Memorial Day upon us beach operations are expected to return to “normal,” meaning lifeguards and beach maintenance. However, facilities will probably be limited. Some boardwalk restaurants have already opened for take-out and more will surely follow suit.
With Atlantic City’s wide, free beaches social distancing should not be a problem if you practice common sense. Though the media has been critical of people flocking to the nation’s beach, it is possible to keep your physical distance while enjoying the sun, surf and sand. There is nothing wrong with hitting the beach with your family after all you live with them. But you should avoid treating the beach like a social outing to catch up with extended family and friends. Contact activity like beach volleyball and horseplay should probably be avoided but experts say that going in the ocean should be fine as long as you remain aware that your face is uncovered and you are exposed and exposing others to the virus. Of course, this is a judgement call and you should always be aware of any restrictions or rules in place.
Catch Your Own Crabs (Dinner)
What could be better than fresh caught blue claw crabs? Blue Claws you’ve caught yourself. The waterways around Atlantic City are plentiful with these crustaceans. And a morning or afternoon crabbing with your kids is something they will never forget. Just don’t tell them the crabs you caught are the same ones they are eating for dinner.
Before heading out in search of the perfect crabbing spot, there are a few things you should know. New Jersey does NOT require a license for crabbing if you are using collapsible crab traps or scoop nets that you can buy in any bait and tackle shop or even the local hardware store.
However, if you use a crab pot or trot line then you will need to obtain a permit. The cost of a shellfish license which covers crabbing is $2. Here’s a list of places to obtain a license. https://www.njfishandwildlife.com/agentlst.htm
Other regulations you should be familiar with include, daily limits, size restrictions and policies about female crabs. Learn more here. https://www.new-jersey-leisure-guide.com/crabbing.html
Here are a few popular crabbing spots near Atlantic City. Though they are well-liked you should still be able to find room to social distance.
- Mays Landing-Somers Point Road, Egg Harbor Township – On the way to Somers Point, on the left. Park your car and wade through the tall grassy meadows to find a path to the water.
- The Route 52 Causeway fishing pier (located between Mays Landing Road in Somers Point and Ninth Street in Ocean City) – A popular hot spot for crabbing and fishing with anglers of all ages. There are four fishing piers within the 2.2 mile stretch of the bridge.
- The bridges entering Atlantic City on Route 322/40 (Blackhorse Pike) and Route 30 (Whitehorse Pike) are favorite fishing and crabbing spots for locals and visitors alike. Find one where you see others dropping their net and join the fun. If you don’t want to crab from the bridge these are often good access spots to do some crabbing from the shore.
A Farmers' Market For Every Day of the Week
From Memorial Day to Labor Day somewhere along the coast you can find a neighborhood Farmers Market featuring Jersey Fresh produce and more. If you are inclined you could visit a different market every day of the week. Here’s a list of our favorite Farmers Markets from Brigantine to Cape May, https://ac365fun.com/farmers-markets-near-atlantic-city/
Try Some Watersports
Surfing tends to be the first water activity that comes to mind when thinking of time at the shore. But there are plenty of other options if you want to go away from the beaches and head to the bayside of the island. Here are a some you may want to give a try.
One of the best things about kayaking is that it can be enjoyed at almost any age. It’s a fun way to explore the back bays and marshes around Absecon Island. Go with the kids and let them get acquainted with the coastal wildlife. Watch for a variety of bird species and marshland critters.
If you are looking for a bit of privacy, find yourself a sandy spot away from the crowds of the beach to come ashore to spend the day. Don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray. The green heads can get crazy around these parts.
If you don’t have your own kayak, try renting one from Kammerman’s Marina located at 447 Carson Ave, Atlantic City. Kammerman’s offers both Hobie and traditional kayaks fitted for both singles and doubles and you can rent from 2-hours to a week.
Beginners and pros alike will find Windsurfing on Lakes Bay in West Atlantic City a challenge. This section of the bay produces nearly perfect winds on any given day. And there is a nice sandy beach from which to launch or take a break from the action. Need equipment or a lesson, visit Extreme Windsurfing
JetSki and Wave Runners
Adventure-seekers looking to enjoy the sun and surf sans sand might consider renting some waverunners. They require no real expertise and most people can just get on them and go after a brief lesson. Unlike some of the other water activities mentioned here you do not need to be in peak physical shape to enjoy them and if you have kids you can put one on the back and go for a spin. Despite not requiring a lot of experience, these are not toys. They should be used with caution and respect for the rules of boating.
For this adventure head through the tunnel and across the bridge to Brigantine to Jet Ski Wave Runner Rentals. From Brigantine you will be able to access the back channels and the inlet. For those with experience who are brave you can even head out to the ocean. However, the rental company may have policies against this, Check before you go.
On the weekend, heading to Brigantine can be a headache. An alternative especially if you are staying in the Downbeach area of Absecon Island is JetSki AC, Located on Albany Avenue, JetSki AC is convenient to Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate, Longport and destination on the mainland. Yamaha JetSkis rentals are by the half hour and the hour with rates starting at $70.
Visit the City's Orange Loop
The Orange Loop is an area of town undergoing a massive revitalization. In this hip, up and coming section of town you can find a number of bars and restaurants with outdoors spaces perfect for social distancing on a summer’s evening.
The outdoor space at Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall includes an enclosed beer garden with a family friendly vibe. For the kids, young and old, there is a giant Jenga game and life size Connect Four. Grab some bean bags and try your hand at Cornhole. The space also includes an outdoor stage for live music. After dark, expect a more adult crowd.
We could all use a laugh right now. So, in response to the COVID-19 situation, Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall has partnered with ACJokes.com Comedy Club to hold drive-in comedy shows. The shows are held Saturday evenings in the parking lot across the street from the Beer Hall. You will want to enjoy one of the Beer Halls awesome burgers or some other tasty appies while you enjoy the entertainment from the comfort and safety of your vehicle. For show details and tickets visit acjokes.com
Play Some Golf Near Atlantic City
Golf is a wonderful outdoor activity that allows for social distancing. Atlantic County is home to nearly 2-dozen public and private golf courses. You can’t swing a club without hitting one.
One of the prettiest courses in the county is the Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway NJ just minutes from Atlantic City. Seaview host the LPGA Shoprite Classic each year and offers two 18-hole courses, The Bayview, and The Pines. From the Bayview course you can see the Atlantic City skyline, while the Pines offers a scenic woodland setting.
Another great option for hitting the links is the public Atlantic City Country Club. Located just about a mile from the exclusive members-only Linwood Country Club you can enjoy the same awesome views of Atlantic City from across the marshes and bay without the hefty membership dues.
Just because it is a public course don’t expect it to be a no-frills course. This is an historic 18-hole course dating back to the 1800s and complete with a full-service clubhouse.
Go Wild at the Edwin B Forsythe Wildlife Refuge
This National Wildlife Refuge begins in Oceanville in Atlantic County and runs up the coast to Mantoloking in Ocean County New Jersey. It consists of 47,000 acres of managed land, 78% of which is salt marsh. The refuge is home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna and is a popular spot for bird watching. The park is a nesting ground to the endangered piping plover and home to Ospreys, Bald Eagle, Horseshoe crabs and more.
The headquarters for the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge is located at the Atlantic County end of the park. Here you will find approximately 5 miles of self-guided nature trails and an 8-mile car loop. Additional facilities including canoe/kayak launch, a visitor’s center and more.
- Visitor Information Center is located at 800 Great Creek Road, Galloway, NJ 08205 and is open Wednesday through Sunday 10 AM to 3 PM, Closed Monday-Tuesday
- Refuge Hours: The refuge is open from sunrise to sunset.
With all these awesome ideas for things to do to keep you busy all week long, there is no reason to cancel your stay in Atlantic City or the Jersey Shore. And if you haven’t made your reservation yet, now you have plenty of reason to book your stay. There’s so much to do at the shore even while social distancing is in place.