Of all the Jersey Shore towns, Atlantic City is unique. It has casino gambling, big glitzy hotels, top-name entertainment, and never-ending nightlife. You may also know AC for its crime and its rougher side.

As you drive through Atlantic City, before you get to the boardwalk and the casinos or drive from there to the casinos on the Bayfront, you see some pretty rough neighborhoods.

But underneath all that, it’s still a Jersey Shore town.

Atlantic City has great mom-and-pop restaurants, family-run stores and businesses, hotels and condos, and great residential areas.

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Yes, great residential areas — if you go to the very north end of the city by the inlet, past the Absecon lighthouse.

Yes, Atlantic City has a lighthouse. You will also find some spectacular homes in the Inlet neighborhood.

If you take Exit 2 of the Atlantic City Expressway, before entering the center of town, you’ll be on Route 40, the old Black Horse Pike.

That turns into Albany Avenue and if you make a right, you are in what is known as Lower Chelsea.

You could be in Spring Lake, Avon, Loveladies, or Deal for that matter. You’ll find quiet streets with large majestic old Jersey Shore three-story houses and great people.

One of the best features of this part of town is that the beaches are less crowded and best of all, yes, they are free.

Stockton University built a new campus right on the boardwalk just south of Albany Avenue. For the next 12 blocks, you’ll find less crowded beaches and more of a residential local crowd.

There’s also ample parking at the lot just south of the college and the Stockton three-story parking lot is open to the public, as well. That section of the city adjoins the town of Ventnor which leads into the towns of Margate and Longport — which are distinctly different from what you find on the main strip of Atlantic City.

All those towns, including Atlantic City, are part of what is Absecon Island.

If you’re looking to find a new Jersey Shore spot to enjoy this summer, you might want to check out North Beach and Lower Chelsea.

For breakfast and lunch check out Brittany‘s Café. If you want drinks and a great meal at a waterfront bar, go to the Wonder Bar. Dine like a local for dinner, check out Scannicchio’s at Lefty’s Bar. You're welcome!

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