When I first heard that the Travel Channel had said Atlantic City’s was the best beach boardwalk, I was a little confused. I figured I’d misread the category: Was it actually Best Beach Boardwalk Mentioned in a Bruce Springsteen Song? Because Atlantic City’s boardwalk certainly puts Asbury Park’s to shame.
But, no, it’s Best Beach Boardwalk in general — and since the list contains beaches from places like Fiji, it’s actually naming the Atlantic City boardwalk the best beach boardwalk in the world. Take that, boardwalks that I don’t know exist in, say South American and East Asian cities!
My winner for this category would be Wildwood, of course. But the more I think about it, the more I think there's a case for Atlantic City. Here's what the AC boardwalk has:
- The ocean, duh
- Eight casinos you can throw your money away at possibly strike it rich (note: unless Revel has somehow closed between the writing and publication of this post)
- Tacky t-shirt shops, just like Wildwood
- Ridiculous fried foods
- A high-end mall with fancy shops, fancy restaurants and fancy vacancies that literally goes out over the ocean
- Boardwalk Hall, the historic site of both WrestleMania IV and WrestleMania V
- A colony of cats living under the boards
- The Best 99 cent store ever
- Rolling chairs, so you can feel what it was like to be a rich person in 1920
- Steel Pier, though none of the rides on it match anything the Morey family has — but if your kids aren't aware of Wildwood, they won't know what they're missing!
- The chance to make Boardwalk Empire references
- One of the top people-watching locations on the East Coast, if not in all of the United States
- Did I mention you can gamble?
While childhood nostalgia and summer column fodder keep the Wildwood boardwalk firmly planted No. 1 in my heart, I unabashedly love Atlantic City. Look at all the things the boardwalk has! Not many other places have that much to do a short drive or $10 train ride from Philly. Or maybe they do: But none of them run parallel to the ocean.
Look, the Travel Channel piece is silly. Unless you consider boxing champ Bernard Hopkins a top-entertainer or have a time machine, I don't think you can "see some of the world's top entertainers perform at Boardwalk Hall." (Update: I was wrong, the big acts still play Boardwalk Hall! Apologies for the error.) Salt-water taffy disgusting. (Go for fudge instead.) But I'd be willing to say the Atlantic City boardwalk is better than you think, which might as well be World's Best Beach Boardwalk.
Take a bow, AC. You've earned it, I guess.
Follow @dhm on Twitter.