I am an Atlantic City ( AC ) insider. I work for the Atlantic City Alliance, so I am an AC expert of sorts, which makes this column perfect for those interested in AC this summer.
Our big news is that Sand Blast, the popular LGBT beach dance event, is debuting in Atlantic City this July. Events are planned throughout the city at some of the AC's best venues including the Pool at Harrah's, the Chelsea Hotel, and of course the main beach party. For more on Sand Blast and to book your hotel package, visit sandblastweekend.com .
Here's an insider tip. Everyone who books a room at the host hotel, the Claridge, will be offered first dibs at the limited VIP packages at the Beach Party and Pool Party, which includes cabanas and bottle service. While in town be sure to visit the Rainbow Room ComplexAtlantic City's seven day a week LGBT bar. Visit rainbowroomac.com for address and events.
To truly experience Atlantic City, a stroll on the world-famous boardwalk is a must. Along with free music series, mega-events and other daily and nightly entertainment, the boardwalk will host more than 150 free live concerts and shows this summer. The Travel Channel's Annual Best Beach Awards of 2014 crowned Atlantic City as having the "Best Beach Boardwalk" in the world and free makes it even better.
Check out these not-to-miss events:
Fourth Of July Fireworks ( Friday, July 4 ): Fourth of July weekend kicks off with one of the top five fireworks displays in the country. This show is so big that it takes two ocean barges and one marina platform to fill the island's entire sky.
Blake Shelton Free Beach Concert ( July 31 ): Blake Shelton is coming to Atlantic City this summer for a free concert on the beach.
Atlantic City Airshow ( Aug. 13 ): The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds headline the event. Each year hundreds of thousands of spectators gather on the beach and Boardwalk for the daylong event to watch the amazing stunts and breathtaking aeronautic maneuvers by a host of exciting commercial acts.
There are more and more Boardwalk eateries with al fresco boardwalk dining, including the new Backyard Bar at Caesars, the Bungalow Lounge & Restaurant, Worship Surf Bar at Showboat, the Steel Pier ( off the Boardwalk ), and the Landshark Bar & Grill at Resorts.
Atlantic City is surrounded by water, so there are plenty of nautical views. Check out my favorite places for great views including Nero's Chophouse and Sushi Room at Caesars; Fin at the Tropicana; the Scores adult entertainment complex at the Taj Mahal ( which features Scores Men ); the Foundation Room at the House of Blues at Showboat; American Cut, Amada and Azure by Allegretti ( all located at Revel ), Phillips Seafood and Starbucks on Level 3 of The Pier Shops at Caesars, and, of course, the beach-based Landshark Bar & Grill, part of Resorts' Margaritaville complex, which celebrates its one-year anniversary this year.
Among the new beach bar options this summer, Bar Anticipation takes over the spot where the Trump Plaza Beach Bar used to be, and the Revel Beach & Cabanas, featuring three oceanfront pools, debuts. Other options include Bally's Bikini Beach Bar and HQ Beach Club at Revel.
Jeff Guaracino is the author of Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing and is an Atlantic City tourism executive.