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Waters Log

Checking out Atlantic City, Wyoming

By August 23. 2012 3:00AM

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There are no casinos in the "other" Atlantic City, the one in Wyoming.
No tolls or traffic on the way to this Atlantic City. (Photo by Sarah Waters)

It ain't no city, with a population of "about 57" people plus one adorable puppy named Gypsy. And it's nowhere near the Atlantic Ocean, rising 7,675 feet above sea level.

I discovered Atlantic City while planning my vacation to Wyoming. It immediately became a must on the lists of stops, along with the Tetons and Yellowstone. The dusty and quirky town is one of Wyoming's oldest cities. It was a mining town and then a milling town before falling on hard times. One tourist website labeled it now a ghost town.
These locals gave me the scoop on why there's an Atlantic City in Wyoming. (Photo by Sarah Waters)

I met some friendly folks in the mercantile store that doubles as a bar and restaurant. I told them I was from New Jersey. They assumed I lived near the eastern Atlantic City, but I explained that I lived "far away" in the northern part of the state. One man scoffed at that, saying all of New Jersey could fit in one of Wyoming's county. He had a point, but he's never seen Jersey traffic or speed traps on highways (in Wyoming, the speed limit seems to be just a suggestion and I've driven 600 or so miles already and not seen one cop).

Of course I had just one question for the citizens of Atlantic City, Wyoming: what the heck? However, I phrased it more politely as: why is your town called Atlantic City? They told me there are a few theories, including that one night some guy got really drunk and thought he was in New Jersey. The most plausible theory though is that the town got its name because it sits just east of the Continental Divide, where everything flows to the Atlantic Ocean. There are things on the western side with Pacific in their name, like a creek, etc.

Atlantic City was a detour definitely worth taking: no traffic, no tolls, no parking problems, friendly folks. If you are ever in Wyoming, make sure you "Do AC."

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