The famous Wildwood Boardwalk begins in North Wildwood as shown in the photo above. But don't miss the best parts of North Wildwood. Venture to the northern section of North Wildwood to see...
Wild Mouse ride of a seawall
The seawalls up and down the Jersey Shore are built to keep the sea away, not for recreational or amusement purposes. In North Wildwood, the city went a step farther by paving the top of the serpentine seawall and making it accessible to everyone. At times, it seems more like a Wild Mouse ride at an amusement park with twists and turns, rather than a boring functional walkway. It may be narrow at the top for some, but it affords a view of...
Widest beach at the Shore
The walkway affords a splendid view of the impossibly wide beach with sandbars and small ocean pools that create the widest beach at the Shore, at least when the tide ebbs toward its lowest point.
But there's a big problem -- sand washes away
Across the Hereford to Stone Harbor, one can see Stone Harbor Point, a conservation area that has continued to "grow" through the accumulation of sand, sand that essentially comes from the norther part of the island that includes Avalon and Stone Harbor. Seems like there is plenty of sand everywhere as one walks the seawall.
But as happens along many of the islands that comprise the coastline of New Jersey, the sand at the northern end of the island tends to wash away, while the southern parts of the island gain sand. That's North Wildwood's problem -- erosion on its northern end where the Inlet meets the Atlantic Ocean near 2nd Avenue.
So North Wildwood's solution has been to "back pass" sand, literally to truck sand from the southern part of the island and dump on the beach. Unfortunately, they has limited success and each year they have had to load up more sand. A report from a beach engineer said that roughly 80% of the sand moved this year is already gone; 50% of it was gone after the Mother’s Day storm.
It's costing North Wildwood City a fortune. Two weeks, the North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello said City Council should reconsider spending “$4 million a year to move sand that is gone a couple of months later." For now, the Mayor suggests focusing on adding to the seawall at Seventh Avenue.
On the horizon is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to do the kind of major sand replenishment and dune building that was completed after Superstorm Sandy in the northern section of the Jersey Shore from Seaside Park to Sandy Hook. The state is currently working with Wildwood, North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest and Lower Township on agreements for the Army Corps’ storm damage reduction project, consisting of beach replenishment and dune construction.
The dune project will substantially change how the beach in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest look.
The earliest this will happen -- 2023 but probably later than that.
As the seawall turns and head east away from Central Avenue, there's a pleasant park with a view of....
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Hereford Inlet Lighthouse
Of the lighthouses on the Jersey Shore, the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse is the shortest and the least visible from any body of water, surrounded by trees and the state marine-police building office. However, it's a charming Victorian building with a long history of guiding ships through the Hereford Inlet.
The lighthouse was first lit in 1874. After a storm in 1913, the building was moved to its present location. The light was decommissioned in 1964. Eventually, the site along with the adjoining Life-Saving Station were turned over to the New Jersey State Police's Marine Services Unit. The Life-Saving Station is used by the New Jersey State Police today. However, the lighthouse was boarded up and left unused until 1982 when local volunteers and the city took over the building to turn it into a fully operating lighthouse and museum.
The Hereford Inlet Lighthouse is approximately 49 ½ feet with the light elevation rising to 57 feet above sea level. On a clear night, the light is visible at a distance of 13 nautical miles.
Beyond the seawall to the Boardwalk
After the walkway on top of the seawall ends, pedestrians climb down steps to reach the sidewalk. After three blocks, the sidewalk turns outward from the ocean but widens as it separates farther from the street and is joined on the ocean side by new sand dunes. Bike riders, big and small, flow in a steady stream in both directions.
At 15th Avenue, the walkway rises above the sand through an arch that reads "Through this arch, walk the happiest people in the world" as the Wildwood Boardwalk begins.
When you walk south past the Seaport Pier on the Boardwalk, you've entered Wildwood.
How North Wildwood got its name and left Anglesea behind
North Wildwood City was originally incorporated as the borough of Anglesea in 1885 and kept that name for more than 20 years until the town was renamed as North Wildwood -- an obvious nod to its younger neighbor to the south, Wildwood.
In 2016, a North Wildwood citizen gathered 100 of his neighbors’ signatures on a petition suggesting the town's name revert to Anglesea. Later that year, a non-binding referendum was placed on the city ballot to gauge people's interest in changing the name. More than 60% of the voters rejected the idea.
However, the name Anglesea lives on with Anglesea Drive in the Anglesea neighborhood of North Wildwood. Plus, there is an Anglesea Pub and an occasional Anglesea Night Market on New Jersey Avenue in the summer.
Note that the Wildwoods is a marketing short-cut to reference the communities on the island: North Wildwood, Wildwood, West Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, Diamond Beach, Two Mile Beach and the Coast Guard station at the southern tip.
Tips for visiting North Wildwood
What's New: See sand story above
Access and Parking: The main access to the town is from the Garden State Parkway on North Wildwood Boulevard/State Route 147. As it reaches the island, North Wildwood Boulevard becomes Spruce Avenue and then becomes New Jersey Avenue through the rest of North Wildwood and into the City of Wildwood. Most of the city parking is free, except for meters close to the ocean which operated between May 15 and late October. Pay at the kiosk or with the Park Mobile app.
Amenities: Restrooms are located along the Boardwalk, and portable toilets are on the beach in the summer.
Follow Jersey Shore author and expert R.C. Staab as he recounts his 2021 walk of every beach along the 139 miles of the Jersey Shore coastline from Sandy Hook to Cape May. Read all updated stories at www.JerseyShoreWalk.com.