Updated: Sep 9
After World War II, Wildwood's popularity as a seaside destination grew and grew. Particularly people from the Philadelphia area drove their new cars to the even newer motels and hotels that were springing up on every street in Wildwood. More than 60 years later, Wildwood still features dozens and dozens of motels and hotels that have attracted generations of families to escape the heat for the free beaches and the nearly two-mile long Boardwalk.
In Wildwood, the melting pot of the tri-state area comes alive every day in the summer with every language and ethnic group represented to ride the rides, take their dogs to the beach and splash in the water parks.
Dogs may be man's best friend but they are almost universally not wanted on the beach or the boardwalks during the summer season. Wildwood, however, bucks the trend. Between Glenwood and Maple Avenues right off the Boardwalk is one of the best dog parks in the United States with a giant fireplug, obstacles, water bowls and free poopy bags. After freely playing in the park, leashed dogs can join their families for a swim on a dedicated section of the beach.
Wide beach at the Shore
At low tide, it seems like the beach is miles away. Many day-trippers will prepare by renting or buying a beach cart to load in the sun tan lotion, boogies boards and drinks and make the trek to the beach.
(From the vantage point of the beachfront or boardwalk, this is a breezy overview of what you see, where to park and beach access, plus a bit or history and the latest happenings. See map below.)
Buy the #1 NJ Travel Guide:
Hooked on Books in Wildwood
Stop by Hooked on Books, 3405 Pacific Avenue in Wildwood for autographed copies of #1NJ Travel Guide, 100 Things to Do at the Jersey Shore. Explore fishing spots, outdoor adventures and more at the Shore.
Stars & Stripes, Kate and Bobby
From April through October, get to the Boardwalk by 11:00 a.m., when everyone stops to listen to the national anthem followed by recordings of Kate Smith’s “God Bless America” and Bobby Rydell’s “Wildwood Days.”
Quick tips for the Boardwalk
Most of the shops along the Boardwalk are individually owned although you'll be happy to see familiar Jersey Shore favorites such as Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard, Curley's Fries, Chickie's and Pete's and Lime Rickey World.
Within a six-block stretch of the Boardwalk, three piers jut over the sandy -- Surfside Park, Mariner's Landing Pier and Adventure Pier. Among them they feature 100 amusement and thrill rides including roller coasters and giant Ferris Wheel. Morey's Piers owns all of them plus two adjacent water parks -- Ocean Oasis Water Park and Raging Waters Water Park. Unlike Disneyworld where there's thematic demarcation among the parks, the piers aren't easily defined in a sentence or two. Take some time and go online to moreyspiers.com to decide what you want to do and how much you want to pay for a huge pricing menu. For example, you can buy a single admission ticket to access all parks or buy ticket card packages if you only want to jump on a handful of amusement rides.
Unrelated to Morey's is Splash Zone Waterpark, also along the Boardwalk.
How Wildwood got its name
Ten years after the borough of Anglesea (now North Wildwood) was established, Aaron Andrew, Joseph Taylor and John Burk formed the Holly Beach City Improvement Company to develop the wild landscape of holly and other trees in the maritime forest. Soon after, the Baker family purchased a tract of 100 acres for $9,000 and established the Wild-wood Improvement Company names for the numerous wild trees on the island. That led the way to the incorporation of the borough of Wildwood in 1895.
Names of Wildwood streets -- Pine, Maple, Oak, Poplar and Magnolia -- are reminder of the wild woods once growing on the island.
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 Wildwood
What's New: Do-Wop Drive-In has opened.
Starring Role: Wildwood is featured in the movies Birdy and The In Crowd.
Access and Parking: The main access to the town is from the Garden State Parkway on Wildwood Boulevard/State Route 47. As it reaches the island, Wildwood Boulevard becomes Rio Grande Avenue. The majority of streets have free parking, but meters are located along Pacific Avenue on the east side up to Ocean Avenue. In most of the town between May 15 and late October, you pay to park at kiosk or with the Park Mobile app.
Amenities: Restrooms are located along the Boardwalk and portable toilets are on the beach in the summer.
This spring and summer, follow Jersey Shore author and expert R.C. Staab as he walks the entire 139 miles of the Jersey Shore coastline from Sandy Hook to Island Beach State Park, Long Beach Island from Old Barney to the Edwin Forsythe Wildlife Refuge and from Brigantine to Cape May.
Next stop: Wildwood Crest at Jersey Shore Walk Mile post 120. See profiles of North Wildwood, Stone Harbor, Avalon and Strathmere and every beach and town along the Jersey Shore at www.jerseyshorewalk.com