Wildwood: Multi-Ethnic, Dog Friendly, Kate & Bobby, Wildest Rides on a Wide Beach
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. Dunes coming?
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.
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.
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Hooked on Books in Wildwood
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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: A new Jitney shuttle, adorned with the Wildwoods logo, are now running 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. They operate Thursday through Sunday and are expected to continue into the fall.
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.
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.