Wildwood is on the Southern Shore of New Jersey. It is primarily a resort town whose population swells in the summer months (June - August) with vacationers coming mainly from New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, and Quebec. There are also a significant number of seasonal workers from Pennsylvania, Ireland and Eastern Europe. Together with the small bordering towns of North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, Wildwood is often called "the Wildwoods."
The Wildwoods are easily accessible by car, just minutes off of the Garden State Parkway, the route that the majority of vacationers from the tri-state area take. Many locals use New Jersey Route 55 south to New Jersey Route 47, but this route can have serious jams that are more than 10 miles. As the Garden State Parkway traffic has toned down, but it gets bad on holiday weekends.
Many counties in New Jersey also offer Park-n-Ride, a ride-sharing and van-pooling system.
From the Philadelphia/South Jersey area, follow Interstate 76 east, which turns into New Jersey Route 42 south. Continue onto the Altantic City Expressway east and take Exit 7 to the Garden State Parkway south. Follow the Garden State Parkway south and take Exit 4A to New Jersey Route 47 south. Follow New Jersey Route 47 south into Wildwood. Another option is to take Interstate 76 east into New Jersey Route 42 south and take Exit 13 to New Jersey Route 55 south. Follow New Jersey Route 55 south to Millville, where the road leads into New Jersey Route 47 south. Follow New Jersey Route 47 south to New Jersey Route 347 south. New Jersey Route 347 south leads back into New Jersey Route 47 south. Continue along New Jersey Route 47 south into Wildwood.
From the New York City/North Jersey area, follow the New Jersey Turnpike south and take Exit 11 to the Garden State Parkway south. Follow the Garden State Parkway south and take Exit 4A to New Jersey Route 47 south. Follow New Jersey Route 47 south into Wildwood.
From the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area, take Interstate 95 north into Delaware and take the exit to Interstate 295 north. Follow Interstate 295 north across the Delaware Memorial Bridge into New Jersey. Take the exit to U.S. Route 40 east. Follow U.S. Route 40 east and take the ramp to New Jersey Route 55 south. Follow New Jersey Route 55 south to Millville, where the road leads into New Jersey Route 47 south. Follow New Jersey Route 47 south to New Jersey Route 347 south. New Jersey Route 347 south leads back into New Jersey Route 47 south. Continue along New Jersey Route 47 south into Wildwood. If you want to save a bit of driving, you can also take the Cape May-Lewes ferry from Lewes, Delaware, then drive the short distance from the Cape May Terminal to Wildwood. Take US 50 East, to Maryland Route 404, then take Maryland Route 404, Maryland Route 16 (which becomes Delaware Route 16 once it crosses the state line) and Delaware Route 1 to get to the terminal on the Lewes side. This takes significantly more time overall, but you save about a half hour of actual drive time and the ferry has a lot of amenities you can enjoy during your trip. Cars are allowed on the ferry for an additional fee, but make sure to book in advance, especially in the summer months.
From points south on the Delmarva Peninsula and the Norfolk area, follow U.S. Route 13 north to U.S. Route 9 east. Take the Cape May-Lewes Ferry across the Delaware Bay from Lewes, Delaware to Cape May, New Jersey. From the ferry terminal, follow U.S. Route 9 north to New Jersey Route 109 south. Take the ramp to the Garden State Parkway north. Follow the Garden State Parkway north and take Exit 4 to New Jersey Route 47 south. Follow New Jersey Route 47 south into Wildwood.
From the Montreal area, follow Quebec Autoroute 15 south to the United States border. Cross the border and follow Interstate 87 south through New York. Take Exit 15 to Interstate 287 south and follow Interstate 287 south into New Jersey. Take Exit 66 to New Jersey Route 17 south. Follow New Jersey Route 17 south and take the exit to the Garden State Parkway south. Follow the Garden State Parkway south and take Exit 4A to New Jersey Route 47 south. Follow New Jersey Route 47 south into Wildwood.
There are also many buses that run into the bus terminal in Wildwood, which is in the center of town on Davis St. Many Greyhound buses from Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware offer services to this location, and New Jersey Transit buses for residents of the state of New Jersey.
Nearby Atlantic City is home to an international airport, which has several car rental distributors on site, as well as limousine companies to take tourists from the airport to Wildwood. Atlantic City International Airport (ACY IATA) is 45 minutes north of the Wildwoods. Philadelphia International Airport (PHL IATA) is about 2 hours away, as well.
Once in Wildwood, it is incredibly easy to navigate your way around. If needed, the entire island is walkable. However, many people choose to drive for time and convenience purposes. Be careful though, parking can be expensive! Many residents and tourists choose to ride their own bikes, or rent them from one of the several rental facilities in the town. You can rent singles, doubles, or even family sized bikes. It is also very common to see people on skates and skateboards.
To get from place to place on the boardwalk, which spans numerous miles, many choose to hop aboard the tram car, which is a small, trolley-like vehicle that drives solely from one end of the boardwalk to the other, and is relatively inexpensive, one way only costing approximately $3.00.
Taxi cabs and NJ Transit buses also operate through Wildwood, both which are cost effective, and are available constantly.
There are three taxi services in the Wildwoods, Caribbean, Checkers, and Pink. They can pick you up anywhere in Wildwood within about 5 minutes. This is the safest way to get around at night, especially if you are drinking, for the cops in Wildwood are diligent.
Although Wildwood is primarily known for being a shore town, there are several historic and recreational sites.
- Historic town hall is in the center of Wildwood, as well as several small local museums. Many of the town's motels were built in the 'Doo-Wop" era of 1950s and 1960s, which may remind you of "The Jetsons." The interesting architecture and brightly lit signs sure makes Wildwood one of a kind to visit during your stay there.
- Wildwood boasts beautiful landscapes, which can be seen by taking a helicopter ride, or a boat tour, both of which are available daily.
- There is a miniature aquarium on the boardwalk that often hosts interactive exhibits.
- Wildwood is also home to one of the country's oldest wooden roller coasters and the tallest ferris wheel on the east coast, which can be seen from miles, especially at night when it is lit up with an array of LED lights.
- The convention center, which is at the end of the boardwalk, often has various activities, demonstrations, and shows.
- The historic Cape May Zoo is also a short drive away, which is home to more than 200 species of animals in a quaint park setting, and is visited by more than 3 quarters of a million people annually. The Zoo features a playground, nature trails, and a pond for fishing.
Movies on the beach are shown between the second and third piers: they set up a large screen on the beach, only at nights. This is a very unusual experience because it's like an old-fashioned drive-in movie but only with sand, and no cars. They have the latest movies showing every night at 8PM, and the tickets aren't that expensive either.
In the Wildwoods, there is fun for everyone.
If you aren't a resident of the tri-state area, it's more than likely that you haven't heard of Wildwood, New Jersey. However, it is a spot worth noting as both an eclectic town, and an enjoyable family vacation spot. Located in Cape May County, on the southern tip of New Jersey, Wildwood has long been known as one of the hot spots along the Jersey coast. What has always made Wildwood stand out amongst a sea of shore towns is its attention to family-oriented fun and a giant mix of activities for people of all ages.
- The most obvious, and most frequently utilized attraction in the Wildwoods are the miles of beautiful sandy beaches which are free. Although tourists and year-round residents flock to all of the beaches, two of the most popular beaches on the island are the Inlet at the entrance to North Wildwood, and Diamond Beach in the Crest. Both of these spots are known for their seclusion. Besides from the obvious sunbathing and swimming, there are many activities to participate in at the beach, such as boating, parasailing, hand-gliding, jet-skiing, surfing kite surfing.
- People who want to escape the crowds of the beach often head to the bay area to indulge in an afternoon of fishing or crabbing.
- Free events include Friday night fireworks on the beach in the center of Wildwood and concerts featuring tribute bands and local talent that are held at Fox Park on Sunday evening and at the band shell in Wildwood Crest.
- For rainy days when the beach is not an option, there are several movie theaters and rental places and a huge library for a quiet day inside. Wildwood is also a short drive away from the Atlantic City casinos.
- If you do not like the sand but love the water, you can find 3 great waterparks in this town. Ocean Oasis Waterpark & Beach Club is on Beach & 25th Ave, Raging Water's is at the back of Surfside Pier, and Splash Zone is rather close too.
- Or spend some time parasailing with the islands only parasail company, Hang Loose Parasail, +1 609-522-wild. The cost is reasonable at between $50 and $65 per person.
During the summer months, the Wildwoods also host many festivals and special weekends. During Memorial Day weekend, there are parades and many street vendors and special activities to celebrate the beginning of the summer season. The same types of events are held at the end of the summer over Labor Day weekend. There is also Irish Weekend and Firefighters weekends in early September and fourth of July fireworks on the beach, along with countless food tasting festivals. From June until August, there are fireworks on the beach every Friday night.
Many cheerleading, dance, gymnastics, wrestling, and basketball tournaments are held in Wildwood.
There many places to rent boats and jetskis, or you can hop aboard the Thunder Cat, a huge speedboat, that takes you right along the coastline at top speed then out off the coast a couple miles to Whale watch.
Most mornings the boardwalk is full of people riding bikes, skating or walking. This has been a ritual in wildwood for many years, not only because of the view of the ocean, but because everyone needs the exercise after a good dinner the night before. There are bike rentals on almost every block in all three of the wildwoods, a regular bike will cost around eight dollars for the hour.
The beaches for the most part are clean and inviting, but the only problem with the beaches are that the ocean begins about 3 blocks after you enter the sand. This makes it extremely tough for senior citizens to walk down to the beach in some places. The best bet if you don't want to walk too much through the sand, then go to 1st street in North Wildwood. Not only does the water start about 100 feet from the street but it has a unique experience because there is not to many waves, it acts like a pool, with a depths of about 30 feet at some points.
- Cape May Whale Watcher, Inc (Whale and Dolphin Watching), 890 2nd Ave (at the Miss Chris Marina,, across the street from the Lobster House), ☏ . 10AM-9PM. Large largest whale and dolphin watching outfit, claim a 99% success rate to see dolphins, and 68% for whales. Whale Watching Trips starts in March and end in December, with 3 daily tours in high season (May to September - 10AM, 1PM and 6:30PM. $15-45.
- Antique Images, Old time Photos (Old time Photos), Boardwalk Mall (On the boardwalk between Garfield and Spicer Aves., 3800 Boardwalk), ☏ . 10AM - midnight. The first and Oldest Old Time Photo Studio on the New Jersey Shore. In continuous operation since 1977 celebrating the 34th summer season in 2010. A full service costume photography studio where you can take a vacation from yourself. Adopt a new personna as an Outlaw, Gangster, Southern Belle or Femme Fatale.
What can't you buy in Wildwood? Numerous tourist nick-nacks, food products such as world famous fudge, fried Oreos, and chocolate dipped bananas. Many vendors sell novelty clothing items and hermit crabs for the kids. Henna tattoos are a big hit. There are several old time photo centers throughout Wildwood where families and friends can dress up in fancy old time costumes and pick a background of their choice, and have a professional photograph taken. It is also easy to go through a pocket of money playing all the games on the boardwalk and forking out cash for the rides. There are also tons and tons of arcades. The Boardwalk Mall has several shops to buy food, jewelry, and other gifts/souvenirs.
You can take go-cart rides and helicopter rides too.
Even if you need some toiletries or groceries, you could find that in the supermarkets on the island.
You can buy almost any sports team equipment from the teams from the tri-state area (i.e. the Eagles, Giants, Phillies, Mets and Yankees.) There are also places where you can get a custom made shirt by a gentleman who spraypaints images on regular articles of clothing giving it a really unique look, thats hard to find anywhere else.
Wildwood features numerous places to sample a taste of the Jersey shore in all types of settings. If you are looking for a quick bite to eat, there is no better place to sample a tasty treat than the boardwalk. From the famous pizza shop rivals, Sam's and Mack's (everyone has a preference), to Curly's french fries, Laura's and Douglas's Fudge shops, to countless ice cream, Kohr Bros' frozen custard, and funnel cake stands, the smell of the boardwalk is just as prominent as the sounds of shrieking children and laughs from families enjoying each other's company. You can find popcorn, gourmet pizza, cheesesteaks, hot dogs, waffles and ice cream, Polish water ice, chocolate covered bananas, deep fried Oreos, milkshakes, and every kind of candy on the boardwalk. For incredibly fresh-baked doughnuts and pastries, Britton's bakery is a must stop. There is also an Amish bakery in North Wildwood which has a deli. In the summer of 2015, Canadian-based Beavertails stand was added to the boardwalk, which has excellent poutine and pastries called beavertails.
- Russo's and Marrinucci's in North Wildwood have great sandwiches on the go or for sitting on the beach.
- Bill's in Wildwood, right on Park Boulevard and Glenwood, has great wings and family packages for the whole family. Sal's is the best if you want some Philly cheesesteaks in Wildwood Crest.
If you are looking for more of a sit down meal, the island features numerous diners and family-style restaurants, such as The Star Diner and The Vegas Diner, both in North Wildwood. The Wildwoods also feature world class seafood and Italian style cuisine in such fine establishments as Gia's and Alfie's (in Wildwood), Uries and The Boat House (on Rio Grande Boulevard), and Little Italy. For casual seafood dining, the Fish Factory has great food. It's a small restaurant and takeout orders are more popular than sit-down dining.
There are several world renowned restaurants in Atlantic City, such as Morton's Steakhouse, which is at Caesar's Pier, and Buddakan.
If steak is your specialty, then you might want to consider going to Neil's Steak and Chowder House or J.P. Primes to eat. Neil's is a reasonable place to go with a family or friends, while J.P. Prime's is very expensive, around 120 dollars per couple. It also has a nice bar/nightclub setting for a higher class price range.
In the most southern part of Wildwood Crest, on Atlantic Ave., there is a small cafe in the Pier 6600 hotel. The food is great and the price is very reasonable. And if you wanted to listen to live music during the day you can stay at the Pier 6600 hotel, at the Barefoot bar and grill where they have live music everyday except Sundays.
There is a Sonic was built about 10 minutes from Wildwood on Rt. 74. This is a popular spot for younger crowds, who has never got to eat at a Sonic before, but heard of their huge burgers and thousand of combination of slushes.
Wildwood is certainly not a dry town. There are numerous places for adults to indulge in a night out on the town in Wildwood. Some of the town's most popular bars are Keenan's Irish Pub, the Anglesey Pub, Westy's Irish Pub, Echoes, Owen's Pub, and Flip Flopz which are mostly found at the entrance of North Wildwood. Juan Pablo's is a great upscale Mexican restaurant in the heart of Wildwood with awesome drinks. Both locals and tourists alike mingle in this hip setting where drinks and light appetizers are served. At local bar Shamrocks, Wednesdays are Quizzo night, where anyone can compete in a series of Jeopardy-like questions for prizes, also very popular are: Sunset Bay, La Piazza, A and L P,(A great sandwich shop), Angry Jack's in North Wildwood and Boardwalk Bar and Grill on Atlantic Ave.
Wildwood's nightlife is incredibly diverse. The main attraction for families is the boardwalk, which features miles of novelty shops, eateries, and the three famous amusement piers, Surfside Pier, formerly Morey's Pier, Mariners Landing Pier, and Adventure Pier, formerly Wild Wheels Pier a few blocks apart from each other. Both of these amusement parks can be enjoyed by either buying tickets or purchasing an all day pass for a discounted price. Tickets can be loaded onto a scannable card, making it easy to have the exact amount ready for your next ride. The rides range from kiddie go-carts and merry-go-rounds, to log flumes to sky-high roller coasters and bungee jumping. There are a couple of walk-through amusements such as a funhouse and maze. The boardwalk is lined with games of all kinds and prizes galore. If you are a gambler and do not want to drive all the way to Atlantic City, there are tons of casino arcades on the boardwalk. There are also dozens of miniature golf centers, many with ice cream parlors attached. If you are up for it, it is also possible to get your palms and tarot cards read or even get a tattoo and something pierced.
The town of Wildwood Crest, often considered part of Wildwood, is dry.
- Sam's Pizza Palace, 2600 Boardwalk Wildwood, ☏ . Family-owned and -operated since 1957. Tasty pizza, great service. Pizza has a nice thin crust and the perfect sauce. Better than that not only is the service great but they are quick.
The Wildwoods are broken down into four main towns: North Wildwood, Wildwood, West Wildwood, and Wildwood Crest. The Wildwoods are world renowned for having the largest concentration of Mid-Century Modern or "Doo-Wop" motels and other commercial buildings anywhere in the world. The vast majority of vacationers choose to stay in these "Doo-Wop" motels during the summer months. Prime examples of "Doo-Wop" motels can be found throughout the Wildwoods, including the Daytona Motor Inn on Atlantic and Youngs Avenue, The Starlux Motel on Rio Grande and Atlantic, and The Caribbean Motel on Ocean Ave. and Buttercup. Often times families vacation at the same motels and hotels for multiple generations. Still other vacationers like to rent houses by either the week, the month, or the season. The most popular month to rent is July, which is consequently the month when housing is most expensive. Many residents of the surrounding states have second homes in Wildwood, and utilize their vacation homes for all or most of the summer.
- Pier 6600 (at the southern end of Wildwood Crest). It offers the "Doo-Wop" look and mood. The hotel is older with the office draped in older carpets and fixtures. However the pool and bar area is brand new, it had a warm sunny day feel with good drinks and live music, by Greg Davis, who plays good classic rock.
- [formerly dead link] Daytona Motor Inn and Suites, 4010 Atlantic Avenue. This family-oriented motel is 1 block to the boardwalk, beach and amusements and features large 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom family suites with kitchens.
- The Oceanview Motel (in Wildwood Crest). This newer motel still keeps the older look. For kids it has a large minigolf area on the property, as well as a good grill on the beach that serves hamburgers and hotdogs.
- The Royal Court, 4301 Atlantic Ave, ☏ . This family-owned motel is a block from the boardwalk, making it quieter than hotels directly on the boardwalk. Rooms are a good size and extremely clean.
- Caribbean Motel, 5600 Ocean Avenue, ☏ . A historic motel listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
|Routes through Wildwood|
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