-- New Jersey Day Trips - The Wildwoods
"The Wildwoods" is a collective term for the four communities located in the County of Cape May on Wildwood island that have "Wildwood" as part of the municipality name: Borough of Wildwood Crest, City of Wildwood, Borough of West Wildwood and the City of North Wildwood.
Their growth as resorts was spurred by the completion of the Garden State Parkway in 1955. Also known as "birthplace of rock and roll" due to first performance on Memorial Day weekend in 1954 of pioneering rock song "Rock Around the Clock" at the HofBrau Hotel in Wildwood by Bill Haley & His Comets. Later performances by early rock performers led to coining (by Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts) of "Doo Wop" musical and architectural style of the 1950s and early 1960s, (also referred to as the Googie or populuxe style) with acts who appeared in local Wildwood clubs including Bill Haley, Fats Domino, Chubby Checker, Della Reese, The Playboys and others. Chubby Checker is said to have first performed "the Twist" in Wildwood and Dick Clark premiered "American Bandstand" in the town, which was described as "Little Las Vegas" for its place as a showcase for leading performers. Building in the "'Doo Wop" style--described by one architectural historian as "a collision between the techy modern and tacky Art Deco"--features stylized, Las Vegas-like neon signs, plastic palm trees. Wildwood Doo Wop Preservation League established to help save and restore remaining historic buildings, also sponsors Doo Wop Preservation League Museum museum includes furniture, signs and other artifacts from demolished motels.
The towns boast the widest beaches in New Jersey, at points spanning 500 yards from the boardwalk to the ocean. The expanse of sand also allows concerts of popular performers attracting crowds up to 30,000, as well as a variety of special events such as the National Marbles Championships, Monster Truck Races, Motocross Races, Sand Sculpting Festivals, and frisbee and kite flying competitions. Wildwood, Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood do not presently charge beach fees. Wildwood's boardwalk also has won the Best Boardwalk in NJ online vote conducted by Things To Do In New Jersey., Will and Bill Morey began their Wildwood amusement empire with the construction of a giant slide called the Wipe Out, and gradually expanded their amusements with a haunted house, airplane ride, roller coaster and water parks to become Morey's Piers and Water Parks, with 100 rides and amusements on six blocks, named as "2019 Park of the Year" by Amusement Today magazine.
Special architectural style of Wildwoods Shore Resort Historic District, or 'Doo Wop' Motel District, two-mile stretch between Atlantic and Ocean avenues once site of over 300 motels built during 1950s and 1960s, now about 25 surviving from period, with Caribbean Motel in Wildwood Crest and Chateau Bleu Motel in North Wildwood both listed on National Register of Historic Places. Some contemporary buildings (eg Wawa Food Market, Acme Supermarket also use design features of time such as stylized signs). George F. Boyer Historical Museum operated by Wildwood Historical Society includes video, photos, artifacts on area history.
Sightseer Whale and Dolphin Cruises, operating for over 60 years, provides three-hour cruises in season. Seaport Aquarium is Wildwood's only aquarium, exhibits include sharks, alligators, frogs, fish, turtles etc. In North Wildwood, The Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, built in 1874 and. listed on both the National and State Registers of Historic Places, .features a Victorian Style Park and Hereford Gardens with over 200 species of flowers and plants.
* Doo Wop by the Sea, June 2003, Smithsonian Magazine
* Wildwood's boardwalk is crumbling and tram cars have to be detoured, 9/5/2019, NJ.com
* Doo Wop Diner (located on Wildwood boardwalk, 1950's style design with burgers, ice cream sodas, pancakes)
* Surfside West Diner (Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch; ranked #1 of all restaurants in Wildwood, Certificate of Excellence 2019, TripAdviser.com)
* Duffinetti's Restaurant & Lounge (re-opened 2018 in Wildwood after closing in 2005 after 57 years, traditional Italian, seafood, most entrees $20-35, bar menu & happy hour, 4.5 of 5 stars, Certificate of Excellence, TripAdvisor, open October thru May: Thursday. thru Sunday; summer 7 days June thru September 4 pm till 10 pm)
* Cool Scoops (North Wildwood ice cream parlor, 'basically a doo-wop museum, with ’50s kitsch around every turn and booths made to look like old Chevys. That the ice cream is so good (try the banana split is almost secondary,' PhillyMag.com)
* Mack's Pizza (popular family-owned place for over 60 years, founder Joe Mack died May 2019 aged 91, also locations in Stone Harbor, Philadelphia)
* Best Restaurants in Cape May, TripAdviser.com
* Where to Eat at the Jersey Shore, PhillyMag.com
* The Wildwoods Official Tourism Site
* City of Wildwood
* City of North Wildwood
* Borough of Wildwood Crest
* Best of Wildwood, TripAdviser.com