If you’re willing to take the 3-hour drive down the Parkway (exits 6-4A), Wildwood is a great place to enjoy your shore vacation – the beaches are clean and spacious and the restaurants are superb, with plenty of accommodation options and close proximity to Cape May for a fun day trip. Read on for more recommendations for dining and relaxing in this beloved beach town.
Originally founded in 1912, The Wildwoods, originally named for the wildflowers found in the area, encompasses four communities that include North Wildwood, the city of Wildwood, and the boroughs of Wildwood Crest and West Wildwood. Built as a resort town in the 1950s, many of the hotels that still stand today are reminiscent of the Doo Wop and Vegas-style architecture of that era. The building of new condos and townhouses in recent years has kept Wildwood on the map as a popular beach destination.
Where to Stay
^ The Candlelight Inn exterior
Candlelight Inn Bed and Breakfast | 2310 Central Avenue
An adorable B&B a few blocks away from the beach and located in North Wildwood, this is a prime spot for a weekend getaway complete with a deck jacuzzi for guest use and mouth-watering homemade breakfast. For an extra romantic weekend plan to stay in the Carriage House, which offers large private rooms and deep soaking tubs with plenty of other cozy amenities.
The Sea Gypsy Bed and Breakfast Inn | 209 East Magnolia Avenue
A restored 1900 Queen Ann Victorian – complete with a princess-style turret in the front, this B&B features a number of guest rooms as well as “Arts & Crafts” suites ranging in size (modeled off the 1920s arts & crafts movement) as well as a newly renovated Carriage House with a full kitchen, just right for a family trip.
Condos | Throughout Wildwood
There are plenty of affordable and spacious condos available for vacation rentals on sites like VRBO and Trip Advisor, many within walking distance of the beach. Whether you have a party of two or a big group, condos work well for a week-long stay down the shore – check out the condos in North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest to get the best of the beach.
Read More: Things to Do in Ocean Grove
Pan American Hotel | 5901 Ocean Avenue
One of the more updated and modern hotels in Wildwood Crest, this beachfront hotel also offers a heated pool and proximity to Morey’s boardwalk piers (the hotel is also owned by the Morey family), but head to Wildwood proper or North Wildwood for your cocktails (Wildwood Crest is a dry town).
Portal Royal Hotel | 6801 Ocean Avenue
Offering a large outdoor pool and balcony rooms at a slightly higher price point, this hotel is located close to the beach on Wildwood Crest – and for a larger group check out the Efficiency Apartment with a full kitchen.
Where to Eat
While there are tons of places to get your grub on in Wildwood, we’ve listed just a sampling of our favorites below — from budget-friendly options to fine dining.
One Fish Two Fish | 5209 Pacific Avenue
For a more upscale night out, this quality seafood restaurant is where it’s at. All items are prepared from scratch on-site so the menu is subject to change daily, but some noteworthy dishes include the house-made ricotta with olive tapenade, pan-seared scallops in a lemon vinaigrette with corn risotto; and a chocolate chip cookie stuffed with ice cream and cookie dough for dessert.
Maui’s Dog House | 806 New Jersey Avenue
(Photo credit: @mauisdoghouse)
Stop here for lunch to get any of the insane amounts of dressed-up hot dogs (check out the Cheesy Drunk Horse with mustard, beer-soaked sauerkraut, and Wisconsin cheese) as well as a variety of fries, chicken, burgers, and sides (try the salty balls- no really), Maui’s lends itself to a yummy, quick bite, and works for gluten-free or vegan eaters, too.
Goodnight Irene’s | 2708 Pacific Avenue
With over 90 different selections of beer on tap and bottled, this place is a brew lover’s dream. It doesn’t hurt that the food is also delicious – we recommend the crab pizza with a side of Cassie fries topped with crab seasoning and white cheddar, and tacos are just $1 every Monday – what more could you want?
Cattle ‘n Clover | 3817 Pacific Avenue
(Photo credit: Cattle ‘n Clover)
If you’re looking for a traditional bar with Irish pub fare, this is the place to go. From the corned beef & cabbage egg rolls to the Sheperd’s pie, Cattle ‘n Clover is ideal for delightful eats and fresh takes on the familiar like tempura-fried pickles.
Hooked Up Seafood | 1044 W. Rio Grande Avenue
(Photo credit: @hookedupseafood)
Featuring fresh-caught seafood with no frills, this joint on the edge of town has plenty of casual picnic tables for outdoor seating and lots of tempting seafood options like crabs, clams, cod, and much more– and check out the eatery’s Insta for the featured the catch of the day before you go.
Key West Café | 4701 Pacific Avenue
Excellent for a casual breakfast or lunch, the ah-mazing number of omelet choices here are not to be missed (Philly cheesesteak omelet anyone?) including several savory varieties of eggs Benedict. For lunch, check out the soft shell crab po’boy or the grouper Reuben.
Duffer’s Restaurant & Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor | 5210 Pacific Avenue
(Photo credit: @dufferswildwood)
Good for a casual dinner (think burgers, wraps, and steak entrees) or a tasty breakfast, the main attraction at Duffer’s are the ah-mazing ice cream sundaes like the Philly Special made of caramel, blondie bites and Nutella or the Fluffernutter that consists of peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter caramel sauce, peanuts, and marshmallow. Top that off with mini-golf and an arcade on-site and you’ve got a meal, dessert, and an activity.
Duffinetti’s Restaurant + Lounge | 4600 Pacific Avenue
(Photo credit: @duffinettisrestaurantandlounge)
This Italian staple dates back to 1965 and has plenty of delectable options to get your fix, including a four-cheese gnocchi casserole, lobster ravioli Fresca sautéed in white wine, and butter, and Duffinetti’s famous lasagna.
Jersey Girl Bar + Restaurant | 3601 Wildwood Avenue
(Photo credit: @jerseygirlww)
With a beautiful location by the water and outdoor seating, this place has plenty of fun meal options including fire-grilled lollipop lamb chops, lobster mac + cheese, and, of course, the Jersey Girl burger, made with a short rib brisket blend.
What to Do
Morey’s Piers | 3501 Boardwalk
Wildwood’s three large piers are the main reason why everyone comes to the boardwalk- the rides. Featuring water rides, bumper cars, kiddie rides, a carousel and a giant Ferris wheel, the boardwalk in Wildwood has a little something for everyone to enjoy – and don’t forget your Kohr’s ice cream for dessert.
Splash Zone Waterpark | 5462, 3500 Boardwalk
With tons of fun waterpark rides as well as a full bar and two designated eating areas featuring burgers, pizza, and wraps — this attraction is a full day of enjoyment. A lazy river, speedy water tunnel rides, and group tube rides make for lots of amusements – and check out the all-day cabana rentals with a variety of features like fresh towels and free wi-fi depending on the package you purchase.
See More: Things to Do in Long Branch
Doo Wop Experience Museum | 4500 Ocean Avenue
(Photo credit: Doo Wop Experience Museum)
Located in the Wildwoods Convention Center, the Doo Wop Museum features lots of artifacts from the origins of Wildwood’s tourism boom, including a neon sign garden, a collection of vintage furniture, and salvaged signs from defunct Wildwood landmarks.
Hooked on Books | 3405 Pacific Avenue
What better place to look for more beach reading than a giant bookstore? Featuring tons of titles both new and old (and lots of second-hand books for cheap), this is the perfect place to browse around for your next page-turner.
Close proximity to the towns of Rio Grande and Cape May mean plenty of other activities are just a 15-20 minute car ride away, including Hawk Haven Winery in Rio Grande and Cape May Winery (and brewery), not to mention the awesome Cape May County Park & Zoo.