Photo courtesy of Splash Zone Water Park

Island Hopping: The Wildwoods

Cape May County is a treasure trove of thrills, games, specialty seafood, happy hour specials, traditional family-style restaurants, beach gear, breakfast spots, sweet treats and relaxing rituals. Yet with its 620-square-mile span, this Jersey Shore county can be quite daunting. With all this ground to cover, where should you even begin? We’re here with our ninth edition of Island Hopping for the season, offering some of our favorite places to “do the shore.” This week we’re hopping to the Wildwoods, five miles of free beaches, a world-famous boardwalk, thrilling amusements and water parks, incredible dining, a variety of shops and so much more!

Take a morning stroll along the Wildwoods Boardwalk, then step into Route 66 Restaurant & Pizzeria and be transported back to the good ole days of the 1950s! With black-and-white checkered floors, bright neon lights and ‘50s memorabilia lining the walls, Route 66 is a family-friendly destination offering high-quality meals. The diverse breakfast menu offers fresh, made-to-order options at reasonable prices that the whole family will love!

For those who prefer to sleep in, North End American Grill in North Wildwood lets you catch a late breakfast with brunch served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. This Southern California-style restaurant offers delicious brunch dishes, ice cold breakfast cocktails to help you wake up, and plenty of patio seating to take in the seaside air. Come experience a laid back California-cool atmosphere “down the shore!”

After breakfast, visit the home of Jersey Cape fishing at ​No Bones Bait & Tackle at the foot of the Rio Grande bridge! ​No Bones Bait & Tackle offers half day and full day boat rentals, plus fishing charter boats for a fun day out on the water. New to the fishing scene? Fishing seminars are held on location, and the shop is fully equipped for all of your fishing and crabbing needs. Get fresh, frozen and live bait, rods, reels, sunglasses, T-shirts, hats and more! There is plenty of FREE parking and a laid back atmosphere, so stop on by!

For a different water experience, Splash Zone Water Park on the Wildwoods Boardwalk can help you stay cool in the summer heat. Offering a variety of experiences and adventure for all ages, Splash Zone features 20 attractions including body, tube, flume, raft, interactive, speed and children’s water slides, as well as other play areas. For the less adventurous and the little ones, the Hydro Zone is the perfect place to get ‘em wet! And for those who wish to unwind, relax in your own private cabana or float along the lazy river.

Tollman Joe’s Bayside is a great lunch option, offering your favorite bar bites and drinks on the water. Located at the old Lighthouse Pointe Restaurant, Tollman Joe’s Bayside is an extension of the original Tollman Joe’s South Phila. The menu features everything from wings and burgers to seafood entrées and raw bar selections. Dine outside with family and friends while taking in beautiful bay views and breezes!

Next, shop ‘til you drop! Stop into 5 Mile Marketplace on the Wildwoods Boardwalk to get everything you need for your time at the shore, including swimwear, resort wear, active wear, shoes, hats, sunscreen, beach toys and more. Plus, you can get souvenir clothing and gifts to help you remember your Wildwood Days forever!

While on your shopping spree, stop by Algie’s Place Bikes in Wildwood Crest and get that bike you’ve been wanting! Whether you’re a once-a-year boardwalk rider, an everyday enthusiast or somewhere in between, you'll find great products, people and service at Algie's. Choose from beach cruisers and comfort bikes, and get all of the bike accessories and cycle wear you need!

For limitless dinner options, the Red Oak Restaurant in Wildwood serves the finest all-you-can-eat sea and land dinner buffets to satisfy the entire family at the most reasonable prices. The dinner buffet offers over 60 items – soups, a complete salad bar, pasta galore, fresh seafood selections, hand carved beef and ham, a variety of chicken dishes, roast stuffed turkey, macaroni & cheese, rice pilaf, fresh vegetables, homemade desserts and more.

For a homemade Mediterranean taste, check out Pasta Pesto Bar & Grill. From the pasta to the delicious sauce, every aspect of Pasta Pesto’s dishes is made on-site in its sprawling kitchen. Family and friends are encouraged to share one of the Grill’s Foccacia Flat Breads. For a lighter bite, sample one of Pasta Pesto’s signature salads. With its own brick oven, Pasta Pesto is also home to a number of classic Italian pizzas!

Your night’s not over just yet! A visit to the five-mile island isn’t complete without a nighttime trip to the award-winning Wildwoods Boardwalk. The boardwalk is full of 38 blocks of family fun, packed end to end with shops, amusement piers, eateries, live entertainment and more. On Friday nights at 10 p.m., be sure to stop and watch the fireworks spectacle lights up the night sky!

A part of the legendary North Wildwood Entertainment District, The Inlet on Olde is the place to go for a great nightlife scene. With live entertainment daily during the summer, music flows into the evening to keep you on your feet. DJs will spin you into the night with oldies dance parties as well as current hits. Whether you are strolling the strip or making The Inlet your destination, this is the place where old friends make new memories!