Named among the “Top Ten American Boardwalks” by both ForbesTravel.com and Sherman’s Travel, the Wildwoods Boardwalk is most definitely a must-see attraction for Cape May County visitors. Also known as “two miles of smiles”, the Boards have a rich, century-old history.
In 1903, Wildwood’s leaders decided to provide a wide elevated walkway closer to the ocean for the island’s visitors to stroll. It connected with Ocean Pier, the Wildwoods’ first amusement pier. This “walk” spread across the shore from Second Avenue in North Wildwood to Cresse Avenue in Wildwood. Another boardwalk was then constructed from Cresse and Astor Road until it was washed away in 1909 and subsequently reconstructed.
In 1920, City Commissioner Bright made it his mission to have the boardwalk moved even closer to the ocean. Though he succeeded, he lost his position in the process. Back in its early days, the boardwalk was the “place to see and be seen”. Before they hit the boards, families fashioned themselves in their finest apparel and accessories. Today, casual is the key.
Amusement centers came and went on the boardwalk over the course of the 20th century, but none demonstrated the staying power of Wildwood’s current amusement empire – Morey’s Piers. Bill and Will Morey Sr. began the amusement legacy when they purchased two lots of boardwalk in North Wildwood at 25th and 26th streets. They called this space Surfside Pier and opened the following summer with a giant fiberglass slide called the Wipe Out. Guests paid 25 cents to slide down the ride in burlap sacks.
The park is currently run by 2nd generation Morey Brothers, Will and Jack. The Morey Brothers grew up immersed in the unique culture of the boardwalk and seaside living, inspiring their work and allowing Morey’s Piers to be voted one of the top three seaside amusement parks in the world by Amusement Today.
As Robert Scully of the Boyer Museum has stated, the Wildwoods Boardwalk “survives as an authentic American shared experience” and is one of the nation’s last seaside promenades. The Boardwalk is home to live entertainment every day of the week with the Irish Pipe Brigade Parade on Mondays, Duffy String Band performances Wednesdays, and the Fralinger and Woodland String Band shows om Thursdays.
Ring in the weekend with a bang (literally) at Friday night’s Coca-Cola Fireworks Spectacular. Home to an array of unique businesses, from surf shops to fudge shops and Italian eateries to Johnson’s Popcorn, the Wildwoods Boardwalk offers a shopping experience to satisfy virtually any summer needs.
Watch the Tram Car, please! Originally built for the 1939 World’s Fair in NYC, they were put into service in the Wildwoods in 1949. Today, eight of them traverse the Boardwalk and carry about 500,000 patrons annually.
Discover for yourself why the Wildwoods Boardwalk has been referred to as a “celebration of the American imagination”.