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 seventh 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!

Start your morning with fresh bagels, hearty breakfast sandwiches and delicious pastries from the Bagel Depot in North Wildwood! With breakfast items baked daily from the heart, the Bagel Depot will become your new go-to breakfast spot. Eat in or take out seven days a week, and don’t forget your coffee, latte or cappuccino!

After breakfast, spend the first part of your day cruising through the Five Mile Island on a sleek bike from Smitty’s Bike Rental, located on the corner of Youngs & Ocean avenues in Wildwood. Smitty’s makes biking affordable for every budget, with low-priced rentals and specials all summer long. Smitty’s has a variety of bikes available, including singles, lowrider, tandem bikes and surreys.

Lunch time! Enjoy a creative menu, 20 beers on tap, beer and wine flights, specialty cocktails and friendly service at one of North Wildwood’s newest restaurant, Salty Mermaid Bar & Grille. With its relaxing and inviting beach atmosphere, it’s a place where you can enjoy great food and drinks with friends and family!

Open from 11:30 a.m., Kelly’s Café on Atlantic Avenue in Wildwood is also a great lunch option. A wide variety of menu options await you and your family, including burgers, wraps, grilled reubens, homemade soups, BBQ ribs, wings, steamed clams, pizza and much more! Come visit this 80-year Wildwood landmark!

When the afternoon heat hits, it’s time to head out on the water. Pier 47 Marina in Wildwood is your destination for watersports fun! This full service marina offers rentals and sales of outboards, jet boats and personal watercrafts, perfect to get you out on the water and keep you cool. Pier 47 also is home to a 5,000+ square-foot fully stocked ship store that offers cleaning and detailing supplies, engine oil, marine chemicals and lubricants, tackle supplies and much more.

After a long day on the water, Two Mile Restaurant & Bar is an excellent choice for your family dinner. Offering waterfront dining at its best, Two Mile brings you a first-rate dining experience without the formality. Menu options include everything from artisan-style flatbread pizzas and upscale appetizers to top-notch steaks and the freshest seafood. A full cocktail menu, 20 beers on tap and an extensive wine list are available to complement your meal while taking in unbeatable views of Wildwood Crest’s waterways.

In the mood for Italian? Head to Little Italy in Wildwood Crest, replicating the sights, sounds, tastes and overall experience of an authentic Italian piazza. If the shore atmosphere has you craving cuisine of the sea, Little Italy offers ultra-fresh seafood combination platters topped lightly with breadcrumbs and baked to perfection. Or, for the best of both worlds, try one of Little Italy’s “pasta with seafood” dishes!

Rather do dinner in the comfort of your own home, hotel or rental? Sample the renowned Asian fusion flavors of Dragon House in the heart of Wildwood. All menu items are available for takeout and/or delivery, including the ever-popular Scallion Pancakes appetizer, nicknamed “Chinese Pizza.”

End your day of island hopping at Mulligan’s Shore Bar and Grill in Wildwood. This coastal-themed bar and restaurant is beautifully decorated with everything including surfboards, fish, life preservers and lighthouses. Wind down with the signature “Mullitini,” a secret family recipe you’re sure to enjoy, and the perfect way to relax after a long day out and about in Cape May County.

If you’re itching to dance the night away, another nightlife option is Flip Flopz Beach Bar & Grill. Flip Flopz is the hottest place for dancing with state-of-the-art entertainment each night. On Saturday, July 28, Love Junk takes the stage from 5 to 9 p.m. playing all genres; then, LeCompt is up from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. with spot-on covers of classic rock tunes. If that isn’t enough to satisfy you, take a walk upstairs to Tiki Topz by The Pool for fabulous views of the Atlantic Ocean.