Oh, those Wildwood days! The excitement that is Wildwood is part of life for year-round residents and those who own property on the island. In the early part of the 20th century, tourists flocked to the beaches and those looking for sun, surf, and entertainment still walk the famed boardwalk and frolic on the wide expanse of sand. After the Garden State Parkway was built in the 1950s, Wildwood experienced a boom as homes, restaurants, and other buildings were constructed. Motels, especially, were popular because they provided inexpensive accommodations to visitors. Many of these motels have been remodeled into condominiums for homeowners. Wildwood still has much of that '50s appearance giving it a kitschy, laid-back, and family friendly feel.
The iconic boardwalk has a "tramcar" that transports tired walkers from end to end. The 1.8 mile boardwalk consists of restaurants, shops, and amusement rides, water parks, and games at Morey's Piers. Throughout the year, festivals and events are held either on the beach or the boardwalk, attracting residents and tourists alike, and bringing in additional commerce to Wildwood. The Convention Center also offers various events yearly including the international kite festival, sports memorabilia shows, dance competitions, and the annual firemen's convention. Wildwood, which is in Cape May County, is located within the 2nd Congressional District and the 1st state legislative district. Governed by a three-member commission, commissioners serve four-year concurrent terms in office and are assigned a specific department to oversee. Following the election, the commissioners select one member to serve as mayor. Students who live in the city attend Wildwood's public school district from pre-kindergarten through 12 grades. People love the large beaches of Wildwood and for good reason. They are free. Unlike many other Jersey Shore towns that require patrons to purchase beach tags, Wildwood offers beaches protected by lifeguards but no fee to bask on the sand or jump in the waves. There are restaurants, taverns, and bars aplenty throughout Wildwood. Beach Creek Oyster Bar and Grille is a popular spot for delicious cuisine and is situated by the bay for a peaceful atmosphere. Kids and families will enjoy old-fashioned milkshakes at the Pink Cadillac Diner. Those who are seeking gnocchi and other Italian specialties will find sustenance at the Ravioli House, which has been family owned and operated for more than 40 years. After dinner, visit the bakery, which is part of the restaurant, for homemade cannoli and biscotti to nibble on later. Just off the island is Rio Grande, a community located in Middle Township, which consists of 2.4 square miles. Approximately, 2,400 people make Rio Grande their home. Many who live within Rio Grande commute into Wildwood for their jobs, for entertainment, and to dine. But that's not to say that there's nothing to do in Rio Grande. There are plenty of stores and restaurants here for locals and those who are visiting town. Wildwood holds fond memories for people who visited the city as children for week-long vacations. Once they revisit in their adult years, they find that many of that nostalgia has remained, which is why a lot of former vacationers end up buying properties here. Wildwood gets busy in the summer months but is quite lovely during the fall and spring when just a few tourists stop by. Still, it is a neat and exciting place during any season.