For summer fun and a real Jersey Shore experience — one full of Boardwalk games and treats, amusement park rides, a beach so wide you can take a taxi to the water, and a charming retro vibe — take the family to The Wildwoods in New Jersey.
Despite being a born and bred Jersey girl, I had only been to northern Jersey beaches, and had never gone as far south as Exit 4 when heading down the Shore. That all changed last weekend when my family was invited on a trip hosted by Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Waterparks. (Thanks Morey family!)
Family owned and operated since 1969 by the Morey Brothers, the amusement park and resorts have managed to keep their retro charm despite the additions of looping suspended roller coasters, major waterparks with 6 foot drops, and a few too many tacky T-shirt shops on the Boardwalk.
Where to Stay
Morey Resorts has five family-friendly hotel properties in The Wildwoods. My family had the pleasure of staying at the Starlux Boutique Hotel.
Located just one block from the beach and Boardwalk, the Starlux is a retro-styled Doo Wop themed hotel that offers an old-fashioned Jersey Shore experience. The rooms are spacious (we stayed in a one-bedroom suite) and extremely clean with little design touches like lava lamps and glass block cutouts in the wall, make this hotel a winner, especially with my tween and teen girls.
The heated outdoor pool, Astro Lounge, a 24-hour indoor game room, complimentary amenities — such as bikes, beach chairs, and beach toys — and the Starlux Mini-Golf course next door (games are an additional fee), plus free continental breakfast, make this the perfect hotel for families.
Where to Play
The choices are endless!
- Morey’s had three amusement ride-filled piers and two water parks to keep the family entertained. Thankfully you can hop on the Sightseer Tram Car (the looping “watch watch wa a a a a tch the tram car please,” is basically the theme song to the boardwalk here) to transport you from one end of the Boardwalk to the other to save your energy for all the rides. A really fun option is to take the new “Beyond the Boards” VIP tour. A member of the Morey family takes you behind the scenes of the amusement park on this 90-minute walking tour to visit with the welders, carpenters, and painters who keep those rides safe and running. Teens will love learning just what keeps those thrilling roller coasters revving and parents will love learning the strict safety regulations to which Morey’s Piers adheres to keep the rides (and your kids) safe. The tour costs $35 per person, and also gets you a bucket of addictive Curley’s fries ((NOTE: Stay clear of these fries if you have a peanut allergy, as they’re cooked in peanut oil)), and some great Morey’s Piers swag.
- Play arcade games and win some fun prizes — fidget spinners were the big pull on our visit.
- The beach, of course! But be warned that Wildwood beaches are so wide that there are Beach Taxis to take you closer to the water’s edge. They also happen to be free, a rarity at the Jersey Shore.
- Play a round of mini-golf.
- Splash in one of the two water parks!
Where to Eat
One can only eat so many Funnel Cakes, Kohr’s Custard Cones, and Curley’s Fries, before you start craving a really good sit down meal and I recommend these three gems:
- Alosi’s Bistro: Located on the lobby level of the Pan American Hotel, Alosi’s Bistro is the perfect spot to enjoy a really great breakfast. In addition to excellent French Toast, Silver Dollar Teddy Bear Pancakes, and Eggs and Homefries, the service was top notch. Our server (Shout out to Regina!) was friendly, professional, and scored major bonus points when I told her about my oldest daughter’s peanut allergy. She made a note on the order and informed us that the chef would use a clean griddle for her French Toast, since they do offer pancakes with peanut butter chips on the menu.
- Joe’s Fish Co.: We had the best meal at this seafood restaurant on the Boardwalk. Steamed lobster with red bliss potatoes and green beans, scrumptious Salmon BLT, delectable Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, and the most delicious flourless chocolate torte with raspberry sauce were thoroughly enjoyed by The Gilmores.
- Stubborn Brothers Beach Bar & Grille: Take in the gorgeous ocean views with a tropical cocktail and some delicious food (I recommend the crab cakes and Sibling’s Signature Salad) at this spot located at the ocean-front end of Surfside Pier. Take your pick of bar top tables or comfy Adirondack chairs to catch some rays and enjoy the beauty of the beach.