Wildwood is a city in Cape May County, New Jersey. It is part of the Ocean City Metropolitan Statistical Area and is a popular summer resort destination. The Wildwoods is used as a collective term for the four communities that have "Wildwood" as part of the municipality name — the Borough of Wildwood Crest, City of Wildwood, Borough of West Wildwood and the City of North Wildwood — together with Diamond Beach, a portion of Lower Township situated on the island.
Wildwood was originally incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on May 1, 1895, from portions of Middle Township, based on the results of a referendum held the previous day. On January 1, 1912, Wildwood was incorporated as a city, replacing both Wildwood borough and Holly Beach City.
The Wildwoods began developing as a resort in the last decade of the 19th century. A building boom began in the 1950s, due partially to the construction and completion of the Garden State Parkway in 1955.
"Rock Around the Clock", often credited as the first rock and roll record, was first performed on Memorial Day weekend in 1954 at the HofBrau Hotel in Wildwood by Bill Haley & His Comets. The song's status as one of the first rock and roll hits has given rise to the city's claim as "the birthplace of rock and roll".
Wildwood is a resort city that is very popular with vacationers and tourists mostly from New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and even nearby parts of Canada during the summer months. Its most notable features are its beach and 1.8 miles (2.9 km) boardwalk, home to the Morey's Piers amusement complex and Raging Waters and Ocean Oasis waterparks owned by Morey's Piers. The boardwalk features a trolley called the "Tramcar", which runs from end to end. In June 2006, its Doo-Wop-style motels were placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual Eleven Most Endangered List, described as "irreplaceable icons of popular culture." In May and June, recently-graduated high school seniors come to Wildwood for Proms Weekends and Senior Week.
Wildwood was ranked the best beach in New Jersey in the 2008 Top 10 Beaches Contest sponsored by the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium.
Wildwood is home to the New Jersey Firefighter's Convention, held annually every September since the 1970s. Known for its parade featuring fire company apparatus from across the state, it moved from Atlantic City due in part to rising crime and the disallowing of the parade on city streets. Wildwood is also home to Cape Express Beach Blast Soccer, Cape Express "More" Beach Blast and an annual co-ed beach Ultimate Frisbee tournament drawing teams from all over the country that attracted 430 teams and over 5,000 players to its 19th annual event in 2011.
The Wildwood Boardwalk features several amusement parks and shops, most notably three piers collectively known as Morey's Piers. Due to the far distance of the ocean from the boardwalk, the beach is home to many sporting events, concerts, and monster truck rallies in view of the boardwalk. A stage is set off to the side of the boardwalk near Mariner's Landing Pier where several performances are held throughout the summer.
In 2008-09, a section of the boardwalk was rebuilt using ipe tropical hardwood.