The traditionally blue-collar resort of Wildwood, near Cape May on a barrier island east of Rte-47, offers a counterpoint to the pretty but often pretentious olde-worlde charm of Cape May. Its 1950s architecture, left lovingly intact, includes dozens of gaudy and fun-looking hotels with names like Pink Orchid, Waikiki and The Shalimar, all still featuring plastic palm trees, kidney-shaped swimming pools and plenty of aqua, orange and pink paint. To best appreciate the town’s brash charm, take a stroll along the boardwalk and stop on the wide, throbbing, free beaches. Additionally, check out the local amusement rides and water parks, such as Morey’s Piers, Raging Waters and Splash Zone.

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